In Australia, American college sororities tend to only make headlines when they've done something out of the ordinary, and even then, it's rarely for something positive.
Well, today we have a story about a sorority that's... actually pretty wonderful?
Nearly half of the Delta chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi at Tufts University has bailed on their sorority after being told not to admit a transgender pledge.
Although the pledge was eventually allowed into the group, the members who quit said that the damage is already done and that this too little, too late.
Basically, when the national organisation of the Alpha Omicron Pi found out that the girls at Tufts were going to admit the transgender pledge, they tried to stop them from extending the offer.
“They were like, ‘well, we’re not saying you never could, we’re just saying right now you can’t'," said Kristen Reeves, the now-former President of the Delta chapter. "I was really mad about this, as was the rest of the chapter, so we unanimously decided to give her a bid anyway.”
After being told by the national organisation that this could open up the chapter to legal problems concerning their exemption from Title IX, a federal law that restricts single-sex educational organisations, Reeves said that many of the girls began to question whether the sorority's values were aligned with their own.
“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?” she said.
Following this discussion, Reeves - and 46 other AOP sisters - quit the sorority.
Reeves, quoted in the Tufts Daily, said that she left because she has no interest in “participating in a system like that".
“I refuse to take part in it, and by staying, for me, it would be allowing it to happen," she said.
Tai Williams, another ex-member who walked, echoed her sentiments, saying: “I can no longer be a part of an organisation that rejects — or even hesitates to welcome — inclusivity and diversity," adding: “In my opinion, it is absolutely despicable that Alpha Omicron Pi would even consider the possibility of excluding an individual based on gender identity.”
The national organisation - based in Tennessee - eventually decided that it would admit the trans student and anyone who identified as female.
Although the trans student chose to remain anonymous, she extended a warm thank you to the sorority girls who had her back, writing: “we are friends, we are allies, we are sisters,” in an op-ed for the Tufts student newspaper.