Citing a variety of personal reasons, numerous women have depledged their sororities this term, a trend that leaders of the Greek system say reflects growing unhappiness with the system.
Depledging “is an increasing phenomenon, which says something about sororities in general,” said Panhellenic Council president Rachel Perri ’94.
According to Delta Delta Delta sorority president Amy Palmer ’94, six women have already depledged this fall. In the past, only about six women would depledge over the course of a year, she said.
“Maybe the numbers are a little high, but people disagree with the rush process the most and that is why it happened in the fall,” Palmer said.
Megan Mitchell ’94, who recently depledged Tri-Delt, said she found the rush process insincere.
“I felt like a hypocrite because I was a women’s studies major singing the praises of women supporting one another and I was sickened by how we were rating and judging women based on a two-minute conversation,” Mitchell said.
Honor Sachs ’94 who resigned from Epsilon Kappa Theta, said the rush and pledge process attempts to formalize the process of making friends.
“I made friends through rush but they transcended the Greek system,” Sachs said. “I don’t like the idea of going through a process for being a friend. One thing that baffled me was how friendships were supposed to materialize out of thin air.”
But Nicky Schmidt ’94, the president of Sigma Delta sorority, said depledging is a positive step for some women. Sigma Delt does not release the number of women who depledge, she said.
“It means that women are more confident about doing what is not mainstream,” Schmidt said. “They know what they want in their life and they are taking control.”
Not all houses reported an increase in resignations this term. Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority President Gretchen Wagner ’94 said only two women have depledged so far this term, which she said is fewer than normal.
Women who depledged cited a variety of reasons for wanting to quit their sorority.
Jennifer Skoda ’94 said she decided that the best way to make a statement about the problems in the Greek system was to depledge her sorority, Tri-Delt.
“I don’t think the system is inherently bad, but there are some things wrong with it,” Skoda said. “I don’t have time to participate in the things that are positive about it, so it wasn’t worth it for me.”
Danielle Moore ’95 said she depledged Tri-Delt because the organization did not address the issues that were important to her as a Native American student.
“As a Native American, I felt a lack of understanding and acceptance of someone who is different,” she said. “My needs and concerns differ from those of other Dartmouth women.”
Many of the women who depledged this term found that the houses did not live up to the expectations they developed during rush.
“I expected more of a network of women supporting each other,” Mitchell said. “It turned into another organization where we have meetings, do paperwork and pay money.”
According to Moore, the lack of open parties at most sororities makes choosing a house difficult.
“Sororities are not in the forefront as much as fraternities because the nationals are not allowed to hold parties,” she said. “You know what kind of men go to Beta [Theta Pi fraternity] and what their interests are, but that is not true for sororities.”
Moore said she found much of the programming at her house to be shallow and redundant. “We concentrated on the same issues over and over again,” she said. “As a whole, issues of social conscience are not addressed. You don’t hear about lesbians, or issues of color.”
Sachs said the community service that her house performed lacked “sincerity.”
Sachs said her former house reflected the malaise of the whole Greek system. “It is a stagnant system,” she said. “There is no room to grow.”
Skoda said sororities should focus on more substantive issues.
“There is a lot more that could be done with an institution of so many women together, but they are all so different that things just don’t get done,” she said.