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'Straight-only' sorority proposal stirs up Smith College

7:08 PM, Sep 25, 2013   |    comments
College and Delta Gamma officials don't know who wrote the now-viral e-mail proposing an all-straight "sorority" at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., but they say it's certainly not happening. (Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc)
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Delta Gamma officials don't know who wrote the now-viral e-mail proposing an all-straight "sorority" at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., but they say it's certainly not happening.

In the e-mail - which was originally posted and later removed on Tumblr by another Smith student known as "aQuieterRioter" - the unidentified author invited her classmates to help her create an "exclusive" chapter of Delta Gamma for "straight girls" with planned activities such as "sorority mixers with Amherst men, weekly dinner dates, weekly photo shoots where we would dress up nice [and] baking nights."

The self-identifying heterosexual student wrote in the e-mail that she felt "marginalized" at the women's college of 2,600 and that the straight-only sorority could be a "really great way to socialize with people we identify more with at Smith."

The e-mail quickly went viral, making the rounds on Buzzfeed, Tumblr and Slate, among others.

Numerous Smith students took to Twitter to voice their feelings on the topic.

"As a straight smithie I have NEVER felt marginalized by the queer community," @jnims wrote Sept 17. "I can't fathom how you see it as a source of oppression. Being straight isn't a burden, not at smith, anywhere."

Public outcry was so strong that the Smith College student who leaked the e-mail removed the original post, apologizing for the subsequent "witchhunt" against the author.

Plans for the all-straight sorority was news to Delta Gamma's Mary Ellen Hardies, the national chapter's director of communication, who told USA TODAY Delta Gamma first heard about the Smith student's e-mail from a Google news alert.

"Our attorney has been in contact with the university trying to figure out what the heck is going on, who this girl is, to what extent things are happening" Hardies said of the unidentified student's e-mail. "That sort of approach does not fall in line with our values at all."

Hardies described the sorority as gay-friendly and against any type of discrimination.

Delta Gamma doesn't know who penned the e-mail invitation, Hardies said, but Smith College's Student Body President Augusta Gronquist assured her peers in a university-wide e-mail last week that no such sorority would come to existence.

No sororities currently exist at the women's college, and the "SGA (Student Government Association) practice has been to not charter exclusive organizations," Gronquist wrote.

"Incidents of this type go against our understanding of what it means to be a community," Gronquist wrote. "People in our community are hurting right now; many issues, a lot of which are unspoken or frequently ignored, have been raised and need our attention."


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