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On a warm Friday afternoon, a large crowd of young men walked along 28th Street near USC wearing sneakers, colored shorts and lanyards imprinted with their names as they visited one fraternity house after another.
They were welcomed by other young men dressed in colorful T-shirts branded with their fraternity name and graphic designs — one showed a hand wrapped around a glass bottle, another played off the “Kill Bill: Vol. 2″ movie poster that featured a blond woman brandishing a sword. Another showed a retro image of a woman in formal attire being offered a bottle of soda — “Rush Kappa Alpha 2022,” the shirt said.
Rap and house music blasted from speakers. The guys shot hoops and lobbed a volleyball in a sand pit. And on the sidewalk, prospective and current fraternity members traded notes. “This one had the free burritos,” one said to two young men next to him.
In many ways, such fall “rush” or recruitment activities are a Greek life rite of passage. But they are limited at USC. In 2017, the university banned fall rush for first-year students after multiple reports of hazing at frat houses and longstanding faculty concerns about the negative effect of pledging rituals on student grades and health.