For many, sororities are for women who want to be a part of a sisterhood. Through the help of the organization, one may participate in campus activities, community service and of course the be a part of the social scene in college. I was in a sorority in college and it was the greatest time of my life. I believe it taught me a great deal, especially when it comes to maintaining relationships with other women.
Every national sorority is different, with each chapter on each campus widely known for a distinguishing characteristic within the Greek System. And as much as the stereotypes often attributed to each group of girls can often have a grain of truth in them, they can very often lead to interactions reminiscent of high-school bickering, overshadowing the positive qualities associated with sorority membership.
Delta Zeta sorority at DePauw University, which maintains a 75% Greek population within the student body, 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 thirty-five DePauw members in November, quizzing them about their dedication to recruitment.
According to the New York Times, they judged twenty-three of the women to be insufficiently committed to the organization and later told them to vacate the sorority house. The twenty-three members included every woman who was overweight, as well as 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 twelve remaining members were so infuriated they quit.
Is it a coincidence that Delta Zeta “cleaned house” and got rid of the “Socially Awkward Girls,” and that those who remained all belonged to such a specific demographic? This is a terrible situation for the Greek System–exactly the kind of incident that fuels the fire about the negative aspects associated with sororities.
Sororities need members that actively participate in the events, hold offices and promote the sorority as a whole on campus. As much as I am outraged by the possibility of such a blatant case of discrimination, I still feel the need to play devil’s advocate. Is this just the media speculation? How do we really know that these women were actively showing up for meetings, doing the things that were expected of them or promoting a positive sisterhood? Could an overweight sister be just as likely as a skinny blonde sister to shirk her responsibilities?
However, it does seem a little too convenient that these women paid money to belong to an organization and get what they thought was a lifelong bond of sisterhood and friendship only to be stripped of it allegedly because of their looks. If these girls who were dismissed didn’t represent the organization in the way they hoped to be portrayed how did they get accepted in the first place? Sororities reorganize all the time, if you are not hitting your ceiling (your total membership that you are allowed to have) and your new member classes only consist of two to four women then there is something wrong with your rush program and you should fix it. Sororities are not just for “Barbie Dolls”, they are designed to turn girls into women and create women of character, poise and purpose.
(Source: Indianapolis Star)