It seems the War on Women has bled over to a college campus War on Sororities.
Alexandra Tilsley of Inside Higher Ed discusses the challenges of four students attempting to reinstate the sorority system at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania:
Most of that resistance, however, has not come from administrators or the Board of Managers; it has come from students.
Sororities have been absent from Swarthmore’s social scene since 1933, when students voted to ban sororities because they were found to discriminate based on race and religion. But last fall, four students decided there was a gap in Swarthmore’s offerings for women. The solution, they decided, was to bring back sororities.
“I never thought of myself as someone who wanted to join a sorority,” said Julia Melin, a senior majoring in comparative religion and gender studies. “But when I saw that men on campus had an option to join two frats and they had this immediate friend group to connect with and do community service with and even help out in terms of searching for jobs I realized women at Swarthmore were at a disadvantage.”
The four students formed a group called Not Yet Sisters (NYS) and decided that coordinating with a national sorority was the best match. These women then approached the Swarthmore administration to begin the process of establishing such a group. Since the original vote to ban sororities had been purely a student decision, the Swarthmore administration indicated that the reinstatement of sororities should be, too.
Then, the war really began:
So, the students moved ahead with the planning process and in late January held open interest meetings to find potential members and to address any student concerns.
Not long after these interest meetings began, the Swarthmore Student Council discussed holding a referendum on the issue of creating a sorority. The referendum, however, was voted down…
The reasons cited by students against the soroity include that it would be “exclusionary”. But there is at least one solid, legal reason to open it:
Though sororities have been absent from Swarthmore’s campus for 80 years, there are two fraternities available for Swarthmore men, which means barring sororities would violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Though there has been no referendum and the debate among students continues, the four organizers are currently planning to admit new members to their chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta this spring.
Reinstatement of sororities at Swarthmore College sparks controversy (Inside Higher Ed | News)