Sorority Scandal: Were Girls Asked to Leave Because of Weight and Race?

Beyond the fraternity parties and formals, most young women pledge a sorority for a house full of friends and a lifetime of sisterhood.

For some of the women of Delta Zeta's DePauw University chapter, however, their ties were cut short by the organization that was supposed to support them.

After a decline in membership at DePauw's local chapter, the national office interviewed the sisters and kicked out 23 members who they said were "not committed" to the sorority.

The former members allege that the women expelled included overweight, black and Asian members, but that the sorority kept sisters who were popular with fraternities.

On "Good Morning America," two former members of Delta Zeta's DePauw chapter spoke out against the national organization and the notion that sorority sisters have to be blonde, thin and popular with the men.

According to Lindsay Moy, who was one of those asked to leave the chapter, the national organization never explained why it was kicking her out.

"We were never given any reason. No one was ever given any explanation even though several times we asked for one," she said. "I'm a good student. I'm involved on campus. I'm social. I can't think of any reason why they wouldn't want me unless it's superficial."

Asked why she thought the national organization had asked her to leave, Moy said, "Because I'm overweight. I honestly cannot think of any other reason."

Joanna Kieschnick was permitted to stay in Delta Zeta but left the sorority on her own, outraged at the national organization.

"I was particularly uncomfortable with a lot of the women they asked to leave," she said. "These are my sisters. These are my friends."

A Small Campus Up in Arms

During a recruitment tour, Delta Zeta's national office brought women from other universities to meet and greet freshmen. According to Megan Sikes, who was asked to leave, they were all "basically tall, skinny and blonde."

The national office said looks had nothing to do with its decision; the only factor in determining who would remain an active member was a commitment to recruit for the chapter.

"With a steady decline in membership in the Delta Chapter over several years, the viability of the chapter was in question," said a statement posted on Delta Zeta's Web site. "In the process of addressing that situation, we misjudged how some of our communications would be received by our members, and we regret that. Delta Zeta has been working with [DePauw] University and chapter members for 6 months to create a solution that benefits its women members, the University and the national Delta Zeta organization."

The national organization's decision has infuriated past and present members of Delta Zeta across the country, known for its diverse membership. The controversy has DePauw's small campus, 50 miles from Indianapolis, up in arms.

"These are adults, a national organization who came in and did this to our students. I think we really have got to look at the impact they can have on our students' lives," said Cindy Babington, DePauw's dean of students.

Kieschnick said that whatever the national organization's reasons, she had no interest in conforming to its standards.

"I don't want to be a puppet for the national organization," she said. "I want to … be me."

Moy wants an apology for the sisterhood she lost.

"I really want national to realize that this is not right," she said. "I developed such a sense of camaraderie with these women. … You pledge an organization and you fall in love with the girls. … And then you're told you're not good enough. It really did some emotional damage."

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