Monday, February 26, 2007

Only stereotypes need apply

I have never gotten the US system of sororities (or the male equivalent), but I understand that it's a very important part of student life for many US students. That makes this story even more distressing.

Sorority Evictions Raise Issue of Looks and Bias (NY Times article, requires free registration).

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.

“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 don't know how the US system works, but couldn't DePauw somehow rewoke Delta Zeta's permit to operate on DuPauw? I think it could be argued that their behaviour was disruptive and discrimminating, and as such doesn't fit into the college.

I find this part particularly problematic:

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.

If peoples' self-esteem is so connected to their sorority affiliation that they go into depression over such a thing, there is obviously something very wrong. I think it sounds like an unhealthy dependency on soronities for popularity, but that might be me reading too much into it.

Go read the article.



Blogger The Rev. Jenner J. Hull said...

At one of my past colleges, a fraternity was disbanded because the brothers took their pledges to the beach, made them strip down, and pissed on them.

Rough, yeah, but I think the Delta's problem is, quite honestly, worse.

At least the dumbass frat pledges could've said, "Yeah, fuck you," at the very mention of "get naked."

I feel sorry for the (former) Delta sisters and think that there should be some sort of repercussions against the sorority, though it seems like the whole college (and most anyone who's read the article) is against them now. That may be enough.

And I agree that the fraternity/sorority system in this country is uber-screwy. From my experience, they're either dens of iniquity or ignorance (usually both). Hell, I had a good time at several colleges without setting foot in a frat-house.

February 27, 2007 6:36 AM  

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