Thursday, March 29, 2007

What Kind Of Defense Should Be Offered?

Uh oh. Legally Blonde III? Banished sorority sues DePauw U.

The sorority that DePauw University booted from its Greencastle campus because it removed 23 members from the local chapter filed a federal lawsuit against the university today.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Terre Haute alleges DePauw broke its contract with the Delta Zeta sorority and damaged the reputation of its members.

“As a direct and proximate result of defendants conduct, Delta Zeta has incurred substantial harm to its business, including current and prospective financial losses,” the suit contends.

The sorority is demanding that it be allowed back on campus, get a public apology, and be awarded unspecified damages.

DePauw officials cut ties with Delta Zeta March 12 because of claims that the 23 members were dismissed because of their looks. Delta Zeta's national leadership told 23 members in December to take "alumnae status" and leave the chapter house because they had failed to meet recruiting goals.

But the sisters claimed they were asked to leave because they weren't pretty enough.

In announcing the sorority's expulsion, university president Robert G. Bottoms said sorority members told him they "felt they were discriminated against" because of their looks.

"We at DePauw do not like the way our students were treated," Bottoms said in making the announcement. "We believe that the values of our University and those of Delta Zeta sorority are incompatible."

A posting today on the university's Web site said the lawsuit lacks merit. "From the beginning, DePauw University has acted to protect its students," Ken Owen, director of media relations, said on the Web site. "We are disappointed in Delta Zeta's decision to initiate legal action. We believe that this lawsuit completely lacks merit and have every confidence that the courts will determine that the University acted lawfully and in the best interests of its students."

I really think the University would be unwise to allow this to get to trial. Think about it. What could their defense possibly be?

"The sorority claims these girls were kicked out because of recruitment failures and not because the girls were unattractive. But have you seen these girls?? We are talking 'woof!' Each one of them is homlier than the next. You can't tell me that is just coincidence."

Maybe the girls themselves might want to pass on the University's "protection."


Anonymous said...

DePauw would be very wise to take this to court.
The DZ National organization has acted with complete disregard to the health of its members. Kicking women out of the sorority had everything to do with looks, and nothing to do with brains. If the sorority didn't want smart and independent women in its local chapters ....fine. Dont accept them in the first place. Especially do not kick them out right before finals with the lame excuse they were not committed. It is a bald faced lie. They were not blond, they were not thin, they were not wearing short skirts and going out to party with the Frats, and finally they weren't sexy enough. All this would become completely apparent in a trial. The suit even refers to an incident during recruitment which proves the DePauw defense. DePauw has no responsibility to the National DZ organization, but does have great responsibility for its students...and has acted completely appropriately.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

You might want to look at my take on the issue itself. Here I'm just pointing out that in order to prove their case the University might just have to claim these girls are, in an absolute sense unattractive and undesireable. In essensce they will have to do what they criticize DZ for doing.

The larger point is if DePauw was REALLY concerned about such things they would ban all fraternities and sororities except the academic ones because such exclusion is inherent in them.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the truth will come out in court that first, nobody was actually kicked out of the sorority and second, it had nothing to do with the individual's characteristics. The sorority doesn't care if members are purple as long as they operate a succesfully functioning chapter. If the chapter members were committed to recruitment, why was this chapter so small and struggling? Seems there is more to the story.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

As I stated in my other post, I've no problem with the national chapter not wanting the depauw chapter to be the top destination for the "bookish and unattractive" which will lead to diminishing pledges (to my mind they are related). The criteria usually employed at most sororitiesand franternities IS hard for the socially awkward. It always has been, always will be. I just thought it was disingenious of depauw to only "discover" it in this case.