Sept 25, 2020 | By Emma Hastings | Illustration by Fred Perticucci
Here is the situation: the former members of Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) at Colorado College love that the organization brought them together, but we can no longer support an institution that has been passive in the rise of Black Lives Matter, nor can we support the racist, classist system of Greek life. Therefore, former members of KKG are creating a local sorority. Last week, twenty-six members of KKG sent in resignation letters to the sorority, and now only four members remain in the Delta Zeta chapter.
Mary Nussbaumer ’22 and Gaby Jadotte ’22 have been heading disaffiliation movements in the chapter for months. Their work included making the petition to disaffiliate, presenting the petition to numerous people, and writing a constitution for the local sorority. Nussbaumer explained that over the summer she was frustrated with KKG’s response to Black Lives Matter. She wanted to post on the chapter’s Instagram but felt held back from Kappa.
“What really did it for me was when I was looking on an ‘Abolish Greek Life at Northwestern’ account. I learned that Kappa Kappa Gamma’s tax returns were invested in nonrenewable energy sources and the Dakota Access pipeline. That’s when I decided I can’t give them any more money. We never fully knew what our money was going into, and when we saw this, it was really a turning point,” she said. After speaking with Kappa, Nussbaumer learned the organization has since divested but had made investments as recently as 2016.
Nussbaumer and Jadotte were not alone in their determination to disaffiliate. Maya De Jesus ’23, who joined in the spring last year, described her reason for dropping. “A lot of people talk about the CC bubble and how Greek life at CC is not the same as Greek life at a big state school, which is true to an extent, but I can’t justify putting my time and money into an institution that is so blatantly unwilling to accept change,” she said.
Catherine Edds ’23, an influential contributor in the letter to KKG pleading them to reconsider their legacy policy, said, “Our chapter decided that we had enough complying with the racist and classist ways of Greek life, and we want to make lasting change. By disaffiliating from the national organization and creating a new chapter, we are able to ground our decisions in equity and inclusion.”
The movement for disaffiliation has faced many challenges: it has received backlash from advisors and the students’ petition to dissolve the chapter was not approved, forcing the members to drop KKG instead. This also has not been a unanimous decision in the chapter; some people disagree, as there are still currently four members in the chapter.
Despite all these challenges, the former members of KKG are looking forward to becoming a local organization. Nussbaumer and Jadotte explained that they genuinely love everyone in the chapter, and instead of putting all their time in KKG to waste, they wanted to make something of it.
Nussbaumer said that she is “most excited to get girls who would never think they would rush or were historically not included in Greek life.” Members gain more autonomy over all decisions for the new group because it no longer has to follow the national organization of KKG. There will be lower dues and a mutual aid fund to allow more socioeconomic diversity in the group. Also, it will have the freedom to choose charities and organizations to donate time and money to, and can get more involved in the Colorado Springs community.
Abbey Russell ’22, former recruitment chair, described her support for going local by citing the discrepancy between “my idea of what CC is and my vision for what CC could be.”
“I believe that a local sorority would appeal so much more to the typical CC student. I’m hoping that, with the momentum that Greek organizations on campus have right now, we can make this year a turning point and change the social life at CC forever, making Greek life more socially aware, less outdated, and most importantly, more inclusive and accessible,” Russell said.
We all know CC is different from other colleges, and Greek life on campus is no exception. Now is the time to reconsider its presence in our community. While I love going to KSIG on a Friday night (though not during a pandemic), now is the time to acknowledge the privilege rooted in Greek life and make lasting change.