The Collegian
Friday, August 14, 2020

Letter urging UVa women to avoid fraternity rush called sexist

Cries of sexism erupted amidst controversy following a Jan. 20 letter requesting that members of 16 national sororities avoid fraternity parties at University of Virginia this rush season.

Tammie Pinkston, international president of Alpha Delta Pi, released the letter earlier this year, advising that the fraternity recruitment activities presented significant safety concerns for sorority members.

NBC News reported that members of the U.Va. community reacted by calling the mandate “misguided” and “a step backwards.”

Following the recent sexual assault controversy sparked by the now-discredited Rolling Stone article, the letter has incited a student petition on Change.org that has received nearly 2,500 signatures.

Signers of the petition said the mandate was “a blatant affront to women's rights,” and “fosters the idea that social events are the problem instead of participants’ behavior.”

“This is not new or a story,” said Meg Pevarski, University of Richmond assistant director of Greek life. “There has been a rule on the books for as long as I can remember that states that all Panhellenic chapters will refrain from participating in men’s recruitment activities, as well as having men participate in their recruitment activities.”

In fact, the National Panhellenic Council’s longstanding code of Unanimous Agreements states, “Each College Panhellenic shall denounce the participation of Panhellenic women in men’s fraternity events when or where the primary purpose is recruitment.”

Despite the fact that Pinkston’s request was in line with the long-standing precedent, national media proceeded to brand the situation as a cause for “anger” and “outrage” in the aftermath of a rape scandal that has swamped the U.Va. community.

“To me this is less about safety or sexism and more about the fact that when it comes to the recruitment of members,” Pevarski said. “Our organizations should be focused on the potential members and not members of the opposite sex.”

The U.Va. community will continue to regain a sense of normalcy in coming months now that Greek life has been reinstated on campus.

Contact reporter Adam Gibson at adam.gibson@richmond.edu

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