I don’t often slam people or things, but today I’m going to. Sororities suck.
I’ve never been in one and have never understood it, but now I know for sure that they suck. I never went to a school that had sororities, but I did spend one year on exchange at Washington and Lee University (the first year they took women) and got a taste of fraternity life. Partying there for two years (both freshman year when I went to a neighboring womens’ school and sophomore year while there on exchange), fraternities seemed like nothing other than a way to separate boys into houses. There were southern boys from Texas in one fraternity. Hippies in another. I hung out at the house with the surfer type beach dudes. It was all about partying and fun.
My oldest daughter wanted to rush a sorority last year when she started college here in Texas. I told her I’d support her in it even though I didn’t understand it and it was an extra expense for us. During orientation, we attended a session introducing the Greek system and telling the girls what to expect when they started rushing. When it was question and answer time, I was the mom who raised her hand to ask exactly what are they looking for when they accept new members. Honestly, I was trying to understand. The answer I got was totally strange, something like, “Well if we absolutely can’t stand to talk to the girl, she won’t be accepted.” Nothing concrete. No real information like they are looking for girls with academic strengths or a strong volunteer record or even possessing specific talents. I left the meeting with a sick feeling in my stomach and told my daughter it sounded like nothing more than a popularity contest. I didn’t understand why she wanted to join a sorority, but she did, so we supported her. She rushed and was accepted into ZTA (Zeta Tau Alpha).
At first I thought it was a good thing. She was busy with all the structured activities, and they participated in philanthropic activities. She had an immediate identity and group friends. All sororities have a color and a theme, and her world was filled with teal and silver, crowns and strawberries. Why? I have no idea. But whatever, it made her happy so there you go. It made me happy that she was happy. We paid all the extra fees and bought her all of the things they told her to buy including specific color dresses, shoes and clothes to wear to special events. We paid over a hundred dollars so she could make a paddle for her ‘big’ sister (what the heck do they do with a hundred-dollar paddle?). She had to decorate coolers for her dates for parties. She was happy though, so we went with it and just paid for everything. We liked that they had a minimum grade point average and study halls built into their codes. While her grades weren’t stellar, she was keeping up with everything and proud that she was a ZTA. Last year, her freshman year, I was working full-time and had my fifth knee surgery, so I was never able to visit her for family weekend or ZTA mom’s weekend.
This year, I did fly out for mom’s weekend. The sorority house was impressive, and I was happy to participate in the activities. I wrote about it here. I had no idea what was about to happen next.
Then, she told me the lady in charge didn’t like her and she wasn’t allowed to rush any of the incoming freshman in the fall. It was troubling to hear about personal politics, but I’m aware that kind of thing goes on all the time unfortunately. I suggested she talk with the lady, find out what her concerns are, and then do whatever she could to fix the problem. Not being there on a day-to-day basis, I had no idea why my daughter wasn’t liked and wasn’t allowed to participate in rushing (even though she went to school early for rush and I still bought her everything she needed to participate in rush). Her grades this year weren’t stellar, but they were still above the minimum GPA.
Then the hammer dropped. She got financially expelled. Why? Because we had fraud on our debit card, and the bank shut it down and gave me a new one. It was the same debit card that we used to pay for her sorority’s account. They automatically withdrew money all the time to pay for dues and this and that. Apparently, my daughter had it set up so it emailed just her, not us, in the case of any problems. So, I never realized they needed a new card number or I would have gladly supplied them with the new one. She didn’t check her emails regularly and after two months of non-payment, they expelled her. Keep in mind this happened about two weeks after I was out there for mom’s weekend. When I talked to the lady in charge, she said that we shouldn’t have been allowed to participate in mom’s weekend. But we were. They allowed her to pick up her T-shirts, and we fully participated in all the events. Nobody told us there was a financial problem. I thought everything was fine.
She was very upset when she found out she got financially expelled, and I called the lady in charge and she said if we paid the bill, my daughter could reapply. So we did. We paid the bills immediately, and she went through the steps of reapplying to the national organization. We waited and waited, and then nationals wrote her back and told her that they denied her application because there was no support in the local chapter for her to be reinstated. I called the national office and spoke with the financial person, and she told me everything was fine on the national level. We paid her bill, and she was cleared through the national office. However, the local chapter voted not to reinstate her, but she didn’t know why. So, my husband called the lady in charge of the local chapter (the same lady I spoke to earlier), and she told him she had no idea what was going on. She told him there was no local vote and that she knew of no reason why my daughter would be rejected on a local level. She said she would look into it, talk to my daughter, and try to work things out to help her get back in.
She lied. Instead of doing what she said, she called my daughter down to the house and sat her down outlining reasons why they didn’t let her back in. Her grades weren’t very good (true but still above the minimum and never any disciplinary action taken), that her social media was a problem (again, never any disciplinary action taken), that they sent her to judicial before (which they didn’t) and that she didn’t participate enough (again, she was not allowed to rush and the lady in charge forced her to sit out). As far as I can understand, each and every reason they gave her was bogus. If they wanted her out for those reasons, why did they never state that? Why was she expelled for financial reasons and then kept out for other reasons? I will tell you why. Politics. Mean people. That’s why.
I lost my teaching job the same way. Completely blindsided with bogus reasons. No disciplinary action. No former notice. No help. Just lies and personal dislike. And when people don’t like you and don’t want you around, it’s not worth fighting to stay. It’s an ugly beast that you can’t beat with logic and reason and truth. It’s a tough lesson to learn.
Life is so unfair that way sometimes, but unfortunately that’s just the way it is. It’s left a very bitter taste in our mouths, and it shows how sly and conniving people are. It’s sad to me that an adult woman would use personal politics against a college aged kid. It’s sad to me that she would be dishonest to both me and my husband when we tried to get information about what was going on and how to help. I’m calling her out on her lies and manipulation of the situation.
Shame on you lady! How can you sleep at night?
All I have to say is I was right. Sororities are stupid. They are nothing more than popularity contests and an organized way to party.
- ZTA Mom’s weekend (susannenelson.wordpress.com)