DePauw parts ways with Delta Zeta


From today’s Indianapolis Star:

DePauw University has cut its ties to a national sorority that asked 23 members of its local chapter to leave because, the former sorority sisters said, they were not attractive enough.

University President Robert G. Bottoms announced the decision in a letter delivered this morning to Delta Zeta national president, Deborah A. Raziano.

“In summary, we at DePauw do not like the way our students were treated,” Bottoms said. “We at DePauw believe that the values of our university and those of Delta Zeta sorority are incompatible.” […]

“It is my decision to sever ties immediately with your national organization,” Bottoms wrote. “Beginning in the fall 2007, Delta Zeta will not be recognized by the university. In the interim, I call upon you to allow Delta Zeta alumnae to support the local chapter for the remainder of the spring semester rather than your national organization.”

Background here.

Good for DePauw for taking a stand on this. It’s been something of a counterexample to the axiom of “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” for them, because in the media, DePauw’s name has been linked to the behavior of the national Delta Zeta organization, while in fact DePauw’s been behaving admirably. That’s the cost of doing business with a parallel organization — if they do something good, you get part of the credit, but if they screw up, it looks like you screwed up.

I was wondering the other day if there were any examples on record where a university, for whatever reason, just turned around and said “No thanks, we don’t want you here anymore” to a Greek organization. It seems like most of the time, universities try to retain Greeks at any price. DePauw sort of did that here, although DZ’s actions made it easy.

Clarification: What I mean here is, are there any examples on record of a university divesting itself of a Greek organization, not because of “bad behavior” that forces the university’s hand, but because the university just decides they don’t want them anymore for reasons sort of like “incompatible values”? It seems like the only time you ever hear of Greek organizations getting thrown off campus, it’s because they’ve done something illegal or extremely untoward. What if the university just gets tired of them, or decides that it wants to go a certain direction institutionally and doesn’t want the Greeks along for the ride?

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7 Comments

Filed under Education, Greek system, Higher ed, Life in academia, Student culture

7 responses to “DePauw parts ways with Delta Zeta

  1. Donna

    Fraternities get thrown out of universities for bad behavior all the time. First time I’ve heard of a sorority getting the boot, though.

  2. What I meant was, are there examples of universities that have disowned a Greek organization just because they don’t want them around anymore — because of an incompatibility in values like we see here, and not because of some sort of fatal infraction like alcohol abuse.

    I’ll go make that a little clearer in the main post.

  3. I went to a small private school and they disallowed a Greek organization because it had a history of hazing and destructive pranks. Another related university also revoked this organization’s right to recruit.

  4. G-Man

    I think DePauw is getting some GREAT publicity for taking a righteous stand on behalf of its students. DePauw didn’t do the convenient thing and try to make it all “go away” by coming to some fundamentally flawed agreement with DZ that would create the appearance of solving the issue, without really solving the issues.

    DePauw didn’t equivocate, didn’t backpedal.
    The President simply chose what was right, and proceeded…ala Elliot Spitzer, or Patrick Fitzgerald.

    If you compare the DeltaZeta website words, and the DePauw website words, the DePauw words are simple, clear, and truthful. In contrast, the DZ words are a clearly recognized and widely used dialect that I’ll call “Jargoneze Apologetica”….a bunch of meaningless phrases wrapped around something that sounds vaguely like an apology while disclaiming any actual responsbility for doing anything wrong.
    The DZ words look just like the same kind of crap that was spewed by the PR arms at Enron, Andersen Accounting, WorldComm, etc, etc.

    Yay DePauw!!!

  5. Joe

    If the two whose pic. were shown are the considered attractive ones, I sure hate to see the ones thought of as unattractive.

  6. one of the 23

    GLOs are there at the University’s pleasure. They have standards that need to be followed. I dot know how it is everywhere else but this is how it is at Depauw

  7. one of the 23

    this is how it was explained to us by the administration