Chapter presidents of all National Panhellenic Conference sororities with University charters received a letter dated Jan. 20 on behalf of their national and international sorority presidents requesting the chapters refrain from participating in the 2015 fraternity Boy’s Bid Night.
Tammie Pinkston, international president of Alpha Delta Pi, cited potential safety issues on bid night as the reason for asking sororities to abstain from the night’s fraternity events.
“We believe the activities on Men’s Bid Night present significant safety concerns for all of our members and we are united in our request that the 16 NPC sororities not participate,” Pinkston said.
Pinkston said that following a “tumultuous” fall semester, it was important to use the Greek system as a springboard for change — a transition she said she believed should start with bid night.
“The Inter/National Presidents are committed to taking steps to educate and reinforce our standards and risk management policies with our chapters,” Pinkston said. “We will also be working with the Inter-Sorority Council through their NPC area advisor, Beth Searcy, to reinforce the necessity of being a collaborative partner with the university to address unacceptable behaviors in the community. We want to begin with the 2015 Men’s Bid Night activity.”
Pinkston also said she thought it was not the place of sororities to become involved in bid night, just as it is not their place to participate in fraternity recruitment and rush.
“The NPC has a policy stating that our organizations will not participate in Men's Recruitment, which includes marketing (for example, T-shirts),” she said. “We think it is up to the men's group to recruit their members and celebrate those new members on their Bid Night, just as all NPC Sororities do.”
Incoming Inter-Fraternity Council President Ben Gorman, a third-year College student, said Boy’s Bid Night has never been an official fraternity-sorority event.
“One thing to clarify is that girls’ sororities have never participated officially in Boy’s Bid Night,” Gorman said. “This is not a fraternity-sorority night. Rather, it is a night where fraternities celebrate the wrapping up of rush, and invite their friends to come celebrate.”
In subsequent emails relaying the news to University sorority members, Inter-Sorority-Council chapter presidents said all sorority-affiliated clothing will be prohibited and the night will be treated by the ISC like any other weekend night. Failure to follow the NPC’s guidelines for the night will be met with consequences. The NPC did not specify what these consequences would entail.
Gorman affirmed that any parties taking place on Boy’s Bid Night will comply with the revised Fraternal Organization Agreement implemented Jan. 16.
“As Tier I events, you’re not going to see people in droves walking house to house,” Gorman said. “You are going to see strict enforcement of a guest list, and security at every door.”
Pinkston said she and other sorority presidents hope University chapters would use additional measures to prevent members from participating in bid night occasions, suggesting they organize alternative events with full sisterhood participation.
“We encourage you to plan alternative sisterhood events with expectations of full chapter participation,” Pinkston said. “It will be very important for the 16 groups at U.Va. to stand united in this.”
The Inter-Sorority Council has not released a statement regarding the request. Because the Inter-Sorority Council organizes and regulates University chapters but does not report to sorority nationals — which is the responsibility of individual chapters — news of this request was sent to chapter presidents and not the ISC.
National Panhellenic Conference sororities with university chapters include: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Gamma Phi Beta, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Delta Tau; Sigma Kappa, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Sigma Sigma and Zeta Tau Alpha.
— Julia Horowitz contributed to reporting for this article.