Founded in 1917 at Cornell University, Sigma Delta Tau is “a national sorority committed to Empowering Women”. During the height of the women’s suffrage movement, the sorority came into existence to battle discrimination against Jewish women. Today they aim to empower women “worthy of the highest precepts of true womanhood, democracy and humanity.”
On their website, the sorority boasts having 64 active chapters across the nation, one of which is at Kent State University in Ohio, home of the now famous graduation photo of Kaitlin Bennett. Bennett, the Grassroots Director of Liberty Hangout and staunch gun rights activist, wanted to make a statement about the university’s gun policies upon graduating last weekend, which allow guests to be armed on campus but not students. She returned to the university hours after graduation sporting an AR-10 rifle, with her cap reading “Come and take it”, and the photos have since been seen all across the world.
Bennett quickly became victim to death threats on social media, with her inbox being flooded with messages after the photos went viral. An acquaintance of Bennett’s posted sensitive information of her whereabouts on social media, potentially endangering her life amidst the death threats. Bennett contacted Sigma Delta Tau to ask if they are okay with a women’s empowerment sorority member endangering the life of another woman, and they told Bennett that this is a Kent State issue, not a Sigma Delta Tau issue. They also informed Bennett they didn’t care to know the name of their member endangering Bennett’s life, and that they would not talk to her about it.
Bennett told Liberty Hangout, “This is not women’s empowerment- it is bullying and putting my safety at risk.”
Bennett also told Liberty Hangout that members of the sorority have told her in the past that Sigma Delta Tau has harsh consequences for members who post photos of themselves drinking on social media. She is baffled that the sorority would do nothing about a member who is endangering her life.
Liberty Hangout reached out to Sigma Delta Tau for comment, and they transferred us to the executive director to leave a voicemail. When we called back a second time, they hung up on us.
Support Kaitlin and her #CampusCarryNow initiative by ordering a t-shirt here.