Dear Swarthmore Campus Community,
On behalf of the Alpha Beta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at Swarthmore College, I submit the following clarifications regarding the issues of gender identity, financial means, and general rush policies expressed in response toSorority to Accept Bids on Saturday.
In a written, binding agreement between the College (President Chopp and Dean Braun) and Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, it was stipulated that any Swarthmore student who self-identifies as a female, regardless of what sex they are registered as in the College’s records, is eligible to join the sorority. The statement in this article that, “Women will only be offered bids if they are listed as female in the College’s records,” was a misleading and inaccurate statement. It is the College’s understanding that admission to the sorority will be entirely inclusive, and this includes transgendered students. The invitation to come to Swarthmore College was extended to Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity with the understanding that they would allow all female-identifying students to join and would not ask them for proof that they are in fact women, and President Chopp and Dean Braun plan to hold the sorority to that.
Every effort is being made to ensure that the sorority remains a viable option for all students, regardless of their financial circumstances. Members may apply for academic scholarships offered through Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity that specifically pay for a student’s tuition. Our chapter member dues were not, as stated in a comment, “several” hundred dollars to begin with. However, in an effort to make membership even more financially inclusive, this past week the Dean’s Office requested that the dues be further significantly reduced, and Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity gladly complied with this request. In addition, sorority members will be working on fundraising efforts this semester to provide additional financial assistance to any member that may need it.
Lastly, all 65 women who applied for membership and underwent an interview on Bid Day were all offered bids for membership in the chapter. The general criteria for membership and the selection process were not discriminatory in any way. It is our aim to start the chapter with the fundamental philosophy that we have about Swarthmore inclusivity. We take these community concerns of possible discrimination and exclusivity very seriously, and will remain transparent and responsive if any such concerns should arise again in the future.
We hope that even those community members who have no interest in Greek Life will support our right to form a distinct and diverse community of women within the broader Swarthmore community. We are deeply committed to upholding the values of diversity, inclusivity, and community building that defines Swarthmore.
Ashley Gochoco ’14
Member of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity at Swarthmore College