ZBX to dissolve in December
Zeta Beta Chi sorority is announcing today that it will dissolve on Dec. 10, and all its assets will be donated to charity.
In a column published in The Dartmouth, ZBX President Rebecca Josephson '99 writes that the house ran into financial barriers because of low membership, which impeded its programming and sponsoring ability.
The sorority, which currently has 15 members, lost its house at 43 North College Street this summer when the College closed it down for cleaning after mercury was discovered in the basement. The house is still closed.
ZBX held its rush parties this fall in the Blunt Alumni Center and at Chi Heorot fraternity.
The six sophomores who intended to pledge ZBX are free to rush another sorority next term.
"Based on my discussion with [Panhellenic Council President] Cynthia Anderson earlier this year ...we agree that they would be released to winter rush," Josephson said.
Tracy Davis '01, who is currently in ZBX, said she will probably rush again in the winter.
"The fact that we felt that we had to disband is kind of hard," Davis said. "It's hard to rush when there's only seven people in a house," she added, saying most sororities could have a member talk to one or two prospectives, while ZBX members had to talk with six people at a time.
The sorority was originally founded in April of 1985 as Alpha Beta. It became a national sorority, Delta Gamma, in 1986. In 1997, it was re-formed with its current name Zeta Beta Chi.
The house had a large pledge class of 42 in 1992. In 1993, when Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority first formed, all sororities saw small pledge classes. In 1994, what was then called DG gained only 14 members. An alternate rush process in 1995 brought in just eight members. In 1996, the DG gained 11 new members, the highest pledge class the sorority has seen in the last three years.
Seniors who are officially members of the national version of the sorority cannot join another house, but juniors who are only members of the local group can. Josephson said she would emphasize the sisters have not had time to formulate plans yet and may not want to join another house.
In her statement, Josephson writes that "the campus did not embrace our switch from national to local affiliation in the summer of 1997."
The College owns the building on North College Street and is responsible for deciding how to use it in the future.
Anderson said she knew "discussion had been going on, but it's their decision, their membership ... they did not want to include me in it."
In regards to starting a new seventh Panhell sorority, Anderson said, "I think that if we were to start something new, we would have to have an interest from the '01 women who didn't join or from the '02 women."
Josephson said no plans have been made for the future yet because official changes, such as in the sorority's bank accounts, will not occur till Dec. 10.
"It hasn't really happened yet -- Dec. 10th -- it's' not here yet," Josephson said. She said the assets will definitely go to an as-yet unspecified charity.
"We wouldn't feel right about taking the money -- so much of our focus has been on philanthropy," she said.
The dissolving of Zeta Beta Chi reduces the number of Panhellenic sororities to six -- further unbalancing the ratio of fraternities to sororities. There are currently 14 fraternities recognized by the College.
Josephson said she and her housemates will be reapplying for on-campus housing and hope to continue living together in any situation.
Acting Dean of Residential Life Mary Liscinsky said she had not received official word about the house's dissolving. Assistant Dean of Residential Life Deborah Reinders was unavailable for comment.