By Eli Hughes–
A former Chi Omega member has left the sorority because she said the group is not operating safely during COVID-19.
Meera Sahney, a sophomore at the University of Louisville, posted a letter to Twitter on Sept. 14 detailing why she decided to leave her sorority, Chi Omega, after two weeks. She left due to claims of large gatherings and feeling as though her concerns were being dismissed by the rest of the sorority.
Sahney said she felt obligated to share her experience on Twitter because she didn’t feel her concerns were being taken seriously by the sorority.
“I believed that I wasn’t being seen and heard and I believe twitter is a catalyst for systemic change,” she said.
Sahney claims that she showed up for a social gathering that was supposed to have less than ten people present. When she got there and realized that there were more people than expected, she left after 30 minutes. She grew more concerned when pictures surfaced of large amounts of members of her sorority attending a tailgate party, many not wearing masks.
“I was confused and shocked at girls who felt no guilt or shame about partying when people were dying- drinking while essential hospital workers sacrificed themselves- partying while people were getting evicted due to late rent payments,” she said.
Sahney raised her concerns to the rest of her sorority in a group chat but was dismissed and told that it wasn’t any of her business. She said that the reaction from the other members of her new members’ group chat was overwhelmingly negative.
“The attacks continued when I pointed out the disproportional rate of POC’s being affected by the coronavirus. I was told to stop preaching and making ‘blanket statements.’ I was told I was ‘aggressive.’ That I was ‘hostile,'” Sahney said. “In a group chat of 30 women, most of them white, most of them not willing to support any of the statements I made, most of them only ready to tell me that they are capable of making their own choices.”
She concluded the letter by asking for Chi Omega to commit to the following actions:
- Include questions about anti-racism in next year’s recruitment.
- Require micro-aggression training for all new members.
- Write out consequences for future partying and social gatherings that endanger U of L and the greater Louisville community, that align with the university guidelines.
- Commit to inclusionary practices for next year’s pledge class
Maggie May, vice president of U of L’s Chi Omega chapter, told the Cardinal her sorority does not tolerate any form of discrimination.
“To be clear, Chi Omega does not tolerate discrimination, nor do we tolerate risking our members’ health or that of our campus community in any way,” May said. “Should members violate Chi Omega or university policies, they will be held accountable through the corresponding disciplinary processes. We understand that we can always do better and we will continue to educate ourselves, grow, and improve for the good of our Sisterhood as a whole and those around us.”
“Chi Omega realizes it is our responsibility to do our part to ensure the physical health of one another and to be steadfast in fostering the well-being of Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color in our Sisterhood,” she said.
U of L also responded to the incident, encouraging all students to follow COVID-19 guidelines and stating that they expect sororities to be inclusive towards students of color.
“The University of Louisville expects our sororities to be open, inclusive and accepting of students, faculty and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds and points of view. U of L is a community of care,” said John Karman, director of media relations for U of L.
“As we continue to battle the pandemic, it is imperative that all students—Greek and non-Greek—follow the university directives regarding COVID-19. These include wearing masks, physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings,” he said.
U of L’s Panhellenic Council President Gabby Vincent did not wish to make a statement about the incident. “We aren’t able to comment on this specific case as it is a member organization-specific issue,” Vincent said.
File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal