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

Smith

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.

Comments

  1. tim b says

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

  2. JMC says

    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

  3. JMC says

    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

  4. Rich says

    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.

  5. Lucca says

    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.

  6. Chrisme says

    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 there..like I said I think its probably satire

  7. Mary says

    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!

  8. Hagatha says

    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.

  9. Brad says

    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.

  10. Anne says

    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.

  11. Gee says

    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.

  12. daws says

    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.

  13. Bill says

    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.

  14. HYPOCRITES RUN FREE says

    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?

  15. Lamdba Lambda Lambda says

    “… mixers with Amherst men, weekly dinner dates, weekly photo shoots where we would dress up nice [and] baking nights.”

    Perhaps Amherst has a gay fraternity that will make her their mascot.

  16. Cal says

    I agree with the poster that said her starting a club for like minded PEOPLE would be fine, it’s the way she presents it as starting a whole new sorority chapter that’s the issue. Call it “The Girly Girl Club” and open it to anyone that likes baking, and boys, and pearls with dresses that have swirly skirts. That would be fun! At a regular college they may get some male members, but it’s still like-minded people.

    As for the poster that says if gay people wanted to do this no one would say a word. Yes, they would. Again, it’s about being with the like-minded. A lot of straight people would rather live/associate with a gay group than with their more narrow-minded straight peers. Of course, that’s becoming a problem in the gay bars, but…

  17. hot dumb italian mike says

    If she believes in creating this new sorrority, she should “man up” so to speak, and give her name. College is about meeting people different from yourself, and somtimes having sex with them.

  18. says

    Assuming it’s not a hoax, I find it rather jaw-dropping that anyone would go to an institution of higher learning, even one as exclusive as Smith, and want to associate only with people just like herself. I learned a lot more outside of classes than in them my first couple of years, through the very diverse group of people I met.

    My only response to this girl is grow up, get over yourself, and learn to deal with the world as it is. That’s why you’re in college.

  19. Jonty Coppersmith says

    I’m afraid I’m not as favorably inclined toward little miss straight girl as most of you. So what, she’s at an all girls school where there are lesbians? Straight girl is still in the majority. The fact that there are lesbians around her does not prevent her from doing the things she likes with the girls she likes. What this boils down to is someone who doesn’t want to be around gay folks. I’m glad that the response has been negative. Hopefully this student will learn a little something from the experience about tolerance, about getting along with others who are not carbon copies of herself.

  20. LizIndpls says

    The student’s idiocy aside, she couldn’t start a sorority at Smith. They don’t sanction them, never have.

  21. DW says

    I think this is a terrific idea. Segregate off the small-minded witches in their own little broom closet and leave mainstream social life to the more highly evolved.

  22. NYCer says

    I’m a gay guy who visited friends who went to Smith a few times. All I can say is the lesbians there are HARDCORE and sometimes scary. That being said, I don’t blame this girl. Let her have a straight frat. The other gals there are way intense.

  23. PS says

    Isn’t she essentially outing the whole campus if they would be against a straight sorority? People like to talk about dirty old men influencing gay males. Looks like these dykes have open season with these girls, and no one is watching.