Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Final Word from DZ on DePauw Situation

Statement from National President -
February 26, 2007

I am sure by now that you have read the unfortunate New York Times article which involves our sisters at DePauw University. The article is inaccurate and grossly mischaracterizes the situation.

It is important that all Delta Zeta women understand what has happened and the steps that the National Organization is taking to bring all parties to the table to find resolution and to support these women moving forward.

It is in this vein that I ask you, as a leader, to commit to supporting our DePauw members and Delta Zeta. Your commitment and leadership is an important part of our healing process.

After years of struggling to recruit, Delta Zeta DePauw members voted in August to close the chapter at the end of the 2006-2007 school year. The women's majority vote meant that they could live in the house and be relieved of active membership duties, including the intense work of recruiting on a daily basis. The intent was for Delta Zeta to close and reorganize to return at a later date.

On September 12th the request for reorganization was denied by the University. The University indicated that Delta Zeta, which has been on the DePauw campus for 98 years, would not be guaranteed a return. University officials asked Delta Zeta to undertake a membership review.

Delta Zeta members, who could support the national plan to actively recruit, were asked to remain active. Other members, who no longer wanted to engage in day-to-day recruiting, became alumnae members of the Sorority.

The sole basis of the decision and the membership review was the women's commitment to actively recruit.

It is here in communicating the results that we made a mistake. We misjudged how these communications would be received. Delta Zeta deeply regrets that. On December 2, we informed each woman by mail whether she would be relieved of responsibilities to recruit and become an alumna member or remain on active collegiate status. As you know, active status at a struggling chapter requires daily recruiting. In hindsight, Delta Zeta national leadership should have once again returned to campus and communicated the results in person with each woman.

Finally, we are offended at suggestions that decisions made at DePauw were related in any way to our members' races and nationalities. We are proud of the diversity of our members and alumnae nationwide, which reflect the mandate in our Constitution that members will be selected solely on their merits and without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin or handicap. On each of our campuses, our faces reflect those of the communities of which we are a part, and it is irresponsible to suggest otherwise. Without its diverse population, Delta Zeta could not thrive as it does on college campuses today.

Article III, Section 3 of the Delta Zeta Constitution reads: "All members of Delta Zeta shall be chosen for moral, social and intellectual worth. Membership shall not be denied because of race, color, religion, national origin or handicap."

It is here that I call upon you to commit to supporting these women and Delta Zeta on your campus. Please take steps at your campus and among your personal and online communities to spread the word about Delta Zeta, our good works, and our support for DePauw chapter sisters and our National Organization.

Shortly, I will be contacting many of you to develop specific actions that can be taken. Please do not hesitate to contact me at leadership@dzshq.com with your suggestions, questions and concerns.

In Delta Zeta,
Debbie Raziano
National President