Former DePauw DZ President Carolyn Thatcher Interviewed by Newsweek
March 1, 2007
March 1, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "With membership declining, and the sorority acquiring a campus rep for being more brainy than beautiful, the national officers of Delta Zeta embarked on a fall recruiting effort for their DePauw University chapter in Greencastle, Ind.," notes Newsweek.com. "But instead of adding members, they wound up effectively asking 23 of the existing 35 members to leave. Outraged sorority sisters at the liberal arts school said those dumped were the women considered overweight or unattractive," writes Hilary Shenfeld.
The piece features a Q&A with Carolyn Thatcher, who was the president of the DZ chapter at DePauw before national representatives determined that she had to leave the house. Thatcher tells Newsweek that, when the so-called "membership review" began, an official of DZ national "asked me what our image was on campus, if I could put a brand on our house, what would it be. I told her I didn't feel like I could put a stereotype on our house other than other people would say we're the bottom of the pecking order. Our chapter adviser said we should probably put our best foot forward, appearancewise. I wore brown slacks and a cream-colored sweater. It wasn't anything particularly trendy." (photo at right: Callie Lipkin/Newsweek)
Thatcher tells of the process by which women were removed from the sorority and of the emotional scars that process left. When asked about the response of DePauw administrators, she says, "I'm pleased with what the university has done thus far and that they've taken a stance to prevent this from happening in the future. I think it's going to start the conversation for improving our Greek system here."
She and her former sorority sisters have endured a barrage of media coverage this week, including appearances on CNN and ABC, and a lengthy story that was published in Sunday's New York Times. Thatcher says the attention has been difficult to deal with at times, adding, "In a way I think it's good. We can now begin to talk about our culture and our image, and what kind of image we are selling to our women and men about beauty and integrity."
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