Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Delta Zeta

As Torpor noted on Monday, DePauw University severed ties with the Delta Zeta sorority on Monday. Back in December the national organization for Delta Zeta changed several of its DePauw members' status from active to alumna. Out of the 32 girls at the house, approximately 2/3 were ordered to move out of the house by the end of January. Apparently the girls of DZ were given the notice approximately two weeks before finals in the first semester of this year.

The story first broke in the New York Times about two weeks ago. The Times noted each girl underwent a membership review with the national organization. The membership review was a individual interview with the each sister at the DePauw DZ house. Each were encouraged to look their best and approach it similar to a job interview. At the conclusion of the membership review, the majority of its members were ordered to move out of the house. The article also noted that those girls ordered to move from the house were overweight or not considered attractive. The story has spread like wildfire with all Indianapolis media along with CNN, People magazine, Newsweek, and Good Morning America reporting on the story.

After the announcement Delta Zeta made its retort in regards to the DePauw house. Its position is the University asked it to undertake the membership review after it denied it the chance to reorganize.

The story hit close to home for me. I graduated from DePauw and waited tables at the Delta Zeta sorority while I attended there.

The thing that immediately struck me is how this story has received such national attention. The year before I attended DePauw, a national organization shut down a sorority. After I left DePauw another national organization shut down another sorority. Both times it was for reasons similar to the actions of the Delta Zeta nationals and neither time garnered a story from any media of any sort. Talking to several other people about this story I found each had their own recollection about a fraternity or sorority getting the boot by nationals at their respective schools, some for reasons ostensibly as the reasons given by Delta Zeta.

The University made the right move. I can't condone DZ's actions. Their justification for giving most members the boot doesn't make logical sense. Rush is held at DePauw in February. How can you judge if someone is committed to recruitment if you don't give them a chance to prove it? Their justification is, for lack of better words, pure bullshit. Plus giving the girls notice a few weeks before finals is simply classless. To DZ's credit, they have apologized for this.

It is easy to turn this story into a commentary on how outdated the Greek system is. However if anything, the Greek system is anything but. The world is a cruel and superficial place. If anything we are judged, fairly or unfairly, for multitude of reasons. Because of their exclusivity all social organizations are by nature superficial. That includes your local Jaycees or the Greek system.

I was Greek at DePauw. The question remains do the virtues of the Greek system trump situations such as this when they occur. My belief is the virtues of the Greek system do overwhelmingly overcome its sins. There are very few organizations, save church, that allow leadership opportunities as social organizations such as the Greek system. But more importantly where else at such a young age do you get the opportunity to learn to work with other people, many very different from yourself, on common goals for the benefit of the whole? Perhaps sports but not everyone has the talent nor the desire to participate at the collegiate level. But regardless these experiences are invaluable in preparing a person for the realities of the working world.

My experience at DZ showed me a group of girls committed to the goals of the sorority. I never doubted that the girls were committed to the betterment of the house and their sisterhood. I never once thought to myself "are these girls committed to recruitment". I saw nothing there indicative of the concerns by the national organization. Although my time there was a few years ago, I doubt that aspect of the sorority has changed.

It's too bad the DZ nationals never had lunch with their sisters. Maybe they would have seen the same.


Blogger Timmy said...

the world is a stage!

March 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You missed the fact that the chapter voted to close on their own. That's whay precipitated the membership review. From my own fraternity experience, a chapter that votes to close is not committed to the goals of the organzation.

March 14, 2007  
Blogger Butchieboy said...

Ok, let's be realistic. Who want's to walk into a sorority house and see a bunch of fat ugly chicks? I'm just saying...

March 14, 2007  
Anonymous mfinn said...

What "anonymous" misses is that the women were given two choices: 1) bid 25 or more women during rush (a figure they had not reached in years and were not likely to reach this year) and if they didn't they would be closed by the national HQ 2) close at the end of the school year. DZ national is the one that presented these options - the women didn't vote out of the blue to close.

Once DZ was informed that the school would not go along with their plan, i.e. leave the chapter dormant for a year and then come back and colonize it in time for the centennial, the women were told their vote was no longer valid. THIS is what precipitated the membership review.

If you're given the choice of suicide at your own hand or painful and prolonged torture resulting in your eventual death, which would YOU pick?

March 16, 2007  

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