Groups have to reserve right to deny membership

Jocelyn Swartz

When a student calls home to discuss college with their parents or a childhood friend, each one is bound to mention a group that they are, or perhaps are not, a part of. They may deeply wish to be a part of this group but were never admitted, or in some cases did gain access and were later asked to leave. This happened to some young women who were asked to turn in the badges of their sorority to the national headquarters; several complained to the Associated Students at DePauw University in Ohio.

The young women felt they were forced out because they were a minority or not thin enough to continue participating in Delta Zeta. These women experienced what many would simply call life, or even the college experience.

The college experience is more than the midterms and the long lines that we have to endure at the bookstore. It is about networking, discovering who we are, what we want to do in life and figuring out how to get there, using both negative and positive events. This college experience can be found in our extracurricular activities which begin to shape who we are as a student, as a friend and as a professional being. Sports, Associated Students, clubs and organizations such as sororities and fraternities are all school chartered groups that many students wish to be a part of.

There is a young man on a campus somewhere in America who has been asked to sit on the bench at the soccer matches that his teammates play in, a football player who plays during practice, but will never see the lights on the field, and the law student who made it onto the moot court team, but was not successful enough to remain for the duration of the competition. All these students have been asked to stop participating in one way or another.

For any group to exist, there must be people in as well as out of the group. That’s what defines the group. When a group is required to admit certain individuals or keep those previously admitted, it loses its identity. One problem with American society today is the notion that everyone should be able to do whatever they want, regardless of the impact it has on other people. For example, if a high school student at a private school wants to play soccer, they are placed on a soccer team, regardless of whether they have any athletic ability. This attitude is spreading to sororities and fraternities.

These groups were formed, and have flourished, because college students seek people they relate to and get along with, and alumni want to maintain some sort of contact with the next generation.

A sorority or a fraternity is where a girl can find her bridesmaid, or a guy to pick you up from the airport at 3 a.m. after not speaking for a couple of years. It is through these groups that many men and women discover themselves and are able to make a small difference in this world.

These groups, along with athletic and other selective organizations, have the right to determine as a group which people should be granted access. If that decision turns out to be in error, the group has the opportunity to retract that choice, for the betterment of the whole.

People will always form groups; those not admitted will always complain about it. The game of life is finding the right fit for each person, such as the right college, the right major, the right organization. Each one of us has the right to be a part of something that just fits. Sometimes, being denied admission against our wishes causes tears. Those whose journey in the life of the sorority was cut short must find the next activity in their life that will shape the person they are to become.