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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

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Sorority Kicks out Girls for Not Fitting a Mold; Nobody Surprised

Kicked out for being Asian and not anorexic

Jen here--loaded this as a draft; when you see this, Jim will have posted for me.

Looks like a sorority kicked out a bunch of house members in the middle of the academic year after the national branch decided to "audit" the house--and kicked out every single heavy or minority member.

Gilly saw this and we talked about the article when I saw him on Sunday. I must say I was very highly amused by his almost--dare I say it--pearl-clutching shock and horror at the naked racism at play here.

The Greek system, as it's known on American college campuses, IMHO does only two things: Help campuses allieve housing shortages (which is widely acknowledged) and let people too closed-minded to deal with the big, bad, diverse world outside live in a special little bubble just a little longer (which is not).

Now, I know that lots of folks claim all kinds of great expericnes in the sorority or fraternity house, but incidents like this are just a giant, Ghostbusters-sized-Mr. Staypuft-Marshmellow-Man looming example of the dark underbelly to the "great experiences" of the Annointed.

And of course, the soritiy in question here is in denial:

The president of Delta Zeta, which has its headquarters in Oxford, Ohio, and its other national officers declined to be interviewed. Responding by e-mail to questions, Cynthia Winslow Menges, the executive director, said the sorority had not evicted the 23 women, even though the national officers sent those women form letters that said: “The membership review team has recommended you for alumna status. Chapter members receiving alumnae status should plan to relocate from the chapter house no later than Jan. 29, 2007.”

Ms. Menges asserted that the women themselves had, in effect, made their own decisions to leave by demonstrating a lack of commitment to meet recruitment goals. The sorority paid each woman who left $300 to cover the difference between sorority and campus housing.

The sorority “is saddened that the isolated incident at DePauw has been mischaracterized,” Ms. Menges wrote. Asked for clarification, the sorority’s public relations representative e-mailed a statement saying its actions were aimed at the “enrichment of student life at DePauw.”

This is not the first time that the DePauw chapter of Delta Zeta has stirred controversy. In 1982, it attracted national attention when a black student was not allowed to join, provoking accusations of racial discrimination.

Earlier this month, an Alabama lawyer and several other DePauw alumni who graduated in 1970 described in a letter to The DePauw, the student newspaper, how Delta Zeta’s national leadership had tried unsuccessfully to block a young woman with a black father and a white mother from joining its DePauw chapter in 1967.

Of course, then there's the whole hazing process and the annual deaths and injuries that occur from that, which is a whole nuther article.

Comment away...

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