GREENCASTLE, Ind. – DePauw University's president ordered the Delta Zeta sorority Monday to leave its campus by September in response to a mass eviction of members that sparked allegations that only attractive, popular students were asked to remain.
School President Robert G. Bottoms told reporters at a campus auditorium Monday that the values of the sorority were "incompatible" with the 2,200-student private college in western Indiana.
Bottoms said the school was unhappy with Delta Zeta's policies and actions and with some of the postings on its Web site that disputed the controversy that followed the evictions.
"I came to the conclusion that our approaches to these issues are just incompatible," he said during a news conference.
Bottoms said in a letter delivered Monday to the sorority's national president, Deborah A. Raziano that beginning in the fall, the sorority would no longer be recognized as part of the Greek system at the school. He asked the sorority to leave the campus in Greencastle, 40 miles west of Indianapolis, before next fall.
In a statement released to media Monday, Delta Zeta sorority repeated its stand that the 23 evictions were based on the members' lack of commitment to recruiting pledges. But those asked to leave have charged that they were removed because of their appearance, contending they were active and supportive members of their sorority.
The sorority's members have long had a reputation of being academically oriented rather than having conventional beauty or partying, and their chapter was widely known among students as the "dog house." The chapter started the school year with just 35 women in its house, far short of the nearly 100 members at other sororities on a campus where 70 percent of students join the Greek system.
Delta Zeta's national leadership last fall reviewed the DePauw chapter's members' commitment to recruiting. As a result, it moved 23 women to alumnae status in December, evicting them from the sorority house. Six others left on their own.
"I think it's a shame they had to uphold these kind of stereotypes," former member Kate Holloway, who left in protest after the membership review was announced, told The Associated Press on Monday.
Bottoms said of those six who remain on campus, four are seniors who will graduate this year. He said the university would help the other two women look for housing next fall.
Repeated phone messages left Monday for Raziano and the executive director of the sorority's national headquarters in Oxford, Ohio, were not returned.
In a statement released by e-mail Monday night, Delta Zeta said it was "disappointed" that DePauw had closed the chapter and said the situation was being "mischaracterized."
While the issue has generated media attention, life on campus went on Monday for students.
Ashley Louise, an 18-year-old freshman pledge for Alpha Chi Omega, said students have been talking about the Delta Zeta story but "are just taking as it comes."
Louise, who is from Naperville, Ill., said fellow students care deeply about the women at Delta Zeta.
"We have great sympathy for the girls," she said. "A lot of them are our friends."
The statement e-mailed Monday under the name of Executive Director Cindy Menges repeated her stand that Delta Zeta based decisions on the women's willingness to recruit new members to revitalize a nearly 100-year-old chapter whose numbers had fallen steadily over 10 years.
"Any statement otherwise is inaccurate and misleading and we are saddened that any member would feel this way," the statement said.
DePauw's decision follows a letter of reprimand sent to the national organization Feb. 19.
"We at DePauw do not like the way our students were treated," Bottoms said in Monday's letter.