Sororities aren’t for everyone. Greek Life, in general, isn’t for everyone. The requirements to join a sorority and fraternity is very gendered, which is a problem if you don’t identify within the binary. Harvard University’s Kappa Alpha Theta sorority is changing its rules to be more inclusive.
The Harvard Crimson reports that Kappa Alpha Theta is going gender-neutral. To become gender-neutral the sorority is changing its name to Theta Zeta Xi and will disaffiliate from the national organization come fall 2018.
The former female only sorority made this decision “in good faith with Harvard’s social organization and nondiscrimination policies.”
According to Teen Vogue, the new policy was voted on and the decision was unanimous. “The unanimous decision to transition our group is the culmination of many thoughtful conversations,” Rena Simkowitz, CEO of Theta Zeta Xi, wrote in an email to The Crimson. “It was not an easy decision to make; however, we are excited and optimistic about the future of our organization.”
In December 2017 the Harvard Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, voted to make all groups co-ed and penalize groups that continued to be single-gender base. The Crimson reported that members of single-gender groups would be barred from “campus leadership positions, serving as captains on varsity athletic teams, or receiving Colege endorsement for prestigious post-graduate fellowships.”
After the initial decision was made to penalize single-gender organizations Theta, along with Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma, opposed the sanctions.
The three sororities released a joint statement saying that they will continue to have a female only requirement in spring of 2018. The statement titled, “We Believe Women Should Make Their Own Choices,” denounced Harvard’s new sanctions. The said the sanctions made women “choose between the opportunity to have supportive, empowering women-only spaces and external leadership opportunities.”
But now Kappa Alpha Theta has had a change of heart and is going gender neutral. Harvard’s student organizations are slowly adjusting to being gender neutral with three “levels.” Groups can register as being “Interim Recognition,” “Full Recognition” and “Full Recognition with Distinction.”
Theta Zeta Xi is going to enter the school year as “Interim Recognition” and work it’s way up to “Full Recognition.”