A Path We Would Not Have Chosen

Category: Fraternity

Mandy Burgett Wushinske

Zeta Sigma, Ohio Northern

With deep sadness, we announce that Grand Council has accepted the charter of the Zeta Xi Chapter at Harvard, relinquished by a unanimous vote of chapter members on July 15. The disestablishment of Zeta Xi is a direct result of sanctions placed by Harvard administrators on single-gender Greek organizations, sanctions that render sorority members ineligible for scholarships and fellowships and bar them from serving in other campus leadership positions.

This was a difficult decision by our Zeta Xi sisters, who continue to believe in the value of the single-gender experience and in our ideals of leadership, personal growth, and highest scholarship. By forcing women to make an impossible choice—between holding leadership positions and applying for scholarships and fellowships or being members of communities specifically designed to support and empower college women to have those aspirations—Harvard’s administrators placed our chapter in an untenable situation.

Kappa Alpha Theta, along with our colleagues in the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO), and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA), made every effort to persuade Harvard’s leadership to reconsider this policy. We were proud to work with and support our passionate and committed Zeta Xi sisters as they advocated for their freedom to choose their associations. Unfortunately, Harvard’s sanctions have made it impossible for Zeta Xi to continue operations as an active Theta chapter. While closing the chapter is not a path we would have chosen, we support Zeta Xi members’ right to access academic and leadership opportunities available to Harvard students.

This autumn, the current members of the Zeta Xi Chapter will form Theta Zeta Xi, an organization of Harvard students and alumnae that is independent of the Fraternity but maintains a connection to Kappa Alpha Theta’s rich history and values. Our heartfelt good wishes are with them as they continue their undergraduate experience.