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AST Becomes Delta Sigma Nu: Beloit’s Newest Local Sorority

 UPDATED INFORMATION: As of Feb. 7, one day after this article has gone to print, the Office of Residential Life has requested to clarify the following : “DSN will not be’ remain[ing] in their house’ as it has been classified as a residence hall, nor are they ‘continuing their local association on campus,’as DSN has never been formally recognized or associated with any other national organization. ResLife has classified the building as a residence hall, with the members of AST who signed a housing contract will be allowed to stay for the rest of the contract.”

On Jan. 12, President of the Delta Nu chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau, Natalie Dekker’23  announced that the chapter would be leaving their national chapter before students returned from winter break. According to the original Facebook post in the Beloit Student Group, the national organization, which has existed on Beloit’s campus since the 1990s, no longer represents their values and interests. 

  “The chapter has been growing in a different direction for the last ten years. Members have mused about the possibility of going local in the past but we finally got the gumption to do it last semester,” Dekker said in an interview via google docs. The idea started amongst the executive board, and once it was discussed and brought to chapter members in a two-hour emergency meeting, the decision to become local was unanimous. 

  The college does not yet recognize DSN as an official greek house or campus organization, but the process of becoming so is in the works. Dekker says the process is very complicated and nuanced. DSN has been in contact with Beloit staff members to make this happen, including CEO of Alpha Sigma Tau Jim Paponetti, Dean of Students Cecil Youngblood, Director of Residential Life Ryan Shamp, Residential Life Coordinator and Greek Life Advisor Andre Fortin, and  Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Frank McKearn IV. Beloit does not currently have a protocol for establishing new Greek organizations in place, but Mckearn and Fortin are working on putting one together. DSN will first obtain an official club standing, and from there they will work with Interfraternal Panhellenic Council (IFPC) to become a legitimate Greek organization. Dekker says chapter members are “so much happier and so much more united than we were before.”

  “The national organization has prevented us from being as inclusive as we want to be by marginalizing our members who do not identify as heterosexual women,” says Dekker via Facebook. While the Beloit chapter has tried to enact change from inside the organization, the toll taken on queer members, especially their nonbinary and trans siblings, was not worth the small changes that took months to bring about.

  Dekker acknowledged the expensive costs of participating in a national sorority, and the inaccessibility that creates. The high dues have created socio-economic issues, which also intersect with racial inequity. “We know that we cannot claim that we are striving to be anti-racist and anti-classist if we are complacent in excluding low-income students,” says Dekker. The now Delta Sigma Nu chapter also took issue with requirements to send representatives to a yearly national convention. These trips reportedly cost the local chapter over $5,000 to attend. While it was expected to be split among fourteen members, the amount could really only cover 3 members.

  In separate posts that were shared by several DSN siblings, the chapter provides further examples of instances that misaligned with the values of their chapter. These lists include: Not allowing financial aid for new or returning members, claiming to bring change in light of Black Lives Matter on social media, but not following through, and refusing to shift language from “sister” to “sibling” on a national level. In a meeting with Paponetti, he told the Sigma Nu chapter they were not allowed to let nonbinary individuals into the organization.

  Alumni have had mixed reactions. Some were upset, but for the most part responses were “overwhelmingly positive.” Many have been actively involved with the current members and want to continue to be. “Many have said this is the most engaged with the chapter they have ever been as an alum.” 

  Dekker concludes the original post with a few logistics. The chapter is now Delta Sigma Nu, continuing their local association on campus. DSN will remain in their house on College Street. The post ends with “We strive to work towards a better campus community through these actions and look forward to a new start on campus this semester.” It is signed “The members of Delta Sigma Nu.”

  In a secondary Facebook post on Jan. 15, Dekker provided additional information in a series of infographics titled “Who is Delta Sigma Nu.” Ambition, Justice, Scholarship, Vitality, Siblinghood, and Altruism are stated as the chapter’s values. Their symbols have also changed. DSN is represented by a dragon mascot and their new flower is the Yellow Gladiolus. The new chapter includes over fifteen leadership positions and requires ten hours of community service per member. While DSN cannot hold official recruitment events, they hope to host themed informational events, where they will be looking for new members. They will also be contacting and inviting people who they believe will be a good fit in their community. 

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