Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Looks like Sororities have not changed

Well, especially if you were a member of the Delta Zeta at DePauw University. Perhaps you read the news story; When a psychology professor at DePauw University here surveyed students, they described one sorority as a group of “daddy’s little princesses” and another as “offbeat hippies.” The sisters of Delta Zeta were seen as “socially awkward.”Worried that a negative stereotype of the sorority was contributing to a decline in membership that had left its Greek-columned house here half empty, Delta Zeta’s national officers interviewed 35 DePauw members in November, quizzing them about their dedication to recruitment. They judged 23 of the women insufficiently committed and later told them to vacate the sorority house.The 23 members included every woman who was overweight. They also included the only black, Korean and Vietnamese members. The dozen students allowed to stay were slender and popular with fraternity men — conventionally pretty women the sorority hoped could attract new recruits. Six of the 12 were so infuriated they quit. Tthe picture above is of some of the girls

“Virtually everyone who didn’t fit a certain sorority member archetype was told to leave,” said Kate Holloway, a senior who withdrew from the chapter during its reorganization.“I sensed the disrespect with which this was to be carried out and got fed up,” Ms. Holloway added. “I didn’t have room in my life for these women to come in and tell my sisters of three years that they weren’t needed.”

The mass eviction battered the self-esteem of many of the former sorority members, and some withdrew from classes in depression. There have been student protests, outraged letters from alumni and parents, and a faculty petition calling the sorority’s action unethical.DePauw’s president, Robert G. Bottoms, issued a two-page letter of reprimand to the sorority. In an interview in his office, Dr. Bottoms said he had been stunned by the sorority’s insensitivity.

The sorority “is saddened that the isolated incident at DePauw has been mischaracterized,” Ms. Menges wrote. Asked for clarification, the sorority’s public relations representative e-mailed a statement saying its actions were aimed at the “enrichment of student life at DePauw.” Uh, depression, having to withdraw from classes, battering people's self esteem sounds like enriching to me. Not. Hey even the President got booted.

I knew I didn't have legacy. I knew I wasn't going to be in a sorority, and I didn't care. But to people who have legacy, want to be in one, it does matter. I was a member of Service Sorority where looks, money, popularity, skin color, any of those things didn't matter. I enjoyed the sister hood, the fun, the service we did, and other good times. I had friends in sororities, and if this happened it would have been devastating. I guess I am naive I keep thinking we can get past looks, money popularity etc, but I guess we can't. It makes me sad for these girls. It makes me sad for the girls of the future. And it makes me sad for my girls, I guess they won't be sorority girls either, being Asian. They will have to find their fun and group else where.


Quotidian Grace said...


There were several Asian girls, one African-American and one Iranian in my sorority (Delta Delta Delta) at Cornell in the late 1960's. One of my daughters was a Kappa Kappa Gamma at Yale and that chapter had more African-Americans, Africans, and Asians than WASPS. Today at large state universities there is more diversity in membership than before as well.

Which is not to say that I am attempting to defend the actions of this sorority's national office. They should all be fired.

Nor am I trying to promote sororities, but I did want you to know that your daughters would not be excluded because they are Asian if this is something that appeals to them in college. Fortunately most young people are way more accepting of different races and religions than adults.

DogBlogger said...

Every time I hear stuff like this, I'm just all the more glad that my alma mater doesn't do the Greek thing. (Plus, Abi, they offer a discount for children of UM that tidbit in your kids' college decision file.)

Sue said...

I heard this story on the news the other day and it made me so sad for these girls who were treated so horribly by the sorority.

Kristen said...

It is very sad to see what happened at DePauw. Although I do not think it characterizes all social sororities. I was in one in college (not delta zeta). In fact I was a founder of my chapter. And it was one of the best decisions of my undergrad years. In fact our national representatives told us that during recruitment we told that we to invite new based on their character not on anything else. I met some of my life long friends through my sorority. I am proud to say even though I did not attend a very diverse undergraduate school my sorority now is one of the most racial diverse groups on campus.

I must say I am very proud of the girls who left the group even though they were invited to stay.

mompriest said...

I was not in a sorotity in college. Thought I was too cool in 1974 to join one...but I have worked hard at raising a daughter with a good sense of self-esteem and body image. I feel for these beautiful women who were so publically humiliated. Indeed the national office is a disgrace, what ever the reason they want to portray, they were terribly insensitive and wrong in their approach. I applaud the women who left in solidarity with their sisters!