BOULDER, Colo. -- Trying to shed its image as one of the biggest party schools in the United States, the University of Colorado is demanding that its fraternities put off the traditional fall recruiting period known as rush until the spring semester.
The 16 fraternities at Colorado have said they are eager to help the school curb problem drinking, but they have balked at postponing rush, saying that it will cost them enrollment dues and wreck recruiting.
''We can't afford to defer rush. It will kill off the Greek system in terms of numbers. Whether that's the university's intent, we're unsure," said Ryan Lynch, a member of Sigma Nu and the internal vice president of the Interfraternity Council.
The school, with 24,700 undergraduates, contends that freshmen need time to adjust to college before pledging a fraternity.
''We want to have a full semester for students to get acclimated to campus before they're put in a position of having to choose a fraternity or sorority," said Ron Stump, vice chancellor of student affairs.
The university is threatening to deny fraternities the use of such amenities as campus meeting rooms, playing fields, and lists of incoming freshmen unless they comply. It is also warning that it will remove any mention of the fraternities from orientation materials, websites, and open houses.
Colorado's reputation has been tarnished by a scandal in which investigators said alcohol, drugs, and sex were used to entice football recruits to campus, and two years ago it was dubbed the No. 1 party school by the annual Princeton Review.
The school has boosted its alcohol education programs and toughened penalties for liquor violations. Freshmen have to pass an online class on alcohol abuse.
Still, an 18-year-old pledge died last fall after a night of drinking. The fraternity was shut and five members pleaded guilty to providing alcohol to a minor.