(If you haven't read Part I, please scroll on down.)
It was no surprise to many of my sisters that soon after our chapter closed, Delta Zeta started having problems of its own. As long as I have been familiar with the chapter, they were never one of the "elite" sororities, and once our doors were closed they started picking up the atypical sorority girls, the once that we were so proud to call our own. It was also no surprise that, because they were welcoming and celebrating the down-to-earth girls, their reputation would start to go south as well. Delta Zeta, like our chapter, received lots of pressure from their nationals to focus hard on recruitment. Rather than limiting member recruitment to Rush, they were concentrate on it year-round: invite unaffiliated women over for dinner, talk to transfer students and find out if they're interested, etc. Recruitment became their primary focus.
Unlike our chapter, however, the Delta Zeta's got some other interesting advice: sex it up. According the interview with Keith Oppenheim on CNN, their advisors suggested they do whatever it took to get the attention of fraternity men. Party more, go out more often, only recruit the cute girls, make yourselves "available," as it were. And try as they might, they were still known as "the dog house." Nice.
To make a long story short, the women of Delta chapter (DePauw's chapter of DZ) voted to abstain from opening their house to freshmen during Rush and to close the chapter effective the end of this academic year. Nationals, however, wanted to try to save the house since 1) Delta chapter is the second oldest DZ chapter currently open and 2) Delta chapter would be celebrating it's centenntial in 2009. When Rush rolled around, national reps came to take over. They bussed in a load of DZ's from IU and invited six of the current DZ's at DePauw to participate. The rest of the women were asked to stay upstairs in the house and told that if they wanted to come downstairs they needed to dress in cute outfits and wear makeup.
I'm still unclear as to the order of events, but sometime around the time of Rush, national reps also interviewed each woman to determine her "commitment to recruitment." Based on the results of those interviews, letters were sent to each woman in the chapter. Twenty-three were told that they were being moved from "active" status to "alumnae status" and would need to move out of the house. These letters showed up in mailboxes the week before finals.
The women of Delta Zeta claim that those who were told that they were being moved to alumnae status were, to the woman, overweight or of color. Nationals claims that those who were told that they were being moved to alumnae status were those who showed a lack of commitment to recruiting new members. However, one of the national reps is quoted as saying, "Image, I'm not going to lie to you, is a huge part of it."
The evicted women and the national reps are never going to see eye-to-eye on this; they're never going to agree about what happened and why. But the thing that irks me the most is the fact that the national reps would notify these women of their eviction the week before finals. Yes, the women in the chapter refused to hold up their end of the bargain by refusing to participate in recruitment, but you don't kick your sister out of her house the week before finals. As if it weren't bad enough that they were emotionally beaten up by the DePauw community, then they have to hear from their own sisters, that they can't even live together for one more semester. No one deserves to be treated like that. According to university administrators, several of the women were so distraught that they chose to take incompletes in their classes because they couldn't focus enough to even finish the semester. Not only that, but in the middle of finals and winter term projects and plans, they had to find new housing. Sorry, but that's no way to treat a sister.
And the DePauw community suffers as well. The message is being conveyed loud and clear that there is no place on the campus for a sorority that values more than image and good looks. The system has just become that more elitist, and the whole community is going to suffer for it.
Update: A woman from the chapter has written to the Fort Wayne newspaper to clarify some issues that I got wrong. Please read her letter here.