The Recruitment Rules govern what actions are allowed and not allowed by student groups regarding recruitment while incoming undergraduate and graduate students are arriving. The rules are pertinent from Campus Preview Weekend in April until the end of the Activities Midway during Orientation in late August / early September.
To provide additional guidance, we make available a list of examples, based on groups' requests for clarification and our own thoughts on what might be helpful. However, the examples are of necessity incomplete, and individual cases vary widely. Groups are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance.
ASA Recruitment Rules
Approved by the ASA Executive Board, July 2012
The following "Recruitment Rules" have been established by the Association of Student Activities (ASA). In establishing these rules, we have two primary goals:
- To balance the demands of new academics, new living environment, student groups, and other components of the MIT experience on new students, and avoid conflicting with other stakeholders in the extended Orientation process.
- To preserve fairness between student groups, taking into account both variation in on-campus availability of members and variation in groups' own resources.
All ASA-recognized groups and any subsidiaries of ASA-recognized groups (such as fraternity chapters under the Interfraternity Council) are mandated to follow these rules.
Exemptions to the below rules may be sought by e-mailing the ASA Executive Board at email@example.com. If you email us at least two weeks in advance of when you need a decision (and let us know the deadline), we will promise to have a response in time. We always encourage you to email us with questions, but may not be able to respond on a shorter time scale. If you anticipate having a large number of questions or wish more rapid turn-around, please request a liaison to work with you closely, and we will try to provide one.
Starting at CPW, new students may only be contacted if they have previously provided their contact information (such as at the CPW Activities Midway) or if they initiate contact with a group. (These rules are subsumed by the stricter Moratorium rules three weeks prior to the Midway. See below.)
The Moratorium runs from 12:01AM on the day three weeks prior to the ASA Activities Midway, and continues until the end of the Midway. (In 2012, that means August 10th through August 31st.)
Determining whether an event, publicity campaign, or other action of the group is "recruiting" is a holistic process, rather than evaluation of a particular definition.
In general, the following are (a non-exhaustive list of) signs that your group is recruiting:
- Behavior that aims to enlist new members
- Advertising is substantially more extensive than during other parts of the year.
- Behavior is motivated by the presence of large numbers of new students or, more generally, the large numbers of students looking for groups to join.
- You have a sign-up sheet at your event.
- Events are more beginner-friendly, beginner-focused, or beginner-targetted than events during the rest of the year.
As an exception, recruiting at the Midway is permissible (though recruiting during the Midway outside the Midway is not). Similarly, club sports may recruit at the Athletics Gateway.
While the rules are primarily focused on new students, recruitment (including of returning students) is generally forbidden. However, the ASA may take into account the goals of the rules while interpretting the rules, deciding whether to grant exceptions, and setting penalties.
Groups that are at all unsure about whether something is acceptable are advised to:
- Make cautious decisions, or
- Ask the ASA for clarification
Also, make sure to read the examples, which give explicit guidance on some common questions.
Dubious activity will likely result in the group receiving a liaison during the Moratorium the next year, possibly with a mandate to consult them before committing to run any event or advertising. Assigning liaisons is not intended to be punitive. Rather, by having a small, non-punitive reaction available, we hope to leave ourselves more free to prevent recruiting during the Moratorium without attempting to precisely codify what "recruiting" is and without necessarily penalizing groups for their misunderstandings.
At the ASA's discretion, penalties may also include:
- Monetary fine
- Mandatory community service
- Barring from participation in the First Year Summer Mailing (FYSM)
- Loss of ASA activities midway space
- Loss of bulletin board space
- Loss of office/locker space
- Suspension from event/room registration privileges for specified duration
- Group suspension
- Group derecognition
In addition, during the Recruitment Moratorium, violations of the advertising/publicity rules may be fined at triple the normal rate. The ASA may also choose to fine even for a first offense or to assess additional fines for egregious violations.
The stricter penalties will typically be imposed when we believe that there was an intent to recruit, a group failed to follow directives of the board after requesting clarification, or a group was required to consult a liaison and failed to do so.
If more serious punishments than those listed are required, the ASA Executive Board reserves the right to involve the Undergraduate Association, Graduate Student Council, the Division of Student Life, and/or other relevant MIT entities.
Groups which have been penalized may contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to appeal the decision.