Kappa Alpha Theta to close Ole Miss chapter at semester’s end
Published 12:45 pm Monday, November 5, 2018
The Grand Council of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity has notified members of Ole Miss’ Epsilon Zeta chapter that the sorority will be closing at the end of the semester.
Members of the Ole Miss chapter were notified of the closure on Friday via an email from Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity President Mary Burgett Wushinske.
In the email, Wushinske cited low recruitment numbers for the chapter as a reason for closing.
“In the past two years, Epsilon Zeta has received 17 visits from Theta volunteer officers, staff and educational leadership consultants to assist with recruitment, chapter operations and finance issues. Yet, as explained in a letter earlier this month, current college membership in Epsilon Zeta is significantly below Panhellenic total, and results from this fall’s primary recruitment were discouraging,” Wushinske said in the email. “The closing of a college chapter is a painful experience for Kappa Alpha Theta, and we know it is especially difficult for the college and alumnae members of the chapter, who feel a profound sense of loss.”
However, while the chapter’s closing has been announced, the University of Mississippi said in a statement that the school has asked Kappa Alpha Theta to reconsider its decision.
“This decision was made without consultation with UM senior officials and is a disappointing development for the university, given the chapter’s good standing and active student leadership on campus,” Ole Miss said in a statement. “(The University) will continue to advocate for an alternative solution, although the authority to withdraw the chapter charter rests solely with Kappa Alpha Theta at the national level.”
The decision to close the chapter impacts 270 members, including sorority’s current pledge class.
The chapter will remain open until the completion of the fall semester. The sorority house will remain open until May 12, 2019 and those currently residing in the house can remain until that time.
Students living in the residence can also elect to move out of the house and be released from their rental license.
Sorority members will become unaffiliated students, but can become alumnae in good standing upon graduation from Ole Miss.
Kappa Alpha Theta’s pledge class is scheduled to be initiated on Nov. 10, and members of the class may choose to continue with initiation or to be released from their pledge and ensuing membership. If a pledge elects not to be initiated, all dues will be returned.
Though there are no immediate plans for Kappa Alpha Theta to return to Ole Miss, a question an answer document for members of the chapter said that the option is available.
“We will work with the university to determine if a membership growth plan is an option. A reestablishment proposal, timeline, and conditions for the return must be mutually agreed upon by Theta and the College Panhellenic Council. Pursuant to the Fraternity Bylaws, the Fraternity will hold assets for up to 20 years for the reestablishment of the chapter,” the document read.