DePauw University’s president on Monday ordered a sorority off campus by fall after Delta Zeta kicked out nearly two dozen members and drew accusations that only attractive, popular students were asked to remain.
School President Robert G. Bottoms said the values of the sorority did not fit with the 2,200-student private college in western Indiana.
The Delta Zeta sorority has said the 23 evictions were based on the members’ lack of commitment to recruiting new members. But those asked to leave have charged that they were removed because of their appearance, contending they were active and supportive members of their sorority.
Bottoms said the school was unhappy with Delta Zeta’s policies and actions, and with some of the postings on its Web site in response to the controversy that followed the evictions.
“I came to the conclusion that our approaches to these issues are just incompatible,” he said in a news conference.
He did not elaborate on the policies with which the school disagreed. The sorority had previously defended its actions on its Web site and criticized DePauw’s reaction to the issues.
Messages left Monday for the sorority’s national president, Deborah A. Raziano, and the executive director of its national headquarters in Oxford, Ohio, were not returned.
In a statement issued by e-mail Monday night, Delta Zeta said it was “disappointed” that DePauw had closed the chapter and said the situation was being “mischaracterized.”
“Delta Zeta national leadership undertook the membership review and made decisions thereon based solely upon each woman’s commitment to Delta Zeta’s recruitment plans moving forward,” the sorority said in a statement posted on its Web site. “No other factor was considered. Any statement otherwise is inaccurate and misleading and we are saddened that any member would feel this way.”
Sorority told to leave campus
Bottoms said in a letter delivered Monday to Raziano that beginning in the fall, the sorority would no longer be recognized as part of the Greek system at the school. He asked the sorority to leave the campus in Greencastle, 40 miles west of Indianapolis, before then.
Bottoms said the only response from the national sorority to his letter had been an e-mail from Delta Zeta’s attorney asking for the name of DePauw’s attorney.
The sorority’s members have long had a reputation as being known more for academics than partying, and their chapter was widely known among students as the “dog house.”
The chapter started the school year with just 35 women, two-thirds empty on a campus where 70 percent of students join the Greek system.
Efforts to improve those numbers — and, some contend, the sorority’s image — prompted Delta Zeta’s national leadership to conduct a review to determine members’ commitment to recruiting. As a result, it moved 23 members to alumnae status in December, evicting them from the sorority house. Six others left on their own.
Bottoms said of those six who remain on campus, four are seniors who will graduate this year. He said the university would help the other two women look for housing next fall.
DePauw’s decision follows a letter of reprimand sent to the national organization Feb. 19.