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An Update on Sigma Kappa's Legacy Policy

After much discussion and thoughtful consideration, national council has voted to eliminate Sigma Kappa’s legacy policy (section I.B of the National Policy Handbook). The elimination of the legacy policy empowers our collegiate chapters to make their own membership selections and gives each PNM an equal opportunity to receive an invitation to Sigma Kappa. This change is effective January 1, 2021 and is consistent with the objective, outlined in our strategic plan, to eliminate barriers to diversity, inclusion, equity, and access (DEIA) at the point of entry and throughout the membership experience. We realize that some will see this as a step forward while others will need more time to accept the change. 

National council came to this decision after reviewing the archives, analyzing membership statistics, consulting with the DEIA committee, and observing the policy in action. As we re-examine our policies and practices through a lens of equity, we recognize that our legacy policy has given preferential treatment to potential new members (PNM) whose relatives had greater access to higher education or were given the privilege to join sororities like Sigma Kappa.   

 

Click here to read the full letter to membership regarding the elimination of the legacy policy.

 

Sigma Kappa Legacy Policy FAQs

 

Why did Sigma Kappa decide to make this change?

National council came to this decision after reviewing the archives, analyzing membership statistics, consulting with the diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) committee, and observing the policy in action. The elimination of the legacy policy means that legacies will no longer receive courtesy invitations or preferential placement on a chapter’s bid list. The existing policy gave preferential treatment based on relationships instead of on an individual's merit and took autonomy away from our collegiate chapters to make their own membership selections. 

We believe in giving each potential new member (PNM) an equal opportunity to receive an invitation to Sigma Kappa. 

This change is consistent with our strategic plan objective to eliminate barriers to diversity, inclusion, equity, and access at the point of entry and throughout the membership experience.  It is also the most frequent request made to national headquarters for changes to our policies.

What was the Legacy Policy previously?

The previous Sigma Kappa policy stated, “A Sigma Kappa legacy should be invited to the first invitational event during primary recruitment. A potential new member with multiple Sigma Kappa legacy relationships should be given additional consideration. She must be invited to round 3 in a 4-round primary recruitment or round 2 in a 3-round primary recruitment.... If a legacy attends Sigma Kappa’s preference event, her name must appear at the top of the bid list.  

The previous Sigma Kappa policy never guaranteed a legacy a bid to the Sigma Kappa chapter.  

Does Sigma Kappa still recognize legacies?

Yes! Sigma Kappa still recognizes legacies as a relative/step-relative of collegiate members and Sigma Kappa alumnae: sister, daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, and niece. 

Can a legacy’s relative still participate in Initiation?

Yes! A legacy may still be pinned by her family member during the Initiation ceremony.  

When does this policy change go into effect?

This policy change is effective January 1, 2021 and should be followed by all chapters beginning with spring 2021 deferred primary recruitment, and for all chapters participating in COB. 

Is Sigma Kappa concerned that eliminating this policy will result in fewer members?

We remain confident that Sigma Kappa’s reputation precedes us and that when young women meet us, they will understand what our sisterhood symbolizes. We also know that sisters, mothers, grandmothers and close relatives will continue to share their cherished Sigma Kappa memories with those preparing for sorority recruitment. The difference is that we will now offer equal opportunities to all women interested in Sigma Kappa by considering membership in our sisterhood based on individual qualifications without any preferential treatment given to those with legacy relationships.

What else is Sigma Kappa doing? Will other Sigma Kappa policies and procedures be evaluated?

One of the goals of our new strategic plan is to model a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible membership experience. To achieve this goal Sigma Kappa will be reviewing all policies and procedures over the course of the next three years through a lens of equity and inclusion as a part of the strategic plan. 

Details for Alumnae

 

As an alumna member, why shouldn't my daughter/sister/granddaughter/great granddaughter/niece be extended special consideration during recruitment?

The bond of sisterhood between family members is unique and very special. Legacies have the privilege of being related to women who had access to Sigma Kappa and benefitted from having our values shared with them. However, it is important that we examine our policies that directly create barriers to membership for those who are not legacies. As a member of Sigma Kappa, we hope that you have instilled our values of friendship, loyalty, personal growth, and service into your legacy and she will allow these values to guide her to her sorority home.

Will I be contacted if my legacy does not receive an invitation back to Sigma Kappa during recruitment?

No, we are removing the mechanisms that necessitated follow upThe removal of the legacy policy allows collegiate chapters the autonomy to make membership selection decisions without the perception of outside influence.

What will happen with Legacy Link?

Legacy Link will be examined to identify ways to introduce our sisterhood to future generations. Until the program has been reimagined and is re-branded, the program will be paused and gifts will not be mailed this fall. 

Should I still submit a Recruitment Introduction Form (RIF)?

All Sigma Kappa alumnae who know young women entering college interested in joining the sorority community should submit recruitment RIFs for them. RIFs have always served a much greater function than tracking legacies. RIFs are a way to learn about PNMs, their interests, hobbies, and topics that will lead to meaningful conversation during recruitment.  

As a recruitment supervisor (RS) or vice president of membership advisor will I receive training about these changes?

Yes! RSs and vice president of membership advisors will soon receive details about a virtual training to discuss and plan for the elimination of the legacy policy.  

Details for Collegiate Chapters

 

What should a chapter do when we know a PNM is a legacy? What if a PNM indicates she is a legacy when registering for recruitment?

The chapter will no longer extend any kind of preferential treatment to legacies during recruitment. All PNMs should be treated equally and given an equal opportunity to join Sigma Kappa. While a PNM is welcome to indicate that she is a legacy when registering for recruitment, this information will not be considered during the membership selection process. 

How does the change to the legacy policy impact Continuous Open Bidding (COB)?

The previous legacy policy stated the following on COB, “During Continuous Open Bidding (COB), a chapter may extend a bid to a legacy at any time after she is approved by the membership selection committee (MSC). If she requires additional consideration, the Sigma Kappa legacy should be invited to the first invitational event during structured COB or two casual COB events. A PNM with multiple Sigma Kappa legacy relationships should be given additional consideration. If she requires additional consideration, a PNM with multiple Sigma Kappa legacy relationships must be invited to round 3 in a 4-round structured COB, round 2 in a 3-round structured COB, or three meetings during less structured COB.” 

No preferential treatment should be given to legacies participating in COB. 

Is it still recommended to have the president or vice president of membership (VPM) meet each legacy?

No, under this policy change that is no longer a suggested practice as legacies should not receive preferential treatment. 

What should my chapter do with recruitment introduction forms (RIFs)? Are they still useful?

Yes! RIFs are still extremely useful tools for chapters to use throughout recruitment. RIFs have always served a much greater function than just tracking legacies. RIFs are a way to learn about PNMs, their interests, hobbies, and topics that will lead to meaningful conversation during recruitment, not a means of giving preferential treatment. 

If our chapter has questions about this change, who should we contact?

Please email Molly Hudgins, director of growth, and inclusion@sigmakappa.org. 

 

If any questions arise that are not addressed within this FAQ, please reach out to inclusion@sigmakappa.org.