Sorority Evictions Raise Issue of Looks and BiasThis is particularly troublesome story for DePauw, even though the university was not involved. Why? Because some 85% of the students are involved in the Greek system (hey, it's an Indiana town of 6500 people!)
By SAM DILLON, New York Times
GREENCASTLE, Ind. — 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.
“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.
The system has always been screwy. I never could have been a Beta or a Phi Psi (rich face men), I didn't want to be a Sigma Nu (the offensive line) or a Delta Upsilon (stoner losers). I found my perfect niche at Alpha Tau Omega, the book jocks, the guys that girls wanted to study with but not go out with. This "bias" was built into the often insidious process known as rush.
But this story is devastating to the university at just the wrong time. First of all, high school seniors are making their final college decisions now, and beyond that, the obvious--even though it is an outside entity, the national sorority, the stories create the image of shallowness and elitism.