DePauw Delta Zeta Purge Scandal: Elitism Has Its Price, Smart Women Get Dumped

Maybe those who said the Greeks really weren't often being racist in their behavior regarding the "Chief" and "tacos and tequila", etc were right. Maybe they're just totally insensitive toward other human beings in general? Stories like this make you wonder. February 25, 2007 Sorority Evictions Raise Issue of Looks and Bias By SAM DILLON 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. “I sensed the disrespect with which this was to be carried out and got fed up,” Ms. Holloway added. “I didn’t have room in my life for these women to come in and tell my sisters of three years that they weren’t needed.” Ms. Holloway is not the only angry one. The reorganization has left a messy aftermath of recrimination and tears on this rural campus of 2,400 students, 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis. 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. DePauw’s president, Robert G. Bottoms, issued a two-page letter of reprimand to the sorority. In an interview in his office, Dr. Bottoms said he had been stunned by the sorority’s insensitivity. “I had no hint they were going to disrupt the chapter with a membership reduction of this proportion in the middle of the year,” he said. “It’s been very upsetting.” The president of Delta Zeta, which has its headquarters in Oxford, Ohio, and its other national officers declined to be interviewed. Responding by e-mail to questions, Cynthia Winslow Menges, the executive director, said the sorority had not evicted the 23 women, even though the national officers sent those women form letters that said: “The membership review team has recommended you for alumna status. Chapter members receiving alumnae status should plan to relocate from the chapter house no later than Jan. 29, 2007.” Ms. Menges asserted that the women themselves had, in effect, made their own decisions to leave by demonstrating a lack of commitment to meet recruitment goals. The sorority paid each woman who left $300 to cover the difference between sorority and campus housing. The sorority “is saddened that the isolated incident at DePauw has been mischaracterized,” Ms. Menges wrote. Asked for clarification, the sorority’s public relations representative e-mailed a statement saying its actions were aimed at the “enrichment of student life at DePauw.” This is not the first time that the DePauw chapter of Delta Zeta has stirred controversy. In 1982, it attracted national attention when a black student was not allowed to join, provoking accusations of racial discrimination. Earlier this month, an Alabama lawyer and several other DePauw alumni who graduated in 1970 described in a letter to The DePauw, the student newspaper, how Delta Zeta’s national leadership had tried unsuccessfully to block a young woman with a black father and a white mother from joining its DePauw chapter in 1967. Despite those incidents, the chapter appears to have been home to a diverse community over the years, partly because it has attracted brainy women, including many science and math majors, as well as talented disabled women, without focusing as exclusively as some sororities on potential recruits’ sex appeal, former sorority members said. “I had a sister I could go to a bar with if I had boy problems,” said Erin Swisshelm, a junior biochemistry major who withdrew from the sorority in October. “I had a sister I could talk about religion with. I had a sister I could be nerdy about science with. That’s why I liked Delta Zeta, because I had all these amazing women around me.” But over the years DePauw students had attached a negative stereotype to the chapter, as evidenced by the survey that Pam Propsom, a psychology professor, conducts each year in her class. That image had hurt recruitment, and the national officers had repeatedly warned the chapter that unless its membership increased, the chapter could close. At the start of the fall term the national office was especially determined to raise recruitment because 2009 is the 100th anniversary of the DePauw chapter’s founding. In September, Ms. Menges and Kathi Heatherly, a national vice president of the sorority, visited the chapter to announce a reorganization plan they said would include an interview with each woman about her commitment. The women were urged to look their best for the interviews. The tone left four women so unsettled that they withdrew from the chapter almost immediately. Robin Lamkin, a junior who is an editor at The DePauw and was one of the 23 women evicted from the house, said many of her sisters bought new outfits and modeled them for each other before the interviews. Many women declared their willingness to recruit diligently, Ms. Lamkin said. A few days after the interviews, national representatives took over the house to hold a recruiting event. They asked most members to stay upstairs in their rooms. To welcome freshmen downstairs, they assembled a meet-and-greet team that included several of the women eventually asked to stay in the sorority, along with some slender women invited from the sorority’s chapter at Indiana University, Ms. Holloway said. “They had these unassuming freshman girls downstairs with these plastic women from Indiana University, and 25 of my sisters hiding upstairs,” she said. “It was so fake, so completely dehumanized. I said, ‘This calls for a little joke.’ ” Ms. Holloway put on a wig and some John Lennon rose-colored glasses, burst through the front door during the recruitment event, and skipped around singing “Ooooh! Delta Zeta!” and other chants. The face of one of the national representatives, she recalled, “was like I’d run over her puppy with my car.” The national representatives announced their decisions in the form letters, delivered on Dec. 2, which said that Delta Zeta intended to increase membership to 95 by the 2009 anniversary, and that it would recruit using a “core group of women.” Elizabeth Haneline, a senior a computer science major who was among those evicted, returned to the house from campus that afternoon and found some women in tears. Even the chapter’s very active president had been kicked out, Ms. Haneline said, while “other women who had done almost nothing for the chapter were asked to stay.” Ms. Swisshelm said she overheard one woman seek to reassure a friend: “I think you’re plenty pretty, no matter what nationals say,” the woman said. Six of the 12 women who were asked to stay left the sorority, including Joanna Kieschnick, a sophomore majoring in English literature. “They said, ‘You’re not good enough’ to so many people who have put their heart and soul into this chapter that I can’t stay,” she said. Ms. Haneline, who found articles about Delta Zeta in the DePauw library about past episodes of discrimination, said, “The Greek system hasn’t changed at all, but instead of racism, it’s image now.” In the months since, Cynthia Babington, DePauw’s dean of students, has fielded angry calls from parents, she said. Robert Hershberger, chairman of the modern languages department, circulated the faculty petition; 55 professors signed it. “We were especially troubled that the women they expelled were less about image and more about academic achievement and social service,” Dr. Hershberger said. During rush activities this month, 11 first-year students accepted invitations to join Delta Zeta, but only three have since sought membership. On Feb. 2, Rachel Pappas, a junior who is the chapter’s former secretary, printed 200 posters calling on students to gather that afternoon at the student union. About 50 students showed up and heard Ms. Pappas say the sorority’s national leaders had misrepresented the truth when they asserted they had evicted women for lack of commitment. “The injustice of the lies,” she said, “is contemptible.” Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

I think part of the huge

I think part of the huge problem here is that 98% of people on that campus go greek, as they say. There is a huge stereotype of people who don't join the system. Sick.


...only about 70% of the campus is greek. That "sick" and "huge stereotype" is hardly as severe as you make it seem, considering nearly a third (and an extrememly diverse near-third at that) of the campus is independent. Also, this "purge" can be read as an indictment of the entire greek system, and at times (perhaps very many times) the greek system has certainly warrented such a critique. However, such a blanket evaluation based on the actions taken by one sorority's nationals is simply unfair - especially in the case of DePauw which has over 20 other greek organizations represented on its campus.

Having been at Depauw...

in the 80's and early 90's I can say that the rest of the greeks were no better. "Conform or begone" would have been the most accurate motto for that system, as it still seems to be. It's really pathetic. Note how the university adminstration is doing nothing except flaring its nostrils? reality

If 70 percent of a campus is greek, that's a huge proportion. And the purge _is_ an indictment of the system. You may ask why so many nerdy, non-white and overweight women were clustered into one sorority? Maybe because none of the other organizations wanted them? Why did none of the DePauw campus sororities and fraternities stand up for the delta chapter?

check out the campus paper's opinion poll

51% of the participants in the poll voted for "I Understand Why They Did It" when asked about the treatement of the woman removed from the house. 42% thought it was wrong and 6% didn't know what was going on. Poll Twenty plus young women displaced from their residences mid year and notified during Finals Week in December. Can you imagine the disruption and turmoil that must have caused them? How about the graduating seniors? Nice note to go out on, huh? Several withdrew from classes because of the stress caused by this. I think the administration should ban that sorority from campus. But hey, it's nice to see over half the campus thinks this is understandable. I don't have any kids, but if I did, I sure as hell wouldn't send them to DePauw and if there were female, I'd keep them away from the that sororority.


If you notice, underneath the poll it says, "this The DePauw poll is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. The results cannot be assumed to represent the opinions of Internet users in general, nor the public as a whole." Nor do they represent the feelings of the campus as a whole, either. The campus newspaper is so readily available in print that I'm not sure that most students even know that the website exists. On a slightly more upbeat note, check out what some students have done:


Ironically, another DZ chapter also made the news recently. The house at Texas A&M, which is presumably closer to DZ's stereotypical ideal, was searched by police, and one of the members got caught with cocaine. Hey, coke's good for losing weight, right?

Way to stereotype an entire organization

because ONE of their members got caught with cocaine. I'm sure your friends would love to be grouped with you for every "incorrect" decision you made.

Re: Way to stereotype an entire organization

Hey, let's be honest - what really pushed DZ into the (inter)national spotlight was the "incorrect" decision of their executive director, specifically the appalling way she handled the DePauw situation. I have no idea how many DZs use coke, though it seemed interesting that the cops felt the need to search the Texas A&M chapter house. But realistically, people outside College Station probably wouldn't have taken much notice of the cocaine story at all if there hadn't also been a much bigger story about overweight/plain/minority girls getting dumped en masse from another chapter. The coincidence seemed rather interesting.

DePauw DZ Links

Here are some of the most interesting blog posts on the DePauw/DZ situation I've seen so far.

General JC Christian's letter to Debbie Raziano (DZ National President)

DePauw DZ alum: "No matter what the rest of DePauw thought about me and my sisters, I have never been ashamed to call myself a Delta Zeta. Now I am."

Friend of former DZ who led the protest: "Anyone who missed it missed one of the better spectacles they were ever going to see at DePauw, and it's an honor to be so close to the rabblerouser behind it all."

BitchPhD: "Sisterhood is powerful"

DZ Livejournal community discussion:

Now is the time for questions

it's unfortunate that many of the women involved in the dz fiasco at depauw are still left with the feeling--even after major media coverage--that they are not good enough. in other words, no one has stepped forward to affirm that they are intelligent, beautiful women that are deserving of respect. i am fine emphasizing that point, obviously delta zeta nationals was not. As a member of the "offbeat hippie" sorority i can definitely tell you that i, myself, don't fit any sorority archetypes and i don't think that should ever have anything to do with my membership. this situation is not about a bunch of women whose appearances were unworthy. it is about the superficiality, ignorance, anti-feminist attitudes, and protectionism of the greek system. Delta Zeta nationals goal was to keep their chapter alive for their centennial--no matter what the cost to women's self-esteem, relationships, grades, and sisterhood. my national panhellenic representative told me that "delta zeta nationals is a sovereign, private organization and can do whatever they want and you don't have the right to ask questions." I'll tell you something--this isn't just DZ. it's every NPC sorority--they all pull this kind of shit--and it's absolutely the time for every member of the greek system, across the country, to start asking questions and demand answers from the women that run these organizations on the national level.

Those girls rock

it's unfortunate that many of the women involved in the dz fiasco at depauw are still left with the feeling--even after major media coverage--that they are not good enough. in other words, no one has stepped forward to affirm that they are intelligent, beautiful women that are deserving of respect. i am fine emphasizing that point, obviously delta zeta nationals was not. But what's really cool is that it seems like some of the former DZ's stood up for themselves and showed that they didn't need a bunch of superficial dimwits to tell them that they were good enough.

Cocaine gimme a break!

The actions of DZ are not representative to the current greek system. In response to the cocaine poster: My uncle lived with me while I was growing up, and he died of heroine. Does that make me a junky, or my parents a junky, or if my parents were an organization would the organization be found to have endorsed that behavior? Drug use in society is not solely a greek issue, it is a world wide issue. Drugs do not discriminate. If you are rich, poor, fat, skinny, black, white, or any color in between, you can become addicted to drugs. quit being a moron and insinuating that the entire DZ sorority at A&M is on Coke. The Greek systems of today are not a reflection of the 80's, nor of the movie animal house. As a greek alum from Washington State University, I found that living in a fraternity brought more structure, and responsibility to the community. We were REQUIRED to complete four 1/2 day community service projects per year, and four alcohol and date rape related programs per year. people who live in the dorms are REQUIRED to go to the classes that they registered for. I lived with a diverse cross-section of individuals, and I learned how to co-habitate with some people that I have grown to love, and others that i could have done without. That experience prepared me for the working world. How many people have worked for a company where there wasn't one or two people that they could do without? Greek Life prepares people to be successful, and yes there are some parties. If you think that people who live in dorms party less, then you are living in a diluted reality filled with bunnies, daisies, and puppy dogs. I am certain that you can find one person in the dorms at depauw that has used cocaine! should we damn the dorms? all the dorms are bad, one student did coke. For all of the good things that greek students do now, there is going to be a handful of stories every year about this sorority acting this way, that fraternity drinking and hazing, and the other one that burned down. Captions always paint them as "those bad frats/sororities!" "those Devils!" when something happens on campus or at a party that is not greek affiliated, it is "a tragedy." It's ironic that the late 30- early 40-somethings are the very people who created the stereotypes, and they are the same generation looking down their noses at the greek system today- even though the groups work hard for the community, and in general are decent people. if you are in your late 30's, or early 40's, and you went to college, and you didn't party, you are a minority- AND YOU KNOW IT! If you did party, and you are willing to crucify the entire greek system based on this "bad behavior by one is fostered by all" premise, you are a hipocrite

Reading comprehension

quit being a moron and insinuating that the entire DZ sorority at A&M is on Coke. Too bad your Greek experience apparently didn't do much for your reading comprehension. I pointed out that it was ironic that another DZ house had also made the news this month, though I did never claimed that the entire house used cocaine. The news article itself stated that the police had searched the house.


You think middle-aged people invented stereotypes? Honey, I hate to break it to you, but... nevermind. Reading comprehension doesn't seem to be your only comprehension problem.

Nationals at fault

As a current DePauw student and a proud participant in our greek system, I see this incident much less as an indictment of DePauw's greek system and more of a testament of the shallow nature of the Delta Zeta national chapter. The greek system at DePauw has dominated social life here almost since the school's inception, so when one comes here he or she should understand the fact that choosing to be independent is choosing to be part of a very small minority. As a result though, many people are able to be exposed to the greek world than would normally be the case at a larger school. Many people here regard it as an opportunity and, contrary to popular belief, negative stereotypes aren't prevalent here. Generally speaking, the student body here is very courteous to their fellow students, whether in class, walking through campus, or out on a Friday or Saturday night. Certain truths exist in the story, of course. Yes, Delta Zeta is the smallest sorority on campus and yes, they have had problems for years keeping membership up, but that doesn't mean that we as a school think any less of the chapter. Apparently, though, it does mean that the national organization thinks less of our chapter than they do of others. Delta Zeta has an image nationally, one that their national organization strives hard to meet at each chapter. But, as is the case with any Fraternity or Sorority, personalities of each chapter vary from school to school. Most greek organizations take this idea in stride, knowing that with any good organization there must be variety and individuality, but apparently not DZ. Because the girls at DePauw didn't fit the stereotypical DZ image, they were expelled from the house, forced to take status as alumnae. Because of the superficial ideals of the "plastic" Delta Zetas, 23 good women were forced to find alternative housing for the rest of their college careers. They were the ones truly at fault, and it's a shame to see something that DePauw had little involvement in tarnish our reputation and national image.

Cutting to the chase

at the same time you say that the A&M students are "presumably closer to DZ's stereotypical ideal" and "coke's good for losing weight, right?" I believe that I was seeing the forest through the trees- so to speak. I see your slanted vision of the national DZ house. Never mind the civic contributions of this nation wide sorority. Lets just focus on the bad behavior of a few. Moron.

Re: Cutting to the chase

Lets just focus on the bad behavior of a few. Moron. If the best defense of Delta Zeta that you can come up with involves name-calling, that's not a very good sign.

Not DePauw or Greek System at Fault

This entire scandal (which is what it is) has been blown out of proportion for DePauw University and its current greek system. No one on campus condones the actions of DZ's Nationals. The survey above does not reflect the majority of DePauw's students and is more than likely outdated. Rumors circulated about the sorority, but it has not been until very recently that the truth has come out and that DePauw students have been completely informed. I went through Rush and the story did get it right that DZs from Indiana and Purdue Universities were brought in to "talk" to us. It was a completely different sorority than the one we had known on campus. The actions of DZ Nationals are a tragedy and DePauw University acknowledges this. It's also true that DePauw is about 70% greek and the independent students on campus are not outcasts. Nor are the greek students entirely tied up in partying and being "exclusive" or "elite." Sororities at DePauw are not like those at larger schools and I can say, from personal experience, that there is much more alcohol and drug use in the dorms than there are in sorority houses. DePauw's greek system works for the school and no one should judge the school or use blanket statements to define us, when they obviously know little to nothing about our school in its current state. The reason I chose to attend DePauw was because of its warm attitude and courteous students, not because I have rich parents (which I most definitely do not). The girls expelled from the house, though, were not given the choice to return. They were "recommended" for alumna status and told they would be deactivated if they did not accept it. Afterwards, girls were told that if they spoke publicly about the incident, they would also be deactivated. It's sad that something so terrible can bring so much bad publicity to DePauw, when it is in fact, an outstanding university that I am proud to attend; if DePauw is in any way "elitist," it is through academics. President Bottoms even issued a public statement reprimanding the behavior of DZ Nationals and there is not much else that the university can do at this time that they are not currently doing. To have our university judged for something they have little say in is tragic, as well.

Earlier DZ Eviction

Weird ... according to this article, DZ apparently evicted a UMass chapter in 2005 with very short notice. Looks like some of the same folks at their nationals were involved.

I was a victim too

I am too embarrassed to admit this but I was racially discriminized as a member. I was often referred at the "mexican" and was often reminded how lucky I was to have even been allowed to pledge Delta Zeta. And what's worst is that this is a California chapter where the majority of the population in this state is the minorities. Makes one think

"We Promise"

Here's a link to a PDF containing the article "We Promise," which Cynthia Menges apparently won an award for writing. Menges is currently the Delta Zeta executive director responsible for the actions at the DePauw chapter. PDF document In case you haven't gotten your Recommended Daily Allowance of irony, here are a few quotes: "What we promise in the Delta Zeta Sorority is that membership will motivate and encourage a young woman to become the best possible person she can be to her family, to her friends, to her community, and to herself. And she can count on support from her sisters in Delta Zeta to help her attain this worthy goal. What we promise in the Delta Zeta Sorority is that membership is life changing and lifelong, and that promise has not changed since our founding in 1902......" BTW, the whole story also appeared on CNN recently, and some clips are up at

DZ at University of Kentucky

Wow, another article indicates that DZ may have pulled something similar at University of Kentucky in 1999

Here are some excerpts from "NO RUSH TO JUDGMENT FOR DELTA ZETA 8 OUSTED UK SORORITY SISTERS GO TO COURT MEDIATION THIS WEEK, BUT SAY THEIR LOSS CAN'T BE REPAID" by Valarie Honeycutt printed in the Lexington Herald-Leader on August 12, 2001

"Jennifer McVay and seven other women say they should be helping to host parties at the Delta Zeta house when sorority rush begins this week at the University of Kentucky.

Instead, the eight women will be trying to settle a federal lawsuit they filed against the national sorority in 1999. The suit alleges that the sorority breached a contract with the women after it kicked them out because they couldn't recruit enough members, according to federal court records.
The lawsuit also alleges that the women were told not to display sorority letters or fraternize with new recruits even though they were considered alumnae.


he Delta Zeta case began in 1999, when, after several years of trying to increase membership, the sorority's national office reorganized the chapter at UK.

The eight women who filed the lawsuit -- McVay, Heather Bostwick, Vicki Blair, Mary Himbaugh, Heather Combs, Andrea Moberly, Margo Elliott and Stephanie Webster -- had no disciplinary problems and were in good standing, but were told they would be alumnae and no longer be active members.

When asked why the eight women were ousted, Delta Zeta officials said in court records, 'The existing members were not able to facilitate and maintain successful recruitment.'


Delta Zeta officials acknowledge telling at least two of the women that it would be in the best interest of new recruits if the ousted members 'refrained from wearing their sorority letters on campus or in public, visiting the chapter house, participating in social events, and to refrain from having any contact at all with new members,' court records said.


Heather Bostwick said she was temporarily left without a place to live after the eight were asked to leave the sorority house.

'I always thought, "Once a sister, always a sister," unless you didn't pay your dues or something,' said Bostwick, 23, now a graduate student in Deerfield Beach, Florida.


But McVay, now 22 and a UK law student, said that she and her fellow former sorority members can never recapture their lost sorority experience.

She said she hopes the lawsuit, filed "as a last resort," might help other members of such organizations.

'People who take the time to listen say, 'That could happen to me,' she said."

Re: Stereotypes

The "Stereotypical Frat/Sorority member" was not tarnished by my grandfathers generation when the houses were largely based on one religion or another. The basis for the stereo type was established by people who went to college in the 70's and 80's. your right, middle aged people did not invent the concept of a stereotype... good god... "created THE stereotype" does not refer to the word stereotype, nor its definition- THE stereotype refers to what people picture in their head when they think of greek students. perhaps you should fully read the post. While I see everyone has crucified DZ to the fullest, I find that it follows the true reality of America today. Guilty until proven innocent. DZ has not offered any counter argument to the allegations. I see that taking a stance that is pro greek has been met with a great resistance.

Delta Zeta Should Have Waited

Delta Zeta should have waited until the end of the year to reorganize. Other than that, as the owners of the organization, they have to authority to move any of those girls to alumni status. they would still be Delta Zeta women, just not active members. They couldn't fill the house, and they are expensive to run. Delta Zeta did what it had to do to try to improve their numbers. Most of the stories posted above that highlight the questionable actions of Delta Zeta occured when, admittedly, membership numbers were suffering. One must ask, Would this have happened if the house was full? Probably not.

Questionable actions

Most of the stories posted above that highlight the questionable actions of Delta Zeta occured when, admittedly, membership numbers were suffering.

However, Menges and the rest of DZ Nationals still chose to engage in "questionable actions" related to a chapter with low numbers, and it sounds like this may not be the first time that there have been questions raised about the way DZ members were treated. Sure, if they'd waited until the end of the year and simply closed the house, there wouldn't have been any national news stories and this thread wouldn't even exist. But that's not what happened.

Even So

If you read the Dean's repermand to Delta Zeta, he only takes issue with Delta Zetas timing. the title of the story is smart women get dumped. This is DePauw, not UIPUI, of course they are smart women. beauty is arbitrary, and based on pictures contained on CNN, some of the women who got axed are great looking. the only documented questionable action on the part of Delta Zeta is not waiting until the end of the year. the rest is hearsay evidence. The women who decided not to accept the alumni status could have challenged the eviction, and the proceedings would have taken until the end of the year, but DZ would have pulled their individual memberships. small price to pay for a place to stay. DZ did what they felt was needed to improve the capacity of the house. if it was a failing business that cleaned house, this would also be a non-issue. DZ did wrong- by not waiting until summer to restructure. They wouldn't need to close the house completely, (though they might have in this case had the dean not stated in his letter that if they closed he might not let them recolonize. leaving some people in the house subverts the issue of recolonization. tough call, but they still want a house on campus, so it is a safe call too.


"DZ did what they felt was needed to improve the capacity of the house." By reinforcing its vapid biases. Are they supposed to be cheered for that? @%<

who said anyone should cheer?

Hmm... it seems that most of the people upset about this are just focusing on the looks of other people. Doesn't that reinforce a vapid bias in itself? Smart AND pretty- not on your life buster!

In the end what matters...

In the end the truth is it's not the letters you have on your shirt its the friends you make.... In my own sorority we have had difficult times but just because we might no longer be labled sisters does not mean they are some of my best friends. I would have to say what nationals did was just wrong, however the girls kicked out are not no longer friends or sisters they just wont wear the letters... and quite frankly I wouldnt want the letters if I were them.. I would move on with my life!

Looking worse for DZ

Here's a post from someone who apparently oversaw part of DePauw rush, and heard some disturbing things about Delta Zeta (source:

Sorry, but I found this linked to another message board. I am intrigued that you seem to dismiss the National sorority’s responsibility in this matter. The phrase, “they would never compromise their integrity just to get new members” makes me laugh especially, since I was a Rho Gamma who had to monitor Delta Zeta during first round of recruitment. Not only did a national representative announce in her presentation that the members who were recommended for alumna status had strayed from Delta Zeta values, but I then had to deal with distressed freshmen women who told me that the girls rushing them (IU and Purdue DZ pledges) had been told by DZ Nationals that they wouldn’t be initiated if they didn’t help with DePauw’s recruitment. I would argue that BOTH of these instances show their LACK of integrity. I won’t even begin to mention the things that the representatives said at the “DZ Hypocrits” meeting that completely inflamed the student body as well as were complete crocks of crap.

I am not a Delta Zeta, but some of my best friends are. Delta Zeta nationals were not the ones who had to reassure these women that they are good people who hadn’t done anything wrong. In fact, the representatives and every other person I’ve encountered from Delta Zeta has just made the situation worse. I’m sorry that as an alumna, you are upset by the situation, but do not excuse the actions of the National office. The way to solve campus bias against the women of the house was not to come in and validate what had previously been said and to place blame on those members who had been forced into taking alumna status. Maybe if you had heard the things that I heard (even from an outsiders’ perspective) you might understand why there is so much outrage surrounding this situation.

Delta Zeta put some less-than-plausible justifications on their website (, but DePauw wasn't drinking the Kool-aid. Their official response to the stuff on the DZ site is at and there's another statement at .

Cheers to these women!

They come across intelligent, confident, and attractive people, and I know they will do much better now that they are free from the rule of DZ National.

An outsider's take

I'm a 45 year old professor of journalism who lived in a Delta Zeta home on a small campus in the early 80s. I finally got around to reading last Sunday's New York Times tonight. The article was the first I'd heard of this situation. So I read the NYT article, then went to the DZ national website, then read lots of other blogs and comments posted on the Internet by interested parties. Bottom line: Even as a former DZ who had a good experience in college, I just don't buy the explanation by the DZ national leadership. There were certain gals that just didn't fit the image of who the DZ nationals thought should make up this Delta Zeta chapter. It really is shameful and disturbing to learn of this situation. Just thinking about those freshmen who were being "rushed" by hand-picked girls from other colleges that looked and sounded more the part--it turns my stomach.

Alum Perspective...

I recently graduated and became a DZ alum. When I joined Delta Zeta in 2003 as a sophomore, I was privileged to become a member of one of the most respected and liked houses on campus. The women were intelligent and motivated leaders who at the same time were immersed socially and in the community. Every year at recruitment we filled our quota, with hundreds of hopeful women seeking membership. I wish I could honestly say that I am shocked and appalled at the recent activity at DePauw, but unfortunately I am only appalled. Although my pledge class was an amazing group of diverse women (both in terms of physical appearance and personality), all of a sudden I noticed that any overweight or unconventional women that I fell in love with during recruitment did not get asked back to become a member... and all of a sudden the diversity in my chapter began to disappear. Today I am embarrassed to wear my letters when I go back to campus for Homecoming or to visit friends. Although we have a "beautiful" group of women running around wearing DZ letters, the chapter has fell behind in grades, reputation, and most importantly character. A practice of recruiting pretty girls regardless of personality, intelligence, and ambition has yielded exactly what they wanted... a group of pretty, mean spirited, and low character women who are slowly losing respect form the Pan-Hellenic community all over the country. This is not to say that the chapter hasn’t gotten lucky and recruited beautiful women who also happen to be leaders, but when an emphasis is placed on image and social activities, these leaders are few and far between. Although I am disappointed in the actions of nationals and the direction that my chapter is headed, I will never regret the three years that I spent as an active member. I had amazing times and made amazing friends... unfortunately it seems as if future generations of women at my alma madder will not experience the same from my chapter. This is not soley a "National" problem... it is beginning to happen in individual chapters nationwide.

Newsweek story and DZ "apology"

The DePauw DZ chapter is featured in the current edition of Newsweek at . Also, Delta Zeta now has a less-than-impressive apology on their website: "Delta Zeta National apologizes to any of our women at DePauw who felt personally hurt by our actions. It was never our intention to disparage or hurt any of our members during this chapter reorganization process." Umm... there was also the small matter of the women getting thrown out in the middle of the school year and having to deal with the news right around finals. Does DZ see this kind of thing as a problem at all? Rob Cottingham has an interesting take on the apology at " .


After this story broke I was ashamed to walk outside with my letters on. As a former member of the Delta Zeta Chapter at BGSU I am proud to said my chapter treated everyone with the upmre respect when they walked through our doors. It is sad that one chapter can drag a whole communities name through the mud.

"But the Greeks don't want

"But the Greeks don't want no freaks. The Greeks don't want no freaks Just put a little smile on them rosy cheeks, 'Cause the Greeks don't want no freaks." (GATOR!!) -- Eagles

DePauw Severs Ties with DZ

There's a release on the DePauw site that includes the letter to DZ president Debbie Raziano from DePauw president Robert Bottoms. He states "...we at DePauw believe that the values of our University and those of the national Delta Zeta Sorority are incompatible ..... It is my decision to sever ties immediately with your national organization." See .

DZ - Jacksonville University - 1986

Delta Zeta pulled this same stunt at JU in Jacksonville, Florida in 1986. I remember this clearly despite being a member of a different sorority. The DZ's were not "pretty girls" and they could not compete with the other sororities during rush recruiting (formal or informal). I remember that they completely redecorated their chapter room, tried to recruit (they managed a small pledge class) and abruptly closed at the end of the semester. One of their pledges lived on my floor and was very distressed at the way the national reps handled the situation. The chapter there had a long history of smart, yet not conventionally "pretty girls" and ultimately closed because of this. What a shallow organization and not very honest either. I have a feeling that all of this bad press will give DZ what they so richly deserve, financial devastation. I doubt that they will be able to recruit new members and/or alumni money with this scandal coming to light. I guess it all boils down to karma. Just my humble opinion regarding a truly sad situation.

Iota Omega Chapter at JU

I was a member of the Iota Omega Chapter of Delta Zeta at JU in the early 80's and your description wasn't what I experienced or saw firsthand as a sister.  I actually pledged due to the diversity I found in our chapter in 1981.  DZ had a well rounded mix of young ladies who were pretty, smart, well liked, and not like the picture you have painted.  I cheered, was in the band, active in many areas of student life and have many great memories!  BTW-we had the largest pledge classes at the time.  I do not condone what I have read in the news but also believe that something happened to close this chapter and it is sad.  Curious as to what sorority you were a member of and to me it's obvious by your post that you harbor negative feelings concerning DZ...word of advice, you might want to check your own Karma.   

Silence "Gag Order" put on Us By Court

You should know that all of us that were involved in the DZ court case where I went to school (Not DePauw) were made to sign a "Gag Order" which said I was never allowed to discuss anything that happened again, to anyone, not in writing, not the media, or anyone else. You'll probably never hear what really happened most places. It's public record I think, if you went looking.

just found thread

I was at UK when that happened to that chapter.  I was friends with a few of the girls there.  Had been to the house several times.  Not a greek but didn't like what happened to the girls.

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