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Delta Zeta sorority gets the boot at DPU

Monday, March 12, 2007

Delta Zeta sorority house is located at 201 E. Seminary St.
In the wake of a national media storm that surrounded DePauw University's Delta Zeta sorority in recent weeks, the organization has been ousted from the university, effective at the end of the academic year.

DePauw President Robert Bottoms announced the action on Monday in an e-mail sent to faculty and students.

"Today I communicated with Delta Zeta national president Deborah Raziano and severed the university's relationship with the sorority," Bottoms wrote. "For the good of the university, this was our most appropriate response."

In the letter to Raziano, dated March 9, Bottoms expressed what he called a growing dissatisfaction with the national sorority and its handling of a recent reorganization which led to the eviction of more than 20 female students from the Delta Zeta house last semester.

Bottoms said he came to his decision after extensive conversations with local members of the sorority, DePauw faculty and officials from Delta Zeta's national headquarters.

"What has become increasingly clear from these discussions is that we at DePauw believe that the values of our university and those of the national Delta Zeta sorority are incompatible," Bottoms wrote to Raziano. "It is my decision to sever ties immediately with your organization. Beginning in the fall of 2007, Delta Zeta will not be recognized by the university."

Also in the letter to Raziano, Bottoms offered strong criticism of the national sorority for information posted on its website concerning the situation.

"Your website has also been critical of our faculty for their willingness to openly discuss the way the membership review took place within the Delta Zeta chapter," Bottoms wrote. "In summary, we at DePauw do not like the way our students were treated. We also disagree with your portrayal of the university in the media."

DePauw and the sorority were propelled into the national spotlight when a story about the sorority appeared in an issue of the New York Times. Later, several ousted members of the sorority gave interviews on TV news shows such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN's Paula Zahn, Inside Edition and The View.

In Bottoms' letter to DePauw alumni, he said the Delta Zeta controversy emerged at the same time the university was trying to "improve the Greek system at DePauw."

According to the letter: "As an outgrowth of the Greek Fact-Finding Commission, (the) trustees, students, house corporation officers, chapter advisers, faculty, alumni and parents are working together to improve the physical structures and health and safety standards of the Greek houses, to examine new member recruitment and new member education, to refine the judicial system at DePauw, to expand the staff support and other resources for fraternities and sororities and to curb high-risk drinking."

Bottoms concluded by stating that his desire for the restructuring is to have a "very public position that there is a new Greek tradition evolving at DePauw -- one that builds on our system's strengths within our learning community and one that might become a national model for other colleges and universities around the country."

According to the DePauw website, the university has six historically Black Greek-letter organizations, one Latina sorority, 11 fraternities and seven sororities, including the Delta chapter of Delta Zeta sorority.

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