The sorority system at the University is flourishing, with one glaring exception. Over the past three years, the University's PanHellenic Council sororities have benefitted from a resurgence in the popularity of Greek life. The number of women national PanHel regulations require each chapter to take has hovered around 50 in the past few years -- a number more than double the size of an average fraternity's pledge class. But fewer than 15 women accepted bids at Kappa Delta this year, less than one third this year's quota of 51. While KD's size is lagging behind the other seven sororities, it is still larger than many of the fraternities on campus, which are free to take any size pledge class they wish. But some members of the sorority system worry that next September's anticipated addition of the Pi Beta Phi sorority -- a move intended to help the entire system -- may inadvertently harm KD. National PanHel rules mandate each chapter in a college's PanHel system take an equal number of pledges. This number is derived from the number of rushees entering the second-round parties divided by the number of houses on campus. By compiling the number of pledges from the other seven PanHel houses and subtracting that number from the total number of pledges, it is possible to estimate the size of KD's pledge class, as the sorority would not release the number itself. According to Tricia Phaup, the director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, PanHel had "359 or 360" pledges this year. Without KD, the other seven sororities totaled 349 pledges. Subtracting 349 from 360 leaves KD with a pledge class of 11 people. KD president Rebecca Schaefer refused to confirm this number yesterday. In 1990, 585 women rushed and 325 accepted bids. KD listed the names of 28 pledges who joined the house in The Daily Pennsylvanian, which fell short of the 47-woman quota by 19. The following year, over 650 women began rush, and 391 eventually pledged. With quota set at 55 women, KD collected 23 bids, 32 below the quota. This year, with the overall numbers for PanHel down slightly, KD saw its class size halved. 622 women began rush this year, and 360 signed bids. Of these, only 11 belonged to KD. Quota, which was set at 51, was 40 above KD's estimated total. This year, though KD ideally comprises 12.5 percent of the University's PanHel, this year's pledge class only makes up 3.1 percent of the total pledges entering PanHel. KD's Schaefer said last week that the numbers aren't very important to the house. "The fact is that we did receive some wonderful people that we're very happy to have," said Schaefer last week. "KD has no problem. We've been on this campus for 70 years, and we'll continue to do well." "We really have no problem with [the situation]," she said. "We'll continue to get people who we like, who are compatible with us." "For us it's not a numbers game," she added. Schaefer, a College junior, said that the system is not a problem either. "It's set up so that every woman who goes through rush has a chance to get in where she wants," she said last week. "It's the only fair way to go about it." Though Schaefer considers the system fair, the addition of Pi Phi might hurt KD, as it could attract some rushees that would otherwise consider KD. "The PanHellenic Council was unified in its decision to bring on Pi Phi . . . it is in the best interest of all sororities," said Debra Frank, newly-inaugurated PanHel president. But Alpha Phi president Christina Usher said she is not sure it is a good idea. "I think it's a tough trade-off," the Wharton senior said. "It's possible KD will be hurt [by Pi Phi's arrival]. We rush as a system so that houses like KD aren't hurt. They've gotten a reputation that they cannot shake, that they don't have a strong house. I don't feel they deserve it, but it's been that way for a while." Others within PanHel are also concerned about KD. "When the decision was made for Pi Beta Phi to come on campus, the PanHel was a lot stronger," said a prominent member of PanHel. Harriet Macht, chairperson of the National PanHellenic Council, said this week that PanHel has an obligation to aid a struggling chapter. "It's the responsibility of the PanHellenic Council to help that house, if they want to be helped," she said. Macht, however, did not say that helping a chapter included keeping other houses from colonizing on campus. OFSA's Phaup contended last week that the addition of Pi Phi would not hurt KD, and that it is important for PanHel, whose chapters are getting too large. By extending the system, Phaup said, chapters would create a "smaller nucleus group," as some houses now have nearly 200 women. PanHel president Frank said bringing on a new house will add to the system as a whole. "The reason we're bringing Pi Phi on is so that women have more houses, and more chapters that they're able to be part of as a sister," said the College junior. Kappa Alpha Theta president Rebecca Foote said Pi Phi's arrival is necessary. "I think it's great [they're coming] since sororities have become more popular over the last few years," said the College senior. But the Theta president said she was not completely certain the new chapter's arrival would achieve its purpose and lower the quota. "[Quota] could go up if Pi Phi was very popular and more women rushed, but I have a feeling quota will go down," she said. Pi Phi's executive director, Virginia Fry, could not be reached for comment. KD's executive director said yesterday that she had no comment. Schaefer said yesterday that she was instructed by her national office not to comment further on her chapter. (CUT LINE) Please see PANHEL, page 5 PANHEL, from page 1Comments powered by Disqus
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