Changing the sorority rules and bylaws

The chapter management denied using personal biases.

Sororities promise lifelong sisterhood, friendship and networking opportunities for their members. And, like any organization, they have rules so that things run smoothly. Lately I have noticed that some of these rules have crossed the line from something to keep order to something that is rather unethical. I have been a member of a sorority on campus for a year now and, overall, I enjoy being a part of it. I have made wonderful friends and don’t regret joining a sorority. But lately I have felt some of these rules we have might cross some ethical boundaries. The rules and bylaws my chapter follows are supposed to be enforced fairly, but this is not always the case.

Every Monday we have a formal dinner that we are asked to dress up for, and then we have a meeting. One Monday, I had to work late at the clothing store I used to work at. Because I do not live in the sorority house, I did not have time to go home and change because I did not want to be late and be fined. I showed up in jeans and explained my tardiness but I was still made to eat in the kitchen and come in last during meeting.

Since that occurrence, two girls have come to dinner and meeting on time with no excuse, in jeans. One even lived in the house, so going upstairs to change would have been easy. They faced no consequences and it made me wonder why. The two girls are friends with the decision-makers in our house and they were not held to the same rules because they had that relationship. A while ago we held a fundraiser that we had to attend. I had to leave 15 minutes early and I was fined as if I had never been there at all. Other members at the event were obviously intoxicated, and the people who make the decisions on fines could see that.

These girls walked away without a fine or any punishment for these actions. I would think that being drunk at a fundraiser would be something that should cause a fine, not my leaving early. The management team claimed they did not see the drunk girls, although they were abundant and obvious to see, and they did nothing about this. Is it really OK to pick and choose who the rules apply to? Even if they are their friends, it should not make their actions excusable.

The only thing that changed the rules in these situations was just who was friends with whom. In my opinion, it is not very ethical or appropriate to use personal feelings about people when enforcing the rules to which we all are supposed to be held accountable.

This was not a sole occurrence, either, as other girls I know also have been fined for things that a girl who was friends with a member of the management team would not have been fined for. During Easter break I went to visit my mom at my cabin and stayed until Monday night and missed a dinner and meeting that was required. I was not excused to visit my family because I had missed other meetings and I was told this wasn’t a thing that they usually excused.

However, the only other times I had missed a meeting was when I was hospitalized, and that shouldn’t have been held against me. I just accepted that I was not excused and going to be fined until I found out that another girl that holds a position in the house and is friends with our management team got excused to see her sister’s dance recital. If a personal bias on approving absences wasn’t there, I don’t know what was. The chapter management denied using personal biases and opinions, but I almost beg to differ after witnessing these events. Sororities are a good thing. They encourage community service, networking, meeting new people and give people a way to get involved on campus, as well as the community. But the corruption and unethical practices need to be fixed so that sororities can be more focused on the sisterhood that holds them together.

Barbara Garrity is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]