This morning a student created a Change.org petition calling for the change of this year's Panhellenic recruitment schedule.
With the current schedule, the first day of recruitment conflicts with the National Women’s March on January 19th. The recruitment chair for Alpha Chi Omega, Mackenzie Territo, started the petition that has gained over 500 signatures in two hours. Territo says she's blown away at the attention the petition is getting saying, "when I first published it this morning, I had no idea how quickly it would gain support!"
Territo made the decision to start the petition after discussions in the last Panhellenic delegates meeting on Wednesday with Fraternity and Sorority Life advisors seemed unsupportive of their stance. One person at the meeting says that at the meeting a girl in a sorority asked Coordinator for Fraternity/Sorority Life, Nadir McCoy, if his opinion is that she tells women in her sorority that they cannot go to the march and that they're supposed to make potential new members choose between the two and he said yes.
The petition says that as a “community of women supporting women" they’re asking the university to change the recruitment schedule “so that our sisters, and potential new members, have the opportunity to march if they so choose.” AU Panhellenic Association claims that some potential members families planned trips to come to D.C. for the Women’s March before the recruitment registration opened and now they are uninterested in signing up.
A Panhellenic board member who wishes to stay anonymous said, "The Panhellenic community is a community built on the premise of women encouraging other women and we felt as though the administration was making women choose how they wanted to empower women. There's no reason women should have to choose between marching for what they believe in and becoming an affiliated woman. As you can see on this petition we have 500 plus signatures in two hours, how dare you tell us we don't care."
The AU Panhellenic Association sent a formal letter to the university administration regarding their request for a change in schedule. In their letter, they state that the recruitment schedule was decided before the Women’s March was scheduled and now it is a conflict of their values. They say their recruitment is "values-based" and that one of their primary values is “empowering women.”
One petition signer says the petition isn't about politics, but showing support for women and asking AU to do the same.
In the petition, the AU Panhellenic Association claims that they’ve tried using traditional channels to move the weekend actives but that “the university has limited our opportunity to accommodate both the needs of formal recruitment and the desires of our women.”
They also say in their letter to the university that they submitted three solutions to their problem. One of those potential solutions, freeing up the morning or day of the March. Their letter says they’ve discussed the solutions with “lower-level administration” but was told of inability to book rooms, costs of booking, and availability of staff, as well as administration not believing the conflict, as reasons for not changing the schedule.
The petition started off asking for 100 signatures but has since surpassed that gaining 781 (at time of publishing). Territo is now asking for 1000 at this time. "This petition shows how when women come together and support one another, there’s really nothing that can stop us," Territo says.
We have reached out to the University for comment but have not received a comment. This article will be updated when a response is given.
To find the petition and AU Panhellenic Associations’ letter to the administration, click here.