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Unidentified Smith College Student Proposes Exclusive Sorority For Straight Women On Campus


Smith College, an all-female liberal arts insitution in Northampton, MA, has had quite a media blitz this week. An unidentified student sent an email to her peers proposing the creation of a chapter of Delta Gamma sororities catering to straight women only. Smith students and faculty, as well as other involved parties, were not pleased.  

USA Today reports:

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 response to the email was swift and addressed the issue of privilege in the situation:

"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.

DeltagammaThe proposal has got more than just Smith students on the defensive. Delta Gamma's reputation is at stake as well.

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."

Smith's Student Body President, Augusta Gronquist, emailed her own words of support to her peers.

"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."

The author of the original email remains unknown. Do you feel for her, or do you think the public outcry is warranted? Sound off in the comments.

Photo courtesy of PolicyMic.

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  1. How do they determine who is straight or not? Gotta blow 10 guys and your in?

    Posted by: Tonez | Sep 26, 2013 8:49:50 PM

  2. you're*

    Posted by: Tonez | Sep 26, 2013 8:50:04 PM

  3. Wasn't Delta Gamma the same sorority that gave us that spectacularly loony, potty-mouthed email-writer who went viral a while back?

    Posted by: tim b | Sep 26, 2013 8:57:40 PM

  4. oh my god Tim B that email was incredible lol "cxnt punt" is one of the best combinations of words ever has seen regular use in my social circle ever since that gem went viral

    Do you guys think this straight girl is even for real? Like I know there are plenty of people out there ridiculous enough to do this but the email honestly reads like satire and I could totally see this being the work of a troll

    Posted by: JMC | Sep 26, 2013 9:10:24 PM

  5. oh my god Tim B that email was incredible lol "cxnt punt" is one of the best combinations of words ever has seen regular use in my social circle ever since that gem went viral

    Do you guys think this straight girl is even for real? Like I know there are plenty of people out there ridiculous enough to do this but the email honestly reads like satire and I could totally see this being the work of a troll

    Posted by: JMC | Sep 26, 2013 9:10:29 PM

  6. It goes both ways. She should not be identified. Forget it.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Sep 26, 2013 9:12:43 PM

  7. Baking nights? Was this misfired satire?

    Posted by: jrex | Sep 26, 2013 9:17:32 PM

  8. I'll start the debate Joseph asked for by taking the devil's advocate position. Assuming this is real, I'm not so sure this would be so terrible. Again assuming that straight girls are in the minority at Smith, how would this be any different from any other minority sorority on a majority white or majority straight campus? Nobody would object to a gay sorority on a public university campus, or an African American sorority on a majority white campus. Granted in the outside world, straights are in the overwhelming majority, but the Smith world at issue is much smaller and arguably very different.

    Posted by: Rich | Sep 26, 2013 9:19:12 PM

  9. Reverse discrimination. Good luck taking on Lesbians.

    Posted by: TR | Sep 26, 2013 9:24:39 PM

  10. Why didn't Little Miss Anonymous go to a co-ed school in the first place? What was she thinking? If she wanted those types of activities, why an al women's college? Was she recently awoken from her cryogenic chamber where she has been since 1959? Good god, someone slap her with some Friedan and French; the hardcover versions.

    Posted by: Lucca | Sep 26, 2013 9:45:26 PM

  11. Sounds like satire but if its not then who cares if private individuals want to create their own group for their minority*?

    *if they are actually IN the minority I said I think its probably satire

    Posted by: Chrisme | Sep 26, 2013 9:57:03 PM

  12. Interesting mix of opinions here from Towleroaders. It had not even occurred to me that this e-mailer from Smith may turn out to be a troll. But assuming she is real I'm not sure why there is a problem unless her desire for a "straight-girls only" club is motivated by homophobia. And yes, there is a question of why she would go to a school like Smith in the first place if she wants to meet men. But then in the hetero world we often have a conflict between wanting a group to be open to both genders for the sake of inclusiveness and wanting the members of the group to be able to be free of the sexual pressure and implicit potential for romantic encounters that occurs when a group IS composed of both genders. Now that homosexuality is increasingly accepted in society, we need to accept that fact that there will be awkwardness in working out the comfort levels that gays and straights have for each other (not wording this well, but doing my best.)

    My point is that a straight girls club may nt be motivated by homophobia. And no, for the record, I would be interested in starting such a club if I were college age today. I'd be too afraid of seeming anti-gay. A year and a half on Towleroad can make even a rabid socon more liberal!

    Posted by: Mary | Sep 26, 2013 10:12:23 PM

  13. typo. Should have read "I would NOT be interested in starting such a club..."

    Posted by: Mary | Sep 26, 2013 10:14:43 PM

  14. Is it possible that this was someone's idea of a joke and the irony-challenged PC crowd is overreacting?

    Posted by: Houndentenor | Sep 26, 2013 10:35:07 PM

  15. Whether it is real or not, people have the right to Freedom Of Association. The point of challenging certain exclusive clubs isn't that they are exclusive or exercising their Freedom Of Association, it's usually when membership in that club is the only or a major gateway to some sort of other access or if that club is enjoying special consideration.

    The issue with country clubs was that business is done there amongst the players on the golf course. Excluding blacks or females would have the ancillary effect of discriminating in business. Even that would be OK if these places weren't enjoying tax exempt status. That's why Burning Tree or Congressional country club decided to go completely private, and lose their tax exempt status. They could afford to pay the taxes and they do, so the government has nothing to say about their membership or guest policies which exclude women from membership and the golf course.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Sep 26, 2013 11:28:49 PM

  16. I think people are missing the point. She should be able to start her own club of like minded people if she wants. That's the point of clubs. But that's not what she's doing. She's trying to start a new chapter of a national sorority and violate its rules. It's not her own straight group. It's somebody else's group she's trying to bogart and change the rules.

    Posted by: Brad | Sep 26, 2013 11:45:30 PM

  17. I think it is sad that the straight girl who was supposedly defending lesbians refers to them as "queer". Gays and lesbians are not queer. This crusade that started 20 years ago to label them as such as some sort of progressive act is harmful. It is past its due date and and needs to end.

    Posted by: Anne | Sep 26, 2013 11:53:15 PM

  18. Trying to start a non-lesbian sorority on an all-woman campus? That's like starting a whites-only frat at Morehouse College or Tuskegee University.

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Sep 27, 2013 12:13:14 AM

  19. Women have a fake sexuality. Why are we even equating it to a man's? Stop the pro-female PC.

    Posted by: brian p | Sep 27, 2013 12:36:16 AM

  20. My niece just started there. I'm sure she'll get a great education.
    Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Barbara Bush and Sylvia Plath are among many noted alumni. The Smith experience stays with graduates for life. I know a few.

    Posted by: Gee | Sep 27, 2013 12:37:19 AM

  21. If the student quickly took the email down, and she hasn't made a peep since, they should leave it be. If this has opened up dialogue at the college then great, maybe there are unspoken tensions and whatnot, but I don't see any reason to track the student down.

    It seems like they'd just make an example out of her which feels harsh.

    Posted by: daws | Sep 27, 2013 12:41:03 AM

  22. Hey, she's a college student. She's supposed to learn to be able to think for herself, and you can't do that without making mistakes. Colleges should be safe places to make mistakes without the mistakes following you for the rest of your life.

    If the rule is that you can never make a mistake, then you will never learn anything.

    Posted by: Bill | Sep 27, 2013 12:56:57 AM

  23. It's what heterosexuals always want to do, make things heterosexual-only.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Sep 27, 2013 1:30:08 AM

  24. This did not warrant a story on Towleroad.

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Sep 27, 2013 1:39:43 AM

  25. If this were a GAY student, no one would say anything. But because she's straight and simply asking to have a connection with other straight females this is supposed to be bad? And for those who say "heterosexuals only", well aren't there "gay only" places as well?

    Posted by: HYPOCRITES RUN FREE | Sep 27, 2013 2:06:27 AM

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