Harris said the decision was made by the National Council through extensive deliberation, research, legal consultation and discussions with higher-education and sorority/fraternity life thought leaders. While this does not change the national membership standards, Harris said this means thinking differently.
“We recognize that for some of our sisters, embracing this position means adopting a new mindset and as our understanding of gender identity evolves, so must Alpha Chi Omega,” Harris said.
Georgia McCoy, a member of Alpha Chi’s executive board at UNC, said she could not speak on behalf of the chapter here.
Erin Witt, a national spokesperson for Alpha Chi, said they could not respond to every media request.
Alpha Chi is not the only sorority readjusting policy to be more inclusive.
Kimberlee Sullivan, the international president of Tri Delta, said in a statement that Tri Delta is committed to supporting and serving women. Tri Delta is leaving the decision up to the individual chapters.
“At a time when society is wrestling with questions about how the changing concepts of gender identity impact traditional distinctions between men and women, we support our chapters as they make individual membership decisions involving students, based upon the best interest of those individuals and the chapters,” Sullivan said.
She said Tri Delta will continue to evaluate their policies.
“Nationally, our Inclusion Task Force continually reviews our policies to ensure we are living up to our purpose by assisting our members in every possible way,” she said in the statement.
Sara Morris is the president of Phi Sigma Pi, a gender-inclusive national honor fraternity. She said they decided to move away from their coed tagline and become gender inclusive about two years ago.
Morris said Alpha Chi’s decision to add inclusivity to their policy is a big step forward.
“I think it’s awesome ... the more groups on campus who move toward not othering people who identify as not the binary genders, that’s definitely progress” Morris said. “Sororities, especially since they are so tied to tradition, taking that step forward is really a great thing.”