Former members of Harvard’s shuttered chapter of sorority Delta Gamma have formed a new co-ed social group called Kali Praxi — KP for short — “in response” to Harvard’s social group policy, KP members announced in a press release Monday.
KP affiliate Basia Rosenbaum ’18 wrote in an email that the new group is “distinct” from the old sorority chapter. She said many — but not all — of KP’s current members are former members of DG, and that the organization has already drawn interest from people not previously involved with DG.
“While the two groups may be similar in mission and some of the KP’s initial membership, the KP will seek to have a diverse membership of people from all backgrounds, regardless of gender or previous affiliation with Delta Gamma,” she wrote. “[DG] looks forward to expanding its membership in the fall.”
The group chose the name “Kali Praxi” because it means “good deed” in Greek, Rosenbaum wrote.
When Harvard’s chapter of DG announced it was closing its doors last week, it became the first single-gender group to shut down in response to the College’s social group policy. The sanctions, which took effect for the Class of 2021, bars members of single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations from campus leadership positions, varsity athletic team captaincies, and from receiving College endorsement for prestigious fellowships.
DG’s closure drew widespread media attention as an example of the most severe consequences of Harvard’s controversial social policy to date. But the formation of KP brings DG more in line with other campus sororities, two of whom — Kappa Alpha Theta and Kappa Kappa Gamma — recently disaffiliated from their national chapters to form independent, co-ed groups.
Still, the move marks a tectonic shift from Delta Gamma’s earlier stance. The group had declared this spring that it would not change its policies because of the College’s social group sanctions.
KP will not attempt to formally recruit students until the College recognizes it, Rosenbaum wrote. Campus social groups that earn Harvard recognition gain freedom from the sanctions and access to a variety of benefits including funding and the ability to use College space.
Harvard recently debuted a three-tiered framework for social group recognition; KP will aim for “Interim Recognition,” the third and lowest tier, according to Rosenbaum. This means the group must commit to going gender-neutral — and prove it by submitting demographic breakdowns and related governing documents to Harvard — in exchange for freedom from the sanctions for one year. KP will also have to appoint an official to liaise between the group and the College and will need to adopt required trainings around topics including sexual assault prevention.
Rosenbaum declined to comment on whether members of the new group communicated with College administrators in the months before they launched KP.
Former DG members are founding KP because of what they call a “deficit in community spaces” caused by the sanctions, according to the press release. The release states some fraternity and sorority members quit Greek life at Harvard because of the penalties.
The possible detrimental impact of Harvard’s social group policies on all-female groups — which lack the real estate, wealth, and long-standing alumni networks some all-male groups possess — has long been a topic of heated debate on campus. In March, College administrators announced they would not implement a previously proposed “bridge” program that would have given traditionally all-female organizations a longer period of time than their male counterparts to transition to co-ed membership.
Instead, Harvard announced it would allocate resources and personnel, like the Harvard College Women’s Center, specifically to help women’s groups make the switch.
Asked about KP, Harvard spokesperson Aaron M. Goldman wrote in an email that the College is “committed to ensuring a variety of gender-inclusive social spaces and programming for all students.”
He pointed to College initiatives to fund and host some social events and plans to renovate the underclassmen houses as examples of College efforts to promote community on campus.
Social groups have until August 15 to apply for College recognition for the coming school year.
—Staff writer Caroline S. Engelmayer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @cengelmayer13.
—Staff writer Michael E. Xie can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelEXie1.
A Tale of Two Final ClubsFinal clubs must do more to fix their imbalances of power and not merely pay lip-service by going co-ed to address the sanctions. Gender is not the only way in which these groups discriminate.
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