Essay: Dear Kappa Delta: Read the Room

Alexis Hodo | The Phoenix

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Dear Kappa Delta,

In the last few days of International Women’s Friendship Month, I’m having difficulty understanding how one social media post is diminishing the relationship myself and many others have with Kappa Delta (KD) sorority. The sorority that gave us leadership, friendship and a better understanding of values has seemingly forgotten what it stands for in the wake of the Supreme Court nomination process.

With the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sept. 18, a supreme court seat is left empty for President Donald Trump to fill. With only a little over a month left before the election, Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

On Sept. 28, the official KD Twitter account congratulated Barrett, an alumna, in a now-deleted post.

Alexis Hodo | The Loyola Phoenix

“While we do not take a stand on political appointments, we recognize Judge Coney Barrett’s significant accomplishment,” the post said.

While the post has been deleted, damage within the sisterhood has already been done. On Sept. 29, KD issued an apology statement stating they didn’t intend to enter a political debate. 

While this post gives me some reassurance that the sorority is understanding of its mistakes and will move forward with more integrity, this post is only still visible on Facebook and Twitter, not Instagram. Additionally, Coney Barrett is now forever associated with KD and has single-handedly rattled KD from the inside out. 

After months of working hard toward diversity and inclusion and in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, you’ve chosen to take a political stance, causing a divide amongst your members.

Myself and other sisters refuse to sit back and support someone who doesn’t support bodily autonomy and rights for women.

While I understand what’s empowering to one person may not be empowering to another, basic human rights is not a matter of opinion. No one person’s sense of empowerment that comes with having those rights should be taken right out from under their feet. 

You know what empowers many women? The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires most healthcare plans to cover contraception. This gives women — and men — sexual freedom. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to benefit from this. Certain employers, or your parent’s employers, can deny insurance coverage for birth control, like mine does.

Barrett has held critical views of Roe v. Wade due to her abortion opinions. She’s also been publicly critical of the ACA.

Making it harder than it already is to gain access to contraception will only take away a woman’s power over her own health. Birth control is used for other purposes besides preventing pregnancy. Women go through awful side effects just to have safe sex or treat chronic migraines, abnormal menstrual cycles or endometriosis

Barrett, who consistently adjudicates against bodily autonomy, doesn’t uphold the values of KD. KD consistently preaches honor, beauty and truth, but Barrett’s history as a judge shows these values fell on deaf ears.

In my chapter at Valparaiso University, being sisterly is more than buying a sister a coffee without asking or helping them brush the snow off their car. Being sisterly is about being the shoulder to cry on after a breakup or death in the family, no matter what time it is. It’s about prepping a sister for a big interview or encouraging her to even apply in the first place. It’s about walking to the counseling center with a sister when you know she can’t find the strength to do it herself.

It’s about being there emotionally. Barrett’s anti-woman beliefs and rulings make her emotionally unavailable for thousands of women in the country.

KD teaches its sisters the power of confidence and how to bring it out in others. Barrett’s beliefs go against that by trying to strip women of their confidence and own ability to make autonomous decisions. 

I spent more than three years in KD being taught to use my voice, to be confident and live with integrity while holding others accountable – it’s no wonder I feel so passionate about Barrett’s five minutes of KD fame.

Without the connection and confidence KD instilled in me, I wouldn’t be writing this article.

If there was ever a grieving sister, or a sister in need of compassion and support, it was Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, member of the Beta Chi chapter of KD.

During Trump’s last Supreme Court nomination, now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was accused by Blasey Ford of sexually assaulting her. Blasey Ford, the target for political memes and hatred during her media heavy trials, was also a KD.

Unlike Barrett, Blasey Ford didn’t receive any recognition from National KD, commending her on her bravery for speaking out against sexual assault. 

Only 20 percent of female student survivors ages 18-24 report their assault, despite this demographic being at an elevated risk for sexual assault. In choosing to remain silent over Blasey Ford, KD sent a message of complicitness in the sexual assault epidemic plaguing college campuses.

This is embarrassing – and I am embarrassed. 

While Barrett isn’t yet confirmed for the position, this isn’t her first time being nominated to a federal judicial appointment. Trump considered Barrett before Kavanaugh in 2018 and Trump himself has promised to appoint “pro-life justices.” Trump predicted the Roe v. Wade ruling will be overturned and Barrett has the mindset to do so.

This vacancy represents a pivotal voice as it would likely be a sixth conservative vote on the court, making it plausible there will be a majority to overturn Roe v. Wade outright.

This isn’t the KD woman I want representing that name. I’m ashamed that KD publicly grouped Barrett with KD knowing she’s not a woman looking to empower other women; rather, she’s looking to see other women lose their basic human right to bodily autonomy. 

That’s not very AOT of you, Amy.

So KD, what’s next? How can we move forward from this situation and rebuild the relationship with the sisterhood? The first step is listening to your members. The purpose of human rights is to protect all people and that doesn’t need to be political.

As women of KD, we should want to work together and work harder to secure those rights for all. How can we as members provide opportunities and experiences that foster personal and professional growth for a lifetime if human rights aren’t a part of that conversation?

Let’s start by honoring the women who I can actually say I am proud to be sisters with. Alumnae engagement is needed now more than ever and KD has quite a few notable sisters. 

Claudia J. Kennedy, notably from the same Alpha Delta chapter as Barrett, is the first and only woman to have received a three star general rank in the United States Army. 

Ashling Kelly Preston was selected as a legislative aide for the U.S Senate, conducting extensive research on education issues.

Jennifer Rebecchi Lee  wrote and directed “Frozen” and “Frozen 2” in addition to credits in “Moana,” “Wreck it Ralph” and “Zootopia.”

KD is also home to many successful pageant women such as Delmy Hernandez, Cara Mund and Lexie Marie Iles.

KD, I think it’s time to have more spotlights on these women, please.


Alexis Hodo

Zeta Psi, Valparaiso University ‘20

Correction: The original version of this piece incorrectly stated the current president’s term was over next month. The president’s term does not expire until 2021 next year, and the story has been updated to reflect that.

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