Women comprise 55% of Colgate’s student body, yet there are six fraternities and only three sororities. These few sororities are oversubscribed with nearly 200 members per chapter, which limits opportunities for leadership and building life-long friendships. As a group, sorority women consistently maintain the highest GPA on campus and volunteerism is a hallmark of Greek life. Sororities exemplify Colgate’s “Living the Liberal Arts” residential plan.
Do you support another sorority at Colgate?
Colgate alumni, students, and members of the campus community were invited via email, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and in an ad published in the Maroon News to share their views on establishing another sorority at Colgate.
The survey, which ran from Sept. 10 – Oct 11, 2014 garnered 557 responses. Of these, 478 or 86.75% supported an additional sorority for Colgate; 73 or 13.25% did not support a new sorority.
There were 271 comments. A representative sample follows:
• If Colgate women were to get less than their fair share of any other institutional or campus resource, I’m sure we would (appropriately) hear the demand for change. Because the resource in question is politically incorrect, admin has decided the resource should not be provided. Here’s a thought: why not let the students decide? If there are enough women to make a success of a new sorority, get out of the way and let it happen.
• It’s time for the board to start actually listening to recent alums and current students and allow the Greek system to grow and contract organically. This current artificial stasis is hurtful to everyone on campus.
• Greek life helps with the camaraderie of students, but also challenges students to find ways to help their sororities separate themselves from the others. This is what leads to outstanding community service, improved student government, and more voices from the student body.
• As the parent of a class of ’14 sorority member, and a member of a Colgate fraternity myself, I think it’s absolutely wrong for Colgate to limit the number of sororities and further for the Pan Hellenic Council to limit the number of girls that each sorority can accept each year. Great girls who want to be a part of Greek life are denied the opportunity by the University’s unreasonable sorority quota system. I’m a Presidents Club member and a big fan of the direction the University’s taking, but the unjustifiable ban on additional sororities is 100% wrong. For $60K per year, give the girls what they want.
• I worked as a member of the Recruitment committee within my sorority, as well as a co-vice president of recruitment. Women need more options and opportunities to participate in this part of Colgate’s culture. If they choose not to participate, that’s fine. But not being included based on an arbitrary number is absurd, especially when the risk for the same happening to a man is much less.
• Greek life gets a bad reputation of being too “exclusive”. However, this is an extremely unfair look at the way the Greek system is operated. Chapters can only function at a certain capacity. While I have made an honest effort to get to know everyone in my chapter, that’s relatively impossible with how big the pledge classes are. Adding another sorority would only increase the number of girls who are able to receive bids. There is no shortage of girls who want to be a part of the Greek system. The administration’s refusal to add a fourth charter is the driving force behind sororities “exclusivity”. The more options there are, the more opportunities there are.
• This is probably the single-greatest issue and area of discrimination on our campus right now. The sororities are overcrowded and not healthy at their current size. Students and alumni are both calling for change but we remain handcuffed by a faculty hostile to Greek Life. Colgate had 4 sororities just five years ago so this is not even an expansion; why is it unacceptable to return to that number now!? Time for CU to embrace the Greek system that our Board of Trustees has affirmed is here to stay.
• I hope it is an African American one as well. During my time at Colgate we tried to bring an black Greek sorority to campus and the administration was against it. The sorority will not only foster diversity on the campus but also help with the admission of more female students of color.
• In my experience at Colgate, many great organic friendships were formed in the first year of school. Then, rush begins during the third semester and people pigeon-hole themselves into contrived groups of “brotherhood” and “sisterhood,” dissolving many of the bonds they have already formed and contributing to a gender-segregated culture that is unnatural and unhealthy. I do not support the creation of a new sorority, but I would support the elimination of fraternities and sororities.
• Joining Delta Delta Delta kept me at Colgate when I thought of transferring. Lifelong friends and an experience that will stick with me forever. In my time, the chapter grew from 75 to almost 150! It was amazing to be a part of that growth but there is a shift in the strength of bonds that can be formed in a group that large. Not to mention, another chapter means another option for women to feel at home!! I supported this initiative while President of DDD and will always support this decision.
• Even more than parity in the numbers, as a current collegian, we are more concerned with parity in experience. At an average chapter size of over 190 now, women are not afforded the same experience as men to join an organization through which women can develop close and meaningful connections with their sisterhood and organization. We deserve that experience too.
• Why not? Colgate has already made itself into a very expensive, exclusionary school so why not go “whole hog.” I have yet to hear anyone tell me how a $60k Colgate degree is qualitatively better than a $40k degree from one of the top tier public university’s of similar size.
• As a Tri Delta alum I fully support this. One of the best experiences of my life. So thankful for having my sisters. And in talking with current sisters, the system of “everyone gets in” rubs me the wrong way. You are only enhancing the “You owe me” mentality in this generation. In life you don’t always get what you want. Deal with it. When we selected women we were looking for those who would fit with us and support our ideology. We were looking to create a sisterhood and community. By forcing sororities to take girls, you are creating very large bid classes making it harder to bond and create sisterhood. Cap the bid classes like you did in the first decade of the millennium.
• As a member of a sorority that no longer exists at Colgate, and was removed without being replaced (Kappa Alpha Theta), I support the addition of new sororities. However, I think the broader issue is that the school community and administration treats sororities and fraternities differently. From 2004 – 2008, when I attended Colgate, the sororities were the first to sell their houses to the university and work with school administration to make Greek life a regulated, integrated element of the school. However, school administration held the sororities to a different, higher standard than they did the fraternities.
• Women on campus are at a complete social disadvantage with the current Greek system. Fraternities are able to keep their class sizes relatively small leading to a greater social connections and class cohesiveness. Sororities on the other hand are forced to take large classes making it harder to form friendships. In addition it is harder for the executive board of the sororities to manage such a large group which inevitably leads to conflict and less accountability.
• My two daughters were in a sorority, but some of their friends were not selected. The current sororities are too crowded. The anti-Greek sentiment must stop.
• Self-governance within the fraternity/sorority system is a major life lesson and gives that opportunity to those who may not want to participate in other forums.
• I served as President of my sorority (Delta Delta Delta) while at Colgate and it was by far the most beneficial experience of my Colgate career. It taught me how to manage people, make tough (and sometimes unpopular) decisions, multitask, listen closely to others and observe nonverbal cues, delegate tasks, negotiate, and prioritize. These are skills I use on a daily basis, and have benefited me significantly more than my academic knowledge- though I’m also very grateful for that! I am also still close friends with many members of my sorority and have a strong support network no matter where I go. Being held accountable for my actions by my sorority sisters and other members of Greek life also helped me to make better decisions while at Colgate. Unfortunately, only having three sororities limits these opportunities for many women at Colgate, and makes access to leadership roles and direct involvement more limited for those women who are part of a sorority, simply because there are so many girls in each chapter. I wholeheartedly support more sororities on campus.
• Independent living provides leadership skills
• The University has approved all kinds of “houses” at Colgate. The hill is dotted with them. Why not another nationally-recognized sorority?
• I support special interest groups that support the variety and diversity within the Colgate community. The number of each should be driven by interest and ability to be financially solvent and socially responsible. In some ways the next sorority or fraternity carries a higher burden of standards in light of issues that these kinds of institutions face nationwide.
• French House, Peace House, Spanish House, Arts n Crafts House; Colgate students who share something in common. Why does the university view the Greeks any differently?
• The entire Greek system at Colgate upholds a hierarchical system of power, privilege and dominance. I was a member of a sorority during my time at Colgate, and I saw firsthand the damage Greek life has on the Colgate community. That being said, if there must be six fraternities (which in itself is ridiculous for such a small school!!), then I support a new sorority for balance. In an ideal world, however, Colgate would be working to diminish Greek life overall, so that the overbearing social hierarchy would cease to make students feel less than, excluded, rejected, dominated, and humiliated.
• The current system which excludes 1/3 of interested females breeds exclusivity….and it is driven by university policy.
• Forget one new sorority; I support three (3) new sororities to equal the men.
• Fraternities and sororities have a huge, positive impact on the Hamilton community. More sororities would only deepen this positive impact. I am still dear friends with many of my sorority sisters, not only in my own class, but in classes several years before and after mine. It is the major reason I come back for reunion every year and continue to support Colgate.
• My son was at frat leader (at another college) and now it’s not on his resume because many people have negative reactions.
• I think it’s time to do away with all of the sororities and fraternities. Colgate is such a small school and the Greek system divides the already small class into further small, exclusionary segments. It doesn’t create school unity or class unity. I remember distinctly that, after freshman year, I lost daily contact with many friends because they went to live and eat in their houses. Their social lives revolved around their frat or sorierity. If I didn’t have a class with them, I just didn’t see them as much and the friendship and camaraderie dissipated. It was one of the most disappointing parts of Colgate. It would be optimal if Colgate built an inclusive community feeling to the school.