Why it’s crucial that you report your legacies

For all but the youngest of brothers, recruitment has changed very dramatically in recent years from the process shared by most alumni.

You may have seen that some fraternal organizations are making large-scale and, in some cases, controversial changes to their membership policies. ZBT — forever forward-thinking — established inclusive and welcoming policies decades ago and these procedures have shepherded successful growth of the Fraternity.

ZBT gives undergraduate brothers autonomy to decide who joins their chapter – sometimes, this can raise questions, particularly if the student going through recruitment is a ZBT legacy.

The rule is simply that if a potential brother and legacy is not being extended a bid, the chapter leadership has to have a good reason why and communicate the motivation. Specifically, if a legacy is not extended a bid, chapter leadership is required to call the alumnus ZBT (father, brother or grandfather) within 72 hours of the decision not to extend the bid to discuss the concerns. The chapter also is required to contact ZBT International Headquarters before and after the chapter votes on the potential new brother. Here is the full policy as part of ZBT’s International Code.

Because ZBT is a Brotherhood for a Lifetime and a family, legacy connections should be celebrated. Because ZBT is a fraternity of equals, all men of good character deserve fair treatment.

Alumni should know…

You must report the legacy connection before recruitment. Chapters are exempt from the above policies if they are not made aware of the legacy’s status with advanced notice of at least one week prior to the start of recruitment. Many of the concerned alumni brothers who reach out to ZBT about students who don’t receive bids did not take the step of reporting the legacy connection in advance.

It’s easy to make ZBT International Headquarters aware of the potential new brother and we will contact the chapter.

It’s also very helpful if you spend some time with the student, talk about your ZBT experience and answer any questions they may have.

ZBT does not have a pledge process, after two-tier membership statuses were abolished in 1989. Brothers initiated before that time may have experienced a different introduction to fraternity life. A ZBT should never be hazed. Encourage them to stand up for their brothers, friends and for what they know to be right.

Chapters need to know…

Give all students a chance. ZBT is a space for personal growth. Diversity in the chapter is a good thing. All brothers earn their membership every day.

Recruitment is busy, full of new faces, quick meetings and instant decisions. It could be just that the potential new brother made a bad first impression or had an off moment.

If you do not give a legacy a bid, is it worth possibly losing alumni support? It’s good PR to welcome a legacy and firm up alumni and family connections. Legacies should be celebrated.

If the potential new brother isn’t interested in ZBT … it’s OK. Have an open conversation with the recruit and encourage him to speak with his family.