Tufts Sorority Members Protest Transgender Student's Rejection | NECN
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Tufts Sorority Members Protest Transgender Student's Rejection

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Members of Alpha Omicron Pi at Tufts University left the house after the national headquarters a transgender woman was turned away on campus by the national headquarters. (Published Monday, Nov. 7, 2016)

    During fall recruitment, Kristin Reeves says the Delta chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi found the perfect candidate for the sorority at Tufts University.

    "I think she's super interesting, cool to hang out with," said Reeves.

    But Reeves says that quickly changed after the sorority’s national headquarters discovered the student identified as a transgender woman.

    "Headquarters then told us that we were at risk of infringing upon the organization's Title 9 status as a single sex organization," Reeves said.

    So the Tufts junior, along with 46 other members, quit the campus sorority last month in protest. Headquarters eventually said the transgender student could join, but by then, Reeves says the damage was already done.

    "The reality is they threatened to sue us," she said. "They had to question whether or not they wanted to allow a transgender woman."

    Alpha Omicron Pi is based in Tennessee and has 139 chapters in the U.S. and Canada. Courtney West says they do not specifically have a policy on transgender candidates, but they do not discriminate.

    A statement from Alpha Omicron Pi Headquarters claims, "at no point has the chapter threatened disciplinary action and there is absolutely no scenario where these young women will be sued."

    "We're hoping to move on from this event and that we will come with a very well-researched and organized policy in the future," said West.

    The transgender student, who wants to remain anonymous, wrote an op-ed Monday in the Tufts Daily school newspaper outlining her experience and thanking the women for their unified stance.

    "We are friends, we are allies, we are sisters," she wrote.

    Tufts University does not set policy for fraternities or sororities. But a spokesperson says the school is in favor of allowing transgender students to be a part of the Greek system.

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