New sorority will replace Xi Kappa Chi

| 5/4/93 10:00pm

The Panhellenic Council, the governing body of Dartmouth's sororities, last night passed a resolution to dissolve Xi Kappa Chi sorority.

The council plans to establish a new local sorority, tentatively named Kappa Delta Epsilon, which will be officially recognized starting next Fall.

Xi Kappa Chi has been plagued by low membership and financial difficulties in recent years while other sororities on campus are bursting at the seams.

Last term Associate Dean of Residential Life Deb Reinders told Xi Kappa Chi that if it did not get more money and more members, the sorority could not continue occupying its large College-owned house on Webster Avenue.

Xi Kappa Chi President Cheri Pinkerton '94 attributed her sorority's weak condition to a vicious cycle in which women were hesitant to rush a sorority with dwindling numbers, dropping the numbers even more.

Representatives of Phi Mu, a national sorority, visited the College in April to consider inviting Xi Kappa Chi to affiliate. Affiliation with a national sorority can provide a house with a larger financial base and award scholarships to women who are otherwise unable to afford sorority membership.

But Phi Mu's national council voted against starting a Dartmouth chapter and members of Xi Kappa Chi said they were not interested in national affiliation, leaving the fate of the house up to the Panhell.

Phi Mu voted down the proposal after reviewing reports about the situation at Dartmouth, according to Sherri Schmidt, Phi Mu's national extension director.

"We do not have many, in fact no, alumnae in the area, and that is a key ingredient for establishing a chapter. We could not give the full support to the chapter that we like to give," Schmidt said.

After hearing Phi Mu's presentation, Xi Kappa Chi sisters found their interests conflicted with those of the national, Pinkerton said.

"They claimed that they were promoting women's issues, personal growth and individual choice," she said. "We felt though that many of their policies inhibited personal freedom, and we did not feel that we could, in good conscience, affiliate with an organization we did not support."

Plans for the new sorority were not developed until efforts to gain national affiliation fell through.

The project to create a new sorority was the brainchild of members of Xi Kappa Chi, according to Pinkerton. She said the formal plans are the result of a joint effort between the sorority, Reinders, Dean of Residential Life Mary Turco and the Panhellenic Council.

"It has always been one of our options, but we put together no concrete ideas until we realized that it was not in our best interests to affiliate with a national," Pinkerton said.

Architects of the new sorority said they hope Xi Kappa Chi's problems will not carry-over into the new sorority.

"The only relation between the two is the physical plant. Hopefully, there will be no crossover," Pinkerton said.

The proposed name, Kappa Delta Epsilon, contains a letter from the name of every other campus sorority, "showing the unity" of the Panhellenic system, according to Katy Horner '94, president of Delta Gamma sorority.

Ultimately the name of the house would be determined by the new sorority's members, Horner said.

"This will just strengthen the entire sorority system. Currently, there are five strong houses and one relatively weak one," Panhell President Rachel Perri '94 said. "It will be better for the system as a whole if more women are involved and they are more spread out."

While proposals for the new sorority have not been finalized, Panhell is moving forward with the plans.

Perri said finalization of the plan in part depends upon the interest level of prospective sorority members.

To help the new house, unaffiliated women, including members of the Class of 1996, who commit to the new sorority this spring will not have to go through a fall rush period, Perri said.

She added that she hopes there will be a fall rush for the new house as well.

"I think it gives unaffiliated women at Dartmouth a fabulous chance to get involved with an organization from its inception and to provide women with leadership opportunities," Perri said.

There will be a sorority information night on May 11 to describe plans for the new sorority.

"The purpose of the meeting is to explain to the '96 women what the Panhellenic Council is all about and to explain the rush process for Fall term," Reinders said.

At a later date there will be a meeting for all unaffiliated women interested in the new sorority, Perri said.