Pi Beta Phi's Legacy Consideration Options: Frequently Asked Questions

The Fraternity has prioritized and elevated attention on diversity, equity and inclusion. Of increased focus for collegians and alumnae has been the special treatment of legacies during the recruitment process. The Fraternity supports equitable and inclusive membership selection practices which allow all Potential New Members to have an equal opportunity for membership based on their qualifications. 

Chapters can choose from three legacy courtesy options for the 2020-2021 academic year: 

  1. Follow existing legacy procedures.  These chapters will invite all legacies to the first invitational round and if invited to Preference, legacies will be placed at the top of the bid list.

  2. Eliminate  the  top of the bid list courtesy  but keep the first-round  invitation  courtesy. These chapters will invite legacies to the first invitational round. 

  3. Eliminate  the  top of the bid list courtesy  and  the  first-round invitation courtesy. These chapters will consider legacies just as they consider any other PNM for membership. These chapters will meet the requirements of the Constitution and Statutes special consideration by identifying all legacies for members of the chapter prior to the start of recruitment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who made this decision and why now?
The Fraternity’s strategic plan called for review of Pi Beta Phi’s recruitment practices. Though originally delayed due to the Fraternity’s immediate focus on COVID-19 response, the Fraternity formed a committee to help move forward the review of recruitment practices. This committee is made up of diverse alumnae representing a range of ages, backgrounds, races and geographic regions. Though the committee’s work continues, their initial recommendations helped to inform Grand Council’s decision.

Ultimately, Grand Council made the final decision to give chapters options for legacy consideration for the 2020-2021 academic year. Membership decisions are made at the chapter level. The Fraternity has always outlined the process by which chapters make membership decisions; this year chapters are allowed options to choose from as to how legacies will be considered for membership. For some chapters, this decision comes very close to the start of recruitment, however it was important to address the immediate concerns.

How will chapters decide on an option? 
Chapters are expected to have a chapter discussion and vote on which option they wish to institute, similar to other bylaw changes. No other options than those outlined by the Fraternity will be acceptable. 

When will chapters decide on an option?
Chapters will vote on bylaw changes at various times depending on when the semester starts and when they hold recruitment. Likely, throughout the month of August into early September these decisions will be made by the chapter.

How do I know which option has been chosen by a certain chapter?
Alumnae should not contact chapter leaders or Alumnae Advisory Committee members to inquire about a chapter’s legacy policy. These chapter leaders and advisors are first and foremost focusing on returning to campus and establishing chapter operations under COVID-19 conditions while attempting to prepare for and conduct a recruitment in an all-new, virtual manner. At this time, the Fraternity does not anticipate publicly posting how a chapter will implement the expected special consideration for legacies to discourage undue influence on the chapter.

Why is the Fraternity allowing chapters to choose? 
After hearing from thousands of Pi Phis to take action and making the pledge to review our recruitment practices, the Fraternity saw the immediate opportunity to address concerns with the legacy policy.  Some chapters have asked for a much quicker pace of change than others and this allows them to make the decision that is best for their members, their chapter and their campus environment. The Fraternity wants to more carefully explore the impact of a change to legacy procedures and implementation of changes before mandating a change Fraternity-wide.

What treatment can my legacy expect if the chapter  at her campus  isn’t  providing a courtesy to  legacies?
If a chapter chooses not to provide a courtesy to legacies, the legacies will be reviewed prior to the start of recruitment by the entire chapter. Once recruitment begins, legacies will be treated the same as any other Potential New Member participating in primary recruitment.

Why didn’t the Fraternity eliminate the legacy courtesies for all chapters? 
Our membership decisions have always been and continue to be up to the current chapter members. This change allows them a bit more flexibility in how they do that. Comparing the results of chapters who opt for various procedures will allow the Fraternity to more carefully explore the impact of a change to legacy procedures and implementation of changes before mandating a change Fraternity-wide.

Why is there no option to keep the top of Bid List courtesy?
Consistently, both alumnae and collegians have shared the top of the bid list courtesy is presenting a wide range of challenges. Often, chapters feel a need to over-scrutinize legacies heading into their Preference event, knowing that if the legacy attends the chapter’s Preference round, she is placed at the top of the chapter’s bid list for an invitation. This can and has resulted in additional pressure for PNMs, additional pressure for the chapter and upset alumnae.

Will the Fraternity eliminate the legacy  special consideration  eventually? 
We anticipate a legislative proposal related to the Fraternity’s legacy policy to be presented to the convention body next summer (June 2021) reflective of the information we learn this year. 

How can I influence a chapter’s decision related to which legacy option they will implement?  
Our collegians are intelligent young women. Alumnae Advisory Committee members and Regional Officers support chapter leaders and will be equipped to support a chapter in making the best decision for their chapter. Attempting to influence a chapter or placing undue pressure on a chapter to select one procedure over another could be detrimental in this turbulent time.

How many Pi Beta Phi legacies join a Pi Phi chapter?
About one fourth of the total reported Pi Phi legacies who participated in recruitment last year, ended up joining a Pi Phi chapter. Many chapters are meeting more legacies in recruitment than they have spots in the chapter. The Fraternity has long worked hard to convey an important message: We know that sharing the bonds of Pi Beta Phi sisterhood with a daughter, granddaughter or sister is cherished. However, the truth is, that it cannot be a guarantee. The Fraternity has invested significant effort in helping members become informed and prepared before recruitment begins and to showcase the valuable experience of sorority membership, no matter the letters.

Have other National Panhellenic Conference organizations changed their legacy procedures? 
Pi Beta Phi did not land at this decision based upon the decision of our peer groups; however, a number of other National Panhellenic Conference groups have revised their legacy policies and procedures; including complete removal – across the organization – of special considerations given to legacies.

It appears you’re listening to the collegiate voice, what about the voice of alumnae? 
The Fraternity is listening to all members who are willing to voice their opinion and attempting to take into account a wide range of perspectives while ensuring the best decision for the Fraternity. Alumnae and collegians alike both support and do not support the legacy procedures as they have existed. This change is not intended to disenfranchise or disrespect any member, but rather respect a commitment to a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Pi Beta Phi and sustain the future of our chapters.

If the Fraternity is allowing chapter choice as a mechanism to gather information to inform a permanent change, what is the mechanism for gathering alumnae feedback?
Membership decisions are made at the chapter level. The Fraternity has always outlined the process by which chapters made membership decisions; this year chapters are allowed options to choose from as to how legacies will be considered for membership. The Fraternity will observe the effects of each option. How a chapter manages membership selection is not the decision of alumnae. If there are changes to the Fraternity governing documents, legislation will be discussed at next summer’s convention. We are inviting alumnae to attend a webinar on Wednesday, August 5 at 8p.m. CDT. More information is listed below.

Further Questions 

Alumnae Webinar
Grand Vice President Alumnae, Grand Vice President Fraternity Growth, Director Recruitment and Headquarters Assistant Director of Fraternity Growth will host an alumna webinar on Wednesday, August 5 at 8 p.m. CDT to address questions concerning the legacy consideration options for the 2020-2021 academic year. Any alumna is invited to register. Register for the webinar here. 

Contact Pi Beta Phi
If you, or others, have additional questions not addressed on this page, please direct these  to recruitment@pibetaphi.org or the Headquarters main phone number: (636) 256-0680.

Last updated July 29, 2020