With deep sadness, we announce the closing of the Alpha Beta Chapter at Swarthmore College. The members of Grand Council have accepted the Alpha Beta Chapter charter, relinquished by a unanimous vote of the chapter members on October 27 and effective December 13, 2019.
The closing of the chapter is a direct result of an announcement by the administration of Swarthmore: that fraternity/sorority life no longer has relevance on Swarthmore’s campus. In her letter to the campus community announcing this decision, school president Valerie Smith stated, “Fraternities and sororities will no longer exist at the College…. Exclusive, dues-paying social organizations no longer effectively meet the needs of our residential liberal arts environment.” Although Alpha Beta was to be allowed to continue with its current members through the Spring 2022 semester, they would not be permitted to recruit. With only 22 members this fall and most of the group graduating this spring, the chapter viewed any path forward as too difficult, particularly for the four women who would remain in 2022.
In an article in the Summer 2019 issue (page 5) of the Theta magazine, we stressed that the school-wide edict banning Greek-letter organizations was in no way reflective of the behavior of members of the Alpha Beta Chapter. At that time, in fact, we hoped that college administrators might be persuaded of the value of Kappa Alpha Theta’s presence on the Swarthmore campus.