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The Society Is SMU RushTok’s Most Mysterious Club

If you’re currently on SMU Rush TikTok like I am, you may have stumbled across videos about The Society. As someone who has only recently become familiar with the Greek scene at this private university in Dallas, Texas, I had no clue what The Society was. At first glance, I assumed they were just another sorority on Southern Methodist University’s campus, but after they kept popping up on my FYP, I decided to do some investigating. I quickly found out The Society was not the traditional chapter it seemed to be. 

Understanding The Society takes some research into a certain sorority on campus, Kappa Alpha Theta. Kappa Alpha Theta is a nationally recognized sorority that has over 140 collegiate chapters. SMU’s Theta chapter, Beta Sigma, was established in 1929 and was recognized to be one of the most prestigious sororities to rush on SMU’s campus. They were known for being the wealthiest chapter in SMU Greek life and their house was even valued at a whopping $7.3 million. Many hopeful PNMs would come to campus and rush each year hoping to be able to utilize the famous “THINK THETA” slogan. However, this reputation was ultimately tarnished after the Beta Sigma chapter was found responsible for violating alcohol and hazing policies in 2022, resulting in their suspension from campus. Her Campus reached out to The Society for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

At the time, the chapter was already under probation after an incident back in 2020 for issues of the same nature. According to SMU’s Student Organization Conduct Status webpage, “Kappa Alpha Theta was allegedly hazing new members through forced consumption of alcohol at an off-campus location. New members were also exposed to activities that adversely affected their physical health and safety.” The result of the incident was a mutual agreement between SMU and the national organization of Kappa Alpha Theta for the Beta Sigma chapter to be suspended from SMU’s campus until May 15, 2024. With that, The Society was born. 

Originally, The Society attempted to be blatantly associated with Kappa Alpha Theta, as it was originally named “Theta Society.” Parents were actually responsible for the creation of this group because they wanted their daughters to still be able to engage socially in the same way after the removal of the Beta Sigma chapter. However, Kappa Alpha Theta’s national leaders reached out to the group to inform them that they could not use Theta in their name. CEO Jennifer Schmaltz also released a statement back in March 2023.  The statement was given to The Daily Campus, SMU’s recognized student newspaper, by Shannon Williamson, the mother of a former Theta member. Williamson is also one of the parents that co-founded The Society and ultimately serves as their advisor.

In the statement, Schmaltz mentioned that despite the removal of Theta within their formal name, The Society’s use of cheetah print and cat ears was confusing the student body and others, as these are symbols of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Schmaltz added that “until the group ceases to exist, the return of the Beta Sigma chapter will continue to be delayed” and urged individuals to stop supporting and participating in the chapter. 

Despite that plea, The Society lives on, and TikTok is evidence. The official TikTok for The Society has posted a couple videos recently, alluding to the rush process. Although The Society does not technically affiliate with SMU and call themselves a club rather than a sorority, they reportedly still host their own recruitment process at the same time that official SMU Greek chapters do. These reports are supported by The Society’s Instagram, where the chapter posted photos welcoming home their new “baby cats.” 

So what does the future look like for The Society and the reestablishment of the Beta Sigma chapter? The answer is somewhat unclear, especially after the statement from Schmaltz. On SMU’s official webpage for Fraternity and Sorority life, the school somewhat addresses this question.

“The Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life has received several reports of organized activities and recruitment by social groups who are not affiliated with SMU or the Greek community, including a group self-identifying as the ‘Theta Society,’ and/or ‘The Society’ despite the SMU chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta’s suspension from campus earlier this year,” the statement says. “To be clear, the local Beta Sigma chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta is suspended through at least January 15, 2026, and is not recognized or sanctioned as an active organization at SMU.” This 2026 date technically goes against the aforementioned statement from SMU’s Student Organization Conduct Status webpage, where their suspension date is listed to last until May 15, 2024. 

While the answer of when Beta Sigma will make their comeback is unclear, what is clear is that The Society is here to stay, at least for now. 

Addie Whightsil is a Public Relations student at the University of Oklahoma. Beyond academics, Addie's interests extend to the simple pleasures in life. She has an undeniable affection for juice, savoring every drop of its fruity goodness. Her fondness for Jellycats, those irresistibly huggable stuffed animals, adds a touch of whimsy to her daily life. However, what she really loves is sharing personal stories and life lessons for the internet to read.