The Delta Gamma sorority member whose expletive-laden email drew national attention last week has left the organization.
The Delta Gamma Fraternity, the sorority’s parent organization, “accepted the resignation” and denounced the junior student in a statement posted on its Facebook page Wednesday evening.
“The tone and content of the email was highly inappropriate and unacceptable by any standard,” the posting read. “As all reasonable people can agree, this is an email that should never have been sent by its author. Period.”
“For the young woman who wrote it, we can only express our regret and concerns for landing notoriety in this manner,” fraternity officials wrote.
Wednesday night’s statement marks the climax of a rough week of bad publicity for this university’s Delta Gamma chapter.
Chapter President Rachel Norris declined to offer any additional comments to the organization’s official statement.
The email, leaked April 18 to news blog Gawker and other outlets, was an expletive-ridden tirade criticizing the organization’s members for a poor performance at Greek Week events. The author called them “boring” and “awkward” and threatened violence.
It was originally sent out on the chapter listserv by the chapter’s Greek Week chair, but the anonymous source who leaked the email to the press was not a member of the sorority, according to Gawker.
Within hours of the Gawker posting, the email received more than 1 million page views. As of last night, the page had more than 3 million views and almost 300,000 Facebook likes.
Over the next few days, blogs and Internet commenters picked apart the email, posted screenshots of the author’s Twitter account and photos of her and eventually revealed her identity, which The Diamondback withheld to protect her privacy.
The website for this university’s Delta Gamma chapter was hacked that afternoon and replaced by a GIF image of a chicken spinning in a disco, links to pages on topics such as Mike Tyson and Kim Jong-Un and the email’s full text.
Jon Stewart referenced one of the more colorful expletive threats included in the email on The Daily Show. People around the country — including actor Michael Shannon on FunnyorDie.com — began posting videos of themselves performing the email as a monologue.
Following the email’s release, the Delta Gamma fraternity assigned a team of members to assist with what they called a chapter issue, according to the organization’s Facebook page.
An investigation by the fraternity and this university’s Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life determined the email to be legitimate, though officials denounced it as the voice of one member and incongruent with the values of Greek life and Delta Gamma.
Delta Gamma does not release the details of its judicial processes, but governing documents for the organization and the DFSL indicate chapters are required to have a judicial system, including an honor board, which the email author was a part of at this university. Organization members are usually asked to refrain from speaking about the issues under review.
The chapter will not face punishment from the national organization, this university’s Panhellenic Association or the DFSL, officials from the organizations said.
Both the PHA and the Interfraternity Council offered their support in the aftermath. Michael Sikorski, IFC external relations vice president, told The Diamondback last week that the IFC had reached out to member fraternities to remind them to be responsible.
The DFSL does deal with inappropriate emails from time to time, but usually not on this scale, said Matt Supple, DFSL director.
“I’ve worked here for 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this happen,” Supple said. “To be quite honest, I’m surprised by the amount of media attention — I’m not sure it warrants it.”
Many students are probably comfortable hearing or using such language with their friends, Supple said.
Supple said DFSL would not be punishing the author either, as it found no indication that “the student would really assault anyone.”
The role DFSL workers normally provide in similar situations is mostly advising support, Supple said, making sure all involved parties have access to the right resources and information to remedy the situation as smoothly as possible.
Despite the negative publicity, the chapter received an outpouring of support from the Greek life community. Some groups made supportive signs, and members of Sigma Nu, Delta Gamma’s partner fraternity for Greek Week, sent an email supporting the Delta Gamma women to the organization and The Diamondback. A post on the Maryland Compliments Facebook page also commended Delta Gamma on Wednesday night.
Outside the Greek community, the ordeal inspired a wide range of responses. Some students said they found the email funny, while others said it only confirmed their negative perceptions of fraternities and sororities.
Heather Leary, a sophomore physiology and neurobiology major, went through formal rush last year, but dropped out halfway through after deciding it wasn’t for her.
“The leaked email didn’t really change my opinion on sororities and why I dropped out of rush, since it was only one girl in one sorority,” Leary said. “But it definitely didn’t make me regret my decision.”
“I mean, why pay so much just for some girl to tell you who you can talk to and where you can go?” she added.