Making Women's Voices Heard in the AU Panhellenic Community

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Rachel Hopmayer
Rachel Hopmayer signed this petition

Making history in 2017 as the largest single-day protest in American history, the Women’s March is a profoundly impactful women-led movement that strives to bring women of diverse backgrounds together to celebrate one another and encourage social change. This year, on January 19th, 2019, American University's Panhellenic Recruitment conflicts with the 2019 Women's March in our nation's Capitol. As a community of women supporting women, we strongly ask the university to change the schedule of recruitment so that our sisters, and potential new members, have the opportunity to march if they so choose. We, as the women of this community, are dedicated, passionate, thoughtful, and caring women who simply want to give one another, and potential new members, the opportunity to stand for ourselves and support other women. Through each organization’s values and our philanthropies, we continuously strive to make a difference in our community both here at AU and in DC, while empowering and supporting one another.

Please consider signing this petition in support of this community of women and our demand for change from American University. For more information, please see our formal letter to the university below.

Letter to the University Administration

To whom it may concern:

American University’s Panhellenic community has found themselves in an ill-fated situation in regard to their spring formal recruitment. This January, women from throughout the country will be ascending on Washington, DC to fight for female rights and resist oppression at the annual Women’s March. During that same weekend, Panhellenic has scheduled their yearly formal recruitment to introduce students to what our community has to offer. Under the current schedule, the rigid requirements of our days mean that Panhellenic women would not be able to attend the march. Scheduling decisions regarding our spring formal weekend were made prior to the Women’s March being scheduled, and now both the community and potential members are being deprived the opportunity to support each other’s values this year at the March.

American University Panhellenic practices a values-based recruitment, meaning that sororities do not hang decorations and only recruit based on the values and ethics of their own sisterhood and the beliefs of potential new members. One of the primary values both in our community and throughout campus is empowering women. We have made efforts through traditional channels to move our weekend’s schedule, but red tape with the university has limited our opportunity to accommodate both the needs of formal recruitment and the desires of our women. We ask that the administration hears our below concerns and attached potential solutions for the conflict.

The Women’s March not only presents an opportunity for women in the community to express their values and ideals, but it allows for individuals to meet with their families and friends to bond over similar morals from their homes. Many of these families have planned their trips well before recruitment registration was released, and thus they are uninterested in signing up. On a more general note, potential new members are apprehensive to join a community that does not support their values, particularly values affecting women in an all-female organization. On the flip side, current members are uncomfortable recruiting when this opportunity has been stripped and little has been done to address the concern. The Panhellenic Creed states that our organization “will stand for service through the development of character.” We feel as a group that the University is inhibiting our ability to develop sisters’ character by limiting our rights to both attend recruitment and the March.

We as a community ask the University to consider one of the three proposed solutions we have attached. These solutions have been discussed with lower-level administration, with answers including inability to book rooms, costs of booking, and availability of staff members. The success of our organizations for the future is contingent on a strong recruitment this January, and we have all been diligently working throughout the year for this weekend. We ask that the University considers collaborating with us to make one of these solutions possible, and continue to empower our campus and give them the right to express their values both on and off campus.

Thank you for your consideration.

American University Panhellenic Association