When Tufts University junior Benya Kraus joined Chi Omega sorority her freshman year, she suddenly found herself as part of an “in” crowd.
Kraus always had a place to sit and friends to eat with, but the Asian-American student noticed one thing — she was “hyperaware” of her identity among the women, most of whom are “white, cis-gender, affluent, and from the United States,” she co-wrote in a recent blog post.
Now, Kraus is one of several former sorority sisters calling for the eradication of Greek life at Tufts, deeming the system “exclusionary and violent in practice.”
The appeal comes shortly after the school suspended all social activity at its fraternities for the rest of the fall semester after several allegations of hazing and sexual misconduct. Additionally, spring recruitment for sororities and fraternities was suspended.
In the blog post on Medium last week, the former Chi Omega sisters — who still attend Tufts — outline instances of problematic behavior and argue that reforming Greek life is not feasible. Abolishing it is the only way to make progress, they wrote.
“Greek life at Tufts is responsible for pain,” they wrote. “Greek life nationally is, too, and our dues support the perpetuation and further embedment of this pain.”
Tufts spokesman Patrick Collins said the school plans to examine the issues detailed in the post.
“We take any allegations of discrimination seriously,” Collins said in an email. “We will continue to encourage thoughtful discourse and engagement within our student community.”
The women gave examples, such as an instance when a rainbow “pride” flag found in their sorority’s common room was condemned by the chapter’s adviser.
The recruitment process involved socializing with more senior members, they said, and required women to bond over fashion, family vacations, and other experiences former members consider “classist.”
“It feels like I pulled out my ‘country club self’ and performed a lot,” junior Claudia Mihm said in an interview. “You accept it when you’re trying to get in.”
In a statement, the Chi Omega national chapter said the behavior outlined in the blog post is “not emblematic of the personal integrity and respect for others that we expect.”
.Samantha Gross can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @samanthajgross