Sorority Life — It’s Not all Delta Gamma

The sisters of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, SUNY New Paltz.

The sisters of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, SUNY New Paltz.

Once upon a time, a sorority was defined as “a society for female students in a university or college, typically for social purposes.” The women who joined these organizations longed for a place to belong on their college campuses and sought to make a positive difference to their communities.

But as time went on and issues such as hazing and drinking gained prominence, this interpretation was lost. Sororities seemingly lost respect throughout college campuses. Just do an Urban Dictionary search of “sorority,” and you’ll come up with a range of definitions describing “an organization for women who either subscribe to the ideals of fascism…or for women who just want to get drunk and screw around a lot” to “a community of college age women who are united in their passionate thirst to shop, especially when it comes to buying themselves friends.” I can’t help but laugh at these new descriptions.

After being in a sorority for two full years, I can truly say I’ve always taken pride in my letters and what they represent — friendship, loyalty, sisterhood, philanthropy — and have always assumed that other sisters in other sororities have felt the same about theirs. But clearly, I was wrong.

When Gawker published “The Most Deranged Sorority Girl Email You Will Ever Read” (http://gawker.com/5994974/the-most-deranged-sorority-girl-email-you-will-ever-read) about two weeks ago, they made it clear that the stereotypes and behaviors that the sororities on this campus try so hard to disprove are true elsewhere. The social chair of Delta Gamma at the University of Maryland clearly doesn’t have the same morals, beliefs and values as the organizations at SUNY New Paltz, and that in itself is extremely disappointing.

Mentioning the author’s name would just be giving her too much credit for the disgrace that she has brought upon the entire national Greek Life community. From beginning her email with “tie yourself down to whatever chair you’re sitting in because this email is going to be a rough f**king ride,” to her comments including “newsflash you stupid c*cks: FRATS DON’T LIKE BORING SORORITIES” and “I pity you because I don’t know how you got this far in life, and with that in mind don’t f**king show up unless you’re going to stop being a goddamn c*ckblock for our chapter,” it shouldn’t have been a surprise that she ended her email with a simple statement — “and for those of you who are offended at this email, I would apologize but I really don’t give a f**k.”

Not sure if I was the only person in my chapter who so strongly disagreed with this girl, so I reached out to my sisters to see what they thought. In Alpha Epsilon Phi’s chapter of 54 girls, many agreed that the letter was out of line and out of touch with the values on our campus.

“I understand she may be disappointed in the social skills of her sorority and it looks bad on her as Vice President of Social, but she could have handled it in a better way and been a lot nicer,” said Jamie Isbit, a third-year psychology major. “If she was here, she would be disaffiliated in a second.”

Her point raised the question to other sisters to think about how our chapter would react to this situation.

“I immediately thought of my friend in Delta Gamma at Adelphi when I read the letter,” said Sara Caruso, a third-year communication disorders major. “I texted her and even she was outraged. If that happened in our chapter I would be so embarrassed and mad that AEPhi was shown in a bad way, so I can only imagine how she feels.”

However, Kaitlin Indelicato, a third-year media management major felt that the sentiment behind the author’s actions were justified.

“I think that she’s just frustrated because she probably works really hard in her position to have as much fun as possible,” she said. “Just like in our chapter, it makes the sorority look bad when we don’t look happy. She definitely did not hide any of her feelings, and I think she has a good point.”

Others in our sorority felt likewise.

Second-year English major Coleen Higgins had a similar opinion to Indelicato’s.

“Despite its vulgar language, I believe it accurately articulates the importance of inter-Greek relations,” she said. “You could look at it in two ways — it clearly lacks professionalism, and some would say it puts the Greek system in a bad light, but at the root of it, there is a strong desire to build a community which is what the Greek system is all about.”

“I guess you could say she should work on her tone and communication skills,” she added.

And working on her communication skills (or damage control) is what she’ll probably be doing for a very long time — the author recently resigned as a sister after being identified by the media.

The Delta Gamma national leaders responded in a statement on their Facebook page. They said that they accept her resignation and now consider the “highly inappropriate and unacceptable” issue to be over with.

Good luck in the non-Greek world, Rebecca Martinson! (Sorry, I just couldn’t refrain myself from causing her more humiliation.)

 

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2 thoughts on “Sorority Life — It’s Not all Delta Gamma

  1. The Greek life world shoots itself in the foot all on it’s own…Gawker articles don’t even need to be published for that to happen. Once the rape culture that pervades the entire system and the hazing culture is actually regulated by the frats and sororities themselves and people learn to take sexual assault seriously in these organizations, I’ll have some respect for them. Stories of pledges being beaten and hazed to the point of suicide, rape, alcohol poisoning, body shaming, or hospitalization are enough to turn people away from respecting the culture that certain frats and sororities take part in. Oh and not to mention stupid, “cute” programs like “tacos for ta ta’s” (which focus attention on the breast and sexualize it rather than look at the real problems–uh, cancer?) and selling purple nail polish (and profiting off of it) for Domestic Violence awareness–these things are problematic and do more harm than good to those who are really affected.

  2. I’m sorry, as I stumbled upon this article and its subsequent response just now. As a member of Greek life at New Paltz, I’d like to dispel the rumors that you perceive to be truth. First off, if you or anybody you know of has been a victim of hazing, rape or anything of the sort, Greek life IMPLORES that you contact UPD and Student Development. That’s the first step.

    Secondly, at New Paltz, Greek organizations follow strict regulations not only from their respective national organizations, but the school itself. Every recognized organization must have their pledge schedule approved by the school before it can be carried out. If you want to know the consequences of hazing, go ask Pi Phi Delta, formerly Delta Phi Epsilon.

    Addressing the accusations of sexual assault and rape culture, You, Cait, of all people, know that the vast majority of Greek organizations on this campus do not tolerate sexual assault. I have told you extensively about my fraternity and our national organization revoking the membership of a brother charged with sexual assault. We don’t tolerate any of that. While yes, there are people like that, they also exist in many other organizations. Stereotypes are not fair and should not be applied to a group of people you deem undesirable.

    Lastly, regarding the programs which you deem to be “stupid,” Greek life raises more money for philanthropy than any other organization on campus, which actually do go toward various charities, local, national and international. A list can be found here: http://www.newpaltz.edu/saus/greeklife_orgs.html. While some programs are campy and honestly, a little silly, they still go toward a great cause. Lighten up a bit.

    So, in all, please do some research on your topic rather than rage on something you obviously don’t know about. And tell Micaela I said hi.

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