The University of Alabama didn't ban #RushTok. It just hasn't started yet.

Tech 6-8-2022 Mashable 49
Composite of three TikTok screenshots showing blonde women showing off their outfits and bags as well as in front of a sorority house.

If you've been waiting for a mega-dose of frilly OOTDs and reality TV-style updates to hit your For Your Page á la Alabama's sorority recruitment, fret not. It's probably coming soon, despite rumors that the university's Greek life system had banned #RushTok.

After last year's wildly viral moment, TikTok viewers in late July began gearing up to become emotionally invested in 18-year-old girls' Greek life journeys in their very own parasocial relationships via the internet. But after a few days of what some viewers thought was a strangely small amount of videos from the students at the University of Alabama, comments began to surface claiming that #RushTok had been outlawed.

But according to the University of Alabama's Panhellenic Association (the organization that runs the type of sorority recruitment most viewed on TikTok), there is no such ban for TikTok content or social media content of any kind.

"The Alabama Panhellenic Association does not have a social media policy for active or potential members and does not restrict or limit what they can post on social media," said Shane Dorrill, Assistant Director of Communications to Mashable in an email. "Potential members are aware that social media is one of several factors individual chapters may consider during the recruitment process, and chapters may have social media guidelines for their active members."

SEE ALSO: Alabama rush TikToks are huge, but they also remind us of sororities' racist, elitist culture

The most likely explanation for the unwarranted worry is most TikTok viewers misunderstanding of Alabama's sorority recruitment timeline. Many viewers expected #RushTok to take off with the velocity it had last year, featuring a sudden and fruitful onslaught of videos discussing outfits and sorority bid results one after another. These specific videos were the cornerstone of last year's #RushTok extravaganza, in which girls in the midst of recruitment week showed off outfits in the morning before recruitment events and discussed results afterward.

This year, most viewers' first Alabama rush video was likely one from user @gracynedmonsonnn posted on July 28. In it, she breaks down what she is bringing in her "rush bag," — a large tote carrying supplies like Advil, deodorant, rain ponchos, and more — to get through recruitment week. The video inspired a couple of other potential new members to make similar posts, but not nearly at the rate that OOTD videos were made last year. Many viewers interpreted the "rush bag" videos to mean that recruitment had started, but that was not the case. These types of videos are usually made while planning for recruitment, and the popular outfit videos are made during the week's actual events. In short, the videos most people are expecting to see can't be made yet, as recruitment events that require specific outfits officially only started on August 6, with the most intense, outfit-specific days to occur later in the week.

While the school's Panhellenic Association does not officially ban posting on social media, its position on individual chapters' social media standards does allow for each chapter to make its own call. There continues to be speculation on TikTok that specific chapters at the University of Alabama may not look at #RushTok favorably, possibly due to negative attention brought to chapters last year that choose not to select girls that the internet deems its favorites. If individual chapters were to "ban" posting on TikTok during recruitment, this would likely be a whisper-network rule rather than an official stance, as is typical of many Greek life traditions.


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