First Harvard Sorority Shuts Its Doors Because Of Single-Gender Penalties

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Delta Gamma became the first single-gender Harvard University group to shut its doors, citing penalties the school has introduced for groups that only admit members belonging to one gender.

The national Delta Gamma chapter announced the Harvard chapter’s decision to disband in a Thursday press release published Sunday in The Harvard Crimson.

“We respect the chapter’s decision and understand that the University’s sanctions resulted in an environment in which Delta Gamma could not thrive,” Delta Gamma national President Wilma Johnson Wilbanks said in the release. “We sincerely hope this changes in the future.”

Harvard students belonging to classes beginning with the class of 2021 cannot hold office in recognized student organizations, captain Harvard varsity athletic teams, or receive school endorsement for scholarships like the Rhodes Scholarship. (RELATED: Harvard To Ban Frat And Sorority Members From Rhodes Scholarships, Leadership Positions)

Delta Gamma is the first single-gender group at Harvard to close because of the new policy, but other groups have modified their membership to conform to the administration’s will.

The school’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority announced in July that it would cut ties from its national chapter and rebrand as a gender-neutral Theta Zeta Xi chapter. Former fraternities Alpha Epsilon Phi and Kappa Sigma became co-ed in fall 2017.

The number of Harvard students rushing sororities grew from around 250 in 2012 to 286 in 2017, however, it fell to about 100 in 2018.

“Harvard College seeks to build a community in which every student can thrive, and it does so on the foundation of a set of shared values including belonging, inclusion, and non-discrimination,” school spokeswoman Rachael Dane told The Crimson.

The Ivy League school also faces discord from outside of its student body, as a nonprofit is suing it for discriminating against Asian American applicants.

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