The University of Miami chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity was suspended for two years Saturday, effective May 2015.
The Delta Kappa chapter had found it challenging to maintain competitive recruitment numbers for more than a decade, according to an email statement by Elizabeth Bailey, vice president of KKG nationals. The chapter has 82 initiated sisters and 35 new members.
“Kappa arrived at this decision with a heavy heart, having worked closely with the chapter to provide the highest level of on-going support,” she added.
Bailey says that chapter operations will remain in place through the end of the semester, and the sorority will grant each undergraduate member alumna status later this spring. KKG hopes to reestablish the Delta Kappa chapter in 2017.
The announcement came without warning to the university, according to Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs.
“The University of Miami is outraged and deeply disappointed regarding the decision of the Kappa Kappa Gamma national officers to suspend the current chapter,” Whitely wrote in an email statement. “The decision is extremely, educationally disruptive for the women at this time of year [due to midterms], to say nothing of the timing during the end of Greek Week.”
Whitely says the university will work with Kappa sisters and new members “during this difficult time.” UM will explore available options with the Kappa national office.
Dean Tony Lake, who advises the Panhellenic Association, felt a mix of emotions when he heard of Kappa’s suspension.
“Can’t say that I’ve ever had a professional experience that was as heartbreaking, made me so disappointed in a national organization, and so utterly proud of a group of students – all at the same time – as today,” Lake posted on Facebook.
Jessica Bryant, a Kappa alumna who joined in 2010 and graduated in 2012, was disappointed with the suspension.
“They may be able to temporarily disband our chapter, but they cannot take away my experience and the long-lasting friendships and love I have as a result of KKG,” Bryant said.
Established in November 1938, Kappa has been involved with philanthropy while at UM. In October 2014, the event “Kick it with Kappa” raised funds for the sorority’s national partner, Reading is Fundamental, a nonprofit fighting child illiteracy.
The sorority also made weekly visits to kids in local community centers through a program called Reading Buddies. Kappa would read stories to the kids.
“The Fraternity is proud of the women of Delta Kappa Chapter and the contributions they have made to the University of Miami community,” Bailey wrote.
Members of the sorority were unable to speak the Hurricane. The Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity must approve any participation in local, regional or national media.