Sororities miss out on greek living

Housing options at Linfield College are not represented equally among both genders.

Linfield College has many opportunities for students when it comes to academics, athletics and study abroad options.

The college in almost all ways fulfills its motto, “The power of a small college.” However, it may not be as liberating as it portrays to the community and students, females especially, because of the unequal housing opportunities for Greek students.

The Greek system at Linfield has a lot of pros, but it’s hard to get the positives out because of the infrequent negatives.

However females going through sorority recruitment have unequal housing options compared to the males going through rush week.

Currently there are four fraternity houses and no sorority houses.

There isn’t one specific reason as to why sororities on campus don’t have the same housing options available to them as the fraternities.

After asking a handful of students on the McMinnville campus, both in Greek Life and not, it was clear few people knew why sororities don’t have houses.

The most common misconception was McMinnville has a law that prevents sororities from having houses because they would be considered a brothel.

Sororities wouldn’t be considered a brothel if they got a house. Currently, there is no law in McMinnville that prevents sororities having a house like fraternities.

Other misconceptions revolved around Linfield’s policies.

Sorority girls mentioned that Sigma Kappa Phi, a local sorority, can’t have a house off campus. Despite the fact that the local fraternity, Delta Psi Delta, has a house off campus.

Jeff Mackay, Director of Residence Life at Linfield, gave insight about the reason behind sororities not having housing. Mackay narrowed it down to one thing, the cost factor.

“Sororities could do it if they had the funding…. at this point they choose not to, or financially can’t,” Mackay said.

Expenses for purchasing a house or property and making it livable for at least 20 people, is estimated at $400,000-$600,000 for each sorority.

This isn’t completely accurate. Even if the sororities on campus have enough money to purchase a house, they wouldn’t be allowed to because of a Linfield College rule.  

According to senior, Brita Gaeddert, prior president of panhellenic council, Linfield has a rule that requires all sororities to have a house if one has a house.

One sorority that has a bylaw in their governing rules that says they can’t have a sorority house.  Since one sorority, Sigma Kappa Phi, is legally bound by their bylaws at the moment to not have a house, all of the sororities are unable to pursue housing.

When asking Dan Fergueson, director of activities, about the situation, Fergueson said there are no rules by the college that’s preventing them.

Later Fergueson said there was a rule, it is unclear whether it is written or spoken, that said all of the sororities would need to get a house.

Fergueson said that the local sorority could get rid of the bylaw, in their governing documents, that prevent them from having a house, if they were to fight for it. Fergueson admitted it wouldn’t be an easy process.

Females want the off campus housing, at least the option available to them. The demand is there.

The first steps that need to be taken are to remove the bylaws from the local sorority. Without removing those laws, Linfield’s policy on equal housing will keep sororities from moving forward.

There are advantages to living off campus for sorority girls. The sisters would be able to self-govern because they wouldn’t have Residence Advisers.

In addition, fraternities don’t have the same tuition for housing as Linfield College housing; it is a set price that can be more or less than what students on campus have to pay.

If sororities had a house they could potentially make attending Linfield more affordable by keeping payments lower than what on campus housing requires.

Money is a huge issue, but even Shannon Doering, president of Phi Sigma Sigma, said that if they took this project on and reached out to alumni that they could accomplish it. So far no one has looked into it.

Not only could housing benefit sororities’ family lifestyle and foster a community, it is beneficial for your first welcoming experience to Linfield, to get to know your sisters extremely well earlier on.

“It would be extremely different to live with them, than to see them once a week at chapter meetings,” Doering said.

Chapter rooms in Miller Hall are dwindling in space. Gaeddert even expressed concerned if fire codes are being met.

“At 6:30 p.m., we aren’t all going to get out with 88 girls in that room,” Gaeddert said.

A small change could be asking the school to set aside a sorority dorm building; each floor is a sorority.

That way there is a transition, to allow girls start learning how to self govern and be in charge of their own living area.

Rachael Gernhart / For the Review

Rachael Gernhart can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com