Archive for February 24th, 2007

Wankers Of The Week

Delta Zeta sorority, national organization. Official motto, “No fat chicks”:

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 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.”


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.”


Despite [past] incidents [of racial discrimination], 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.”


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.

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 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.”


Elizabeth Haneline, a senior computer science major who was among those evicted, returned to the house that afternoon and found some women in tears. Even the chapter’s 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.


“We were especially troubled that the women they expelled were less about image and more about academic achievement and social service,” [modern languages chair] Dr. [Robert] Hershberger said.


“The injustice of the lies,” [former chapter secretary Rachel Pappas] said, “is contemptible.”

Horrible, awful people. Not only did they hide two-thirds of the chapter upstairs like the fucking Elephant Man, but then they insulted their commitment as an excuse to kick them out. Props to the faculty who signed the petition, the chapter members who spoke out and quit in protest, and everyone else who screamed “This is wrong.”

So the DePauw chapter got a rep as a home for brainiacs who don’t fit in. Big deal. Why shouldn’t smart women have their own sorority? What’s wrong with a sorority that bases membership on something other than looks? It’s like Revenge Of The Nerds all over again…

15 comments February 24th, 2007 at 06:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Wankers

Torpid Photoblogging

Apologies for the lack of posting today – I’ve been oot and aboot taking pictures. I’m just kind of easing back in, so I only took about 500 shots and then hit the Indian buffet and watched/listened to some Bollywood. I am now too stuffed to think, and I haven’t processed the new stuff yet, so here are some photos from my last, ah, “photo shoot”:

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It, um, might be time for some dusting…

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I’m blinds!

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More blinds…

I’ll try not to get caught short like this again, but I can’t make any promises because I am very lazy.

1 comment February 24th, 2007 at 04:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh

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