Sorority girls are a pretty easy target. I mean, what's easier to make fun of than drunk, mostly white 20-somethings? But the women over at Tufts' Alpha Omicron Pi are bucking stereotypes and fighting their parent organization following a dispute over admitting a transgender student to the sorority. In fact, the chapter's president and more than half of the women have quit the group entirely following a heated debate.
According to The Tufts Daily, the AOII international organization objected to the school's local chapter extending a bid to a transgender student.
“They said that they didn’t want us to extend her a bid, basically,” said Kristen Reeves, the former president of the Tufts group. “They were like, ‘well, we’re not saying you never could, we’re just saying right now you can’t.’ I was really mad about this, as was the rest of the chapter, so we unanimously decided to give her a bid anyway.”
“A representative of the National Panhellenic Conference told me that in doing that, that was a risk to their Title IX status as a single-sex organization, and so by extending a bid to a transgender woman, that could potentially bring on the possibility of lawsuits, and I was like, ‘Okay, well, I’m calling bulls— on that,'” Reeves continued.
Following a call with higher-ups at the organization, Reeves and over 40 other students decided to leave the sorority entirely as an act of protest. The international headquarters of AOII eventually changed their tune, but it was too late for many of the girls who had exited.
“But then what happened was because of all these conversations about — are they really not gonna allow us to accept a transgender woman—then this like kind of veiled threat of would we get our charter pulled? What’s going on there? It kind of started a conversation about ‘do our values align with AOII international,” Reeves said. “I left because I’m not participating in a system like that,” she said. “I refuse to take part in it, and by staying, for me, it would be allowing it to happen.”
The trans student has since been admitted, but the conversation forced members to question the sorority's morals and ethics.
“I can no longer be a part of an organization that rejects — or even hesitates to welcome — inclusivity and diversity,” wrote one student in a letter. “In my opinion, it is absolutely despicable that Alpha Omicron Pi would even consider the possibility of excluding an individual based on gender identity.”