Sorority Report #5: Crime, Punishment, and How to Get 'Blacklisted'


Welcome to Sorority Report, a feature in which we celebrate the best and battiest of Rush Week emails from sororities. Part 1 extolled the virtues of Spanx. Part 2 sang the praises of Vaseline and warned sternly against “natural looks.” Part 3 lectured against allowing “randos” to wear Greek shirts in the general proximity of liquor stores. Part 4 was mostly about the color turquoise.

Today, in what I devoutly hope will be the final chapter of Sorority Report, (please let me out of this basement, I promise I’ll be good) it’s time to get serious. Let’s talk sorority law, which, as everyone knows, is the toughest kind, besides, perhaps, bird law.

This tip comes to us from an odd source, and we need to say up front that it’s not really possible to fully verify it. Our tipster says a copy of the minutes from a sorority discipline meeting was shared with her accidentally on Google Docs. She has a guess about which school the sorority belongs to, and after doing some research, we have the same guess. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution, we’ve redacted all the names and will not mention what we believe to be sorority name or the name of the school.

You will notice that our tipster added a disciplinary note of her own at the bottom.

1. [Name Redacted]
Infraction: Had to take multiple drinks from her at [fraternity] Delta Chi mixer
Decision: Tell her to not do it again and suggest that she send an apology to [redacted].
2. [Redacted]
Infraction: very intoxicated at Delta Chi mixer and threw up. Had to be driven home by Delta Chi president.
Decision: not allowed to go to Senior Party
3. [Redacted]
Infraction: threw up on the bus back from the Delta Chi mixer
Decision: not allowed to go to Senior Party
4. [Redacted]
Infraction: took an uber [sic] to the Delta Chi mixer
Decision: not allowed to go to Senior Party
5. [Redacted]
Infraction: took an Uber to the Delta Chi mixer with her Big, [redacted]. She claims she did not know the rules and [redacted] told her it was okay.
Decision: Warning and we told her the rules and liability issues with transportation
6. [redacted]
Infraction: After semiformal, asked the bus driver to stop so she could get off early. Claims she took an uber back to touch [Redacted Sorority Name] property. She was very apologetic and asked to be kept on social probation if it was going to hurt [Sorority Name] if she was taken off.
Decision: initially put on social probation for the rest of the semester, but asked to be allowed to go to Senior Party. We are allowing her to attend Senior Party.
7. [Redacted, alleged author of Google doc]
Infraction: Failed the internet.
Decision: Not allowed to be in charge of google docs anymore. Also cannot attend Senior Party, but can therefore use Uber.

That is a lot of throwing up and an anti-Uber rule we’d like to know more about! Moving along.

As we have seen throughout Sorority Report, the rules at individual sororities can be very specific (bafflingly specific, from an outsider’s perspective). Over the course of the series, we got several emails from former sorority sisters reflecting on the ways they ran afoul of those rules, often without realizing it.

One person wrote that the number of sorority events could be “overwhelming,” and that she was fined for not attending them:

The only official sorority recruitment events allowed before January rush week were Fall Parties. But no! This meant that mandatory recruitment events were dragged out all over the fall semester. In addition to recruitment song and skit practices, recruitment workshops, and regular meetings and events, you’d have to go to an informal rush activity at least once a week, and report back on a potential new member you met. Problem is, Panhellenic’s rules specifically outlaw these additional get-togethers, but you’d be fined if you didn’t do them. KD spread these out into several events a week (see calendar) to keep them small and make them more convenient, but it was still overwhelming on busier weeks and so non-kosher by the rules that it was asinine that we got fined for not going. Compare the emailed, public sorority event calendar .doc to the non-emailed, for-our-eyes-only recruitment event calendar that I had as a hard copy. We violated that prohibition on additional rush events very frequently.

Another wrote that her entire experience in a sorority felt like there was a script she wasn’t quite privy to:

It might not be literal rules for who you’re supposed to be. In my chapter, sly catty shit ran wild underneath the film of togetherness and positivity. Clear groups of friends had no room for anyone who didn’t fit in. Trying to make the best of that situation caused me to reject how I even thought about things and related to other people. More than 2 years later, I am ending major depression caused mostly by this and another bad living situation I had in college.

And a third woman had a long and frankly horrific story about her encounter with sorority rules. It begins with the hazing she says she experienced: “Blindfolds, calisthenics, forced alcohol consumption, rides in the trunks of vehicles, force feeding (which in many cases resulted in lots of vomit), belly crawling, exposure to the cold in wet clothes, recitation of endless volumes of facts and songs and poems and random shit about present active members.”

Things got truly bad, though, when she arrived home one night from a mandatory rally:

My walls, my dormitory-issue bed, my bedding (including homemade quilts made by my great grandmother), my bras/panties, and most of my clothes had been splattered with spray paint, in “official COLORS” of course. How did this happen, you ask? We were forced to give them our backpacks at every rally, and 2-3 actives escaped and “decorated” all of our dorm rooms. All the other girls got stickers, confetti, streamers, or ransacked drawers at worst. I felt particularly hurt and singled out. I never understood why mine was the only one that got actual, terrible heartbreaking property damage.

The next week was spring break, she says:

which I spent in bed at my parents… who started asking questions… who noticed my quilt, underpants, jeans, etc. were splattered in spray paint. They were livid. My father called the chapter president and demanded they reimburse me for my clothes and of course any damage fees incurred at the end of the year dorm inspection.
I came back to a cool reception from the entire chapter upon my return to campus. No one would talk to me except the chapter president, who called me to her room, presented me with a check, and lectured me on how giving me that money would badly hurt the finances of the sorority.

She was eventually told she was a “huge disappointment” to the sorority, she adds, and that she had only been paid back because “We could get banned from campus if it came out what happened.” She also remembers another sister telling her, “I don’t know why you even think you’re welcome here. No one in this sorority wanted you activated.”

The woman ended up transferring schools, she said, but her misdemeanors became the stuff of legend. “I heard the pledgemaster (the MEANEST of the Mean Girls) had actually blacklisted me, meaning my name was ‘in the book,’ but SCRATCHED OUT as an example of what happens to you if you’re a disappointment to them,” she writes. “A couple years later, Head Mean Girl apologized to me, to my face, and ever since, I am in the book to this day as a normal alum. All the same, one of my pledgesisters still refuses to speak to me and spits the ground when my name is mentioned, according to mutual friends.”

That story — and the angry emails piling up in my inbox since this series began — are a solid reminder not to tread on the wrong side of Sorority Law.

Image via Shutterstock

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