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Sororities Support Harvard Chapters’ Defiance of Sanctions

A Recurring Fight
Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority member Elly Duker '19 marched with her mother, Julie Starr-Duker '82, at the #HearHerHarvard protest in May 2016, shortly after sanctions against unrecognized single-gender social organizations were announced.

Members and alumni of sororities across the nation took to social media Tuesday to offer support for Harvard sororities’ planned defiance of the College’s penalties on members of single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations.

The sanctions—which took effect with the Class of 2021—bar members of single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations from holding student group leadership positions, varsity athletic team captaincies, and from receiving College endorsement for prestigious fellowships. Harvard’s chapters of Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma, and Kappa Alpha Theta announced in December they planned to defy Harvard’s penalties and instead continue with their standard female-only recruitment practices for members of the Class of 2021.

In a Facebook post Monday, the national Delta Gamma fraternity page asked its members to support sororities at Harvard by “wearing your anchor badge or letters” and “flooding the hashtag #HearHerHarvard with memories of the most influential moments of your DG story.” The National Panhellenic Conference, the umbrella organization for United States sororities, shared Delta Gamma’s post. The national Alpha Phi and Kappa Alpha Theta pages made similar posts.

“While Harvard’s sanctions claim to support women’s right to make their own decisions, these sanctions actually force women to choose between the opportunity to have supportive, empowering women-only spaces and external leadership opportunities,” Delta Gamma wrote in another post Tuesday.

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Students and sorority and fraternity affiliates first popularized the hashtag #HearHerHarvard after University President Drew G. Faust debuted the sanctions in May 2016. The phrase recalls “Hear her, Harvard,” a slogan protesters chanted during a rally held in Harvard Yard a few days after Faust’s announcement.

“#WithoutMySorority we wouldn’t have our future bridesmaids or friends that will last a lifetime. #HearHerHarvard,” the chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at California State University, Fresno wrote on its Facebook page.

Other sororities without chapters at Harvard also expressed their support.

“Today, we stand with the women of Harvard that are being stripped of leadership opportunities, scholarships, and fellowships for being a part of a Greek organization. #HearHerHarvard,” the Wright State University chapter of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority wrote on its Facebook page.

Several members and alumni of various sororities also made individual Facebook and Twitter posts with the hashtag #HearHerHarvard. Many also posted supportive messages or pictures of themselves wearing their sorority letters.

Representatives from the National Panhellenic Conference did not respond to requests for comment.

Of the four sororities that recruited at the College last year, only one has opted out of recruitment this year. Earlier this month, the former Harvard chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma adopted gender-neutral membership practices and rebranded itself the Fleur-de-Lis.

In an interview in December, Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana said the College would finalize an enforcement plan for the social group penalties by the start of this semester.

—Staff writer Michael E. Xie can be reached at michael.xie@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelEXie1

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