Oxford, Ohio-based Delta Zeta, which had been accused at DePauw of asking only attractive, popular students to remain active members, filed the claim in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, accusing the university of breaking promises and contracts, defaming the sorority, and interfering with its business relationships.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages, a public apology, a return to the university's Greek system and a retraction of certain statements about the sorority. It also asks that DePauw acknowledge "that Delta Zeta did not make any decision based on appearance and race."
Delta Zeta attorney William Nolan of Columbus, Ohio, said the sorority hoped it could reach a settlement with DePauw, a 2,200-student private liberal arts school about 40 miles west of Indianapolis.
DePauw spokesman Ken Owen said the university disputed many of the sorority's allegations.
The chapter started the school year with 35 women in its house, compared with 100 members or more at other DePauw sororities, and removed 23 from active membership after a restructuring last fall. Delta Zeta has maintained the evictions were based on the members' lack of commitment to recruiting pledges.
Eight of the 23 women have hired an attorney to handle grievances.
University President Robert G. Bottoms on March 12 evicted Delta Zeta from the school's Greek system, starting this fall, saying the university was unhappy with the sorority's policies and actions.