A vote will be held to potentially reinstate the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, which has been suspended from Ohio State since 2015. | Credit: Lantern file photo

For the past two years, Kappa Kappa Gamma has been absent from campus following its suspension in 2015 for hazing and alcohol use after a 19-year-old new member was struck by a car while intoxicated near the KKG house.

KKG’s suspension will expire on May 7, making them eligible for reinstatement in the 2018 Spring Semester. However, the vote to decide on reinstatement for the sorority includes an incentive for some to vote yes.

A vote will be held Wednesday evening that could bring KKG back to campus, while simultaneously opening the door for OSU sorority life to expand in size.

The vote, consisting of elected delegates from each of the 17 Panhellenic Association-governed chapters, will ultimately determine whether KKG will return in Spring Semester 2018. Should that answer be yes, expansion will start with the reinstatement of the sorority, per a recolonization agreement created after its suspension.

This agreement requires KKG to be the first sorority chapter — new or returning — to be colonized on campus if OSU and PHA delegates seek to expand in house numbers. Should the delegates vote not to reinstate KKG, the Panhellenic community would be unable to expand and the issue would be brought back to the table next year.  

“In 2015, the Panhellenic community, so all of our delegates, voted to have Kappa Kappa Gamma be the first considered to return after their suspension ends,” said Kate Butler, associate director of Sorority and Fraternity Life. “So they made that decision to have Kappa Kappa Gamma be our next group that comes to campus.”

Butler said that due to the agreement, the next chapter to be added on campus has to be KKG.

“Per the agreement the students decided on, they would not be able to welcome another chapter to campus because they agreed that the next chapter that would be welcomed to campus will be Kappa Kappa Gamma,” Butler said.

While a public records request by The Lantern to obtain the suspension agreement between the university and KKG was not fulfilled by the time of publication. Butler said in addition to serving their two-year suspension, KKG was required to complete “structural and educational components” prior to their potential return.

These components were not clarified.

“So Kappa has completed all of their plans for these things,” Butler said. “Obviously, though, they need to have members to educate in order to finalize all of their educational things, but that is typical to occur while they are back on campus.”

The vote to expand comes following a growth in Greek life participation — the average chapter size within the Panhellenic community is currently 199, up from 177 in 2015 with the average pledge class size at 62, up from 56 in 2015.

KKG would begin recruitment in the Spring 2018 Semester should the chapters vote to bring back the sorority. However, formal recruitment restrictions would not apply, which is the case when new sororities are brought on campus.

“They will be recruiting ideally up to the same size as every other chapter,” Butler said. “So while every other chapter is recruiting approximately 60 women, they would be recruiting approximately 200 women.”

KKG would therefore host an extended recruitment process, which will occur two weeks following Panhellenic bid day. The chapter could then participate in formal recruitment the following year.

Gamma Phi Beta and Zeta Tau Alpha both recolonized at OSU in recent years and followed a similar suit in recruitment guidelines. The sororities did not participate in formal recruitment and began seeking new members after formal recruitment bid day.

Butler said that while the prioritized recolonization agreement Kappa Kappa Gamma has has not occurred previously at OSU, “We utilized agreements that other campuses are using per NPC, which is the National Panhellenic Conference, regulations.”

The last members of KKG’s spring 2015 class — the last group of girls to be formally recruited prior to the chapter’s dismissal — were not initiated before the suspension. They will be eligible to rush KKG next year if they have not been initiated into another sorority.