Two Panhellenic groups at Duke have been unsuccessful in their decisions to decharter, according to statements made publicly or to The Chronicle.
Duke’s chapters of Zeta Tau Alpha women’s fraternity and Alpha Delta Pi sorority —both of which are affiliated with the Duke University Panhellenic Association—recently moved to relinquish their charters, but the national councils of both organizations rejected the appeals, according to Zeta’s former president and a statement on ADPi’s Instagram page.
Zeta’s national council and the ADPi Grand Council—the organization’s national board of directors—did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
Duke’s Phi chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha voted to disband in a 69-16 vote with two members absent, wrote senior Béa Rose, former chapter president, in a statement to The Chronicle. In a Sept. 4 message to The Chronicle, she wrote that the national council did not accept the vote to disband.
Rose wrote in the statement that although talks within the chapter were initially centered on reform, the discussion soon shifted to completely disbanding.
“The issue is that changing a system as large and pervasive as Greek Life is extremely difficult in practice and our chapter ultimately felt that even if we were able to make a lot of these changes, they aren’t meaningful enough and the system will continue to cause harm,” Rose wrote.
She added that ultimately chapter members understood that they didn’t need the label of being in a sorority to remain friends and that “de-chartering could have a huge impact on the movement at Duke.”
Rose wrote in a message that many of the women who remained in the sorority intended to leave after the national organization’s decision.
A post on ADPi’s Instagram states that the Omicron chapter of the sorority opted Aug. 8 in a 62-19 vote to relinquish their charter at Duke, but that the Grand Council declined their request Sept. 1. That decision means that the chapter must remain at Duke, according to the post.
“Students at Duke and campuses across the country are critically evaluating the role of Greek life in propagating systems of oppression,” the post states. “We are proud of our members for raising this discussion in our chapter and creating a space to engage in thoughtful dialogue.”
The post also includes a pledge to support ADPi members “as they reevaluate their membership status.”
Senior Kieryn Ota, former president of Duke’s ADPi chapter, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
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Both chapters’ votes to relinquish their charters came amid a growing discussion surrounding the role of Greek life on campus, which began this summer with a movement to abolish the organizations affiliated with Duke’s Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association. The movement has advocated for abolition through an Instagram page, an open letter and an online petition.
All campus sororities are now internally evaluating their next steps, wrote senior Kate Chen, president of Duke’s Panhellenic Association, in an email. As sororities internally reevaluate their futures, the Panhellenic Association has announced a number of policy changes for the upcoming year in an effort to be safer and more inclusive.
“We’ve set up three reform task forces: Risk & Sexual Assault, Recruitment, and Hate & Bias,” Chen wrote. “All of our reform task forces, in addition to other initiatives our Exec board is working on, are working diligently to make changes to our bylaws to hold our chapters accountable for their actions.”
Key changes including an indefinite suspension on “mixers” between sororities and all-male groups on campus, promoting a “Reporting is Supporting” program with the Office for Student Conduct and requiring Title IX training for all risk chairs.