Memorial University says that fraternities and sororities are not allowed on campus, after cancelling a student event last-minute on Monday morning.
“I was shocked. And i’m not going to lie, I was angry,” said Beckie Gardner, a member of the sorority Nu Delta Mu.
“I just feel like this is discrimination against Greek life without any real reasoning.”
Nu Delta Mu had planned a charity clothes swap on campus for last Monday.
The group booked the Landing in the University Centre on March 3, more than a month before the event.
However, at 10:50 a.m. on Monday—six hours before the event was scheduled—Nu Delta Mu received an email informing them that they were no longer allowed to host it.
The booking manager of the Landing told them she saw the group was a sorority and that MUN “does not allow these types of groups to use our space.”
The MUN student union has denied ratification to fraternities and sororities on the basis that male or female-only groups are inherently discriminatory.
The university itself, however, did not outlined a clear policy on ‘Greek life’ at the time. A search of MUN’s policies and procedures database yielded no results for “sororities” or “fraternities.”
When the Muse requested an interview, MUN provided the following statement:
“Fraternities and sororities are not permitted on campus. In this particular case, the student space was initially booked for April 4 by unnamed students. On the day of the event, it became clear that the sorority was the host of the event. As events hosted by sororities or fraternities are not allowed on campus, the space booking was cancelled.”
Nu Delta Mu members say they clearly distinguished the name of the group on their booking form.
Stereotypes inaccurate, says Gardner
Gardner says that stereotypes about sororities are grossly inaccurate. She says Nu Delta Mu is just “a group of girls that get together and try to give back to our community.”
She said her sorority does not participate in hazing, and frequently holds fundraising events for different charities. This semester the group raised more than $1,000 for Planned Parenthood and spent Easter Sunday cooking dinners at the Ronald McDonald House, said Gardner.
“I feel the stereotypes surrounding greek life here at MUN are ridiculous. They’re just so Americanized and so negative that nobody gives an open mind to it,” she said.
On its website, MUN says the Landing’s “primary use is for students and student based activities.” However, MUN has also allows groups not ratified under MUNSU to book the space.
Canadian Blood Services, an outside organization, frequently hosts blood drives in the room.
Gardner says that it’s hypocritical that the Canadian Blood Services, which does not allow homosexual men to give blood, would be allowed to book the Landing, but not her sorority.
Cancellation ‘not right,’ says sorority member
Regardless of motive, Gardner says cancelling the event last-minute was wrong. The swap was a non-profit event, and all the leftover clothes were donated to charity.
“It wasn’t like it was a disorganized thing. We had so much done for this already and then they just cancelled it last minute on us? That’s not right,” she said.
“MUN is supposed to be inclusive space. And it’s supposed to promote students giving back to the community. And then they go ahead and do things like this.”
Nu Delta Mu still managed to host their clothes swap after finding a room last-minute in the Chemistry Building.