More than half of the members of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority at Tufts University in Massachusetts quit over the parent organization's discrimination against a transgender woman, ABC News reported.
The 19-year-old student attempted to join the chapter in September only for Alpha Omicron Pi International to respond by saying it would need to "hold off" admittance until it could check its policies.
"In not having the policy, the default is to not allow her to join," Kristin Reeves, a former president of the chapter, told ABC News. "To me that action is transphobia. We refused to hold off. We decided to extend her a bid."
In a statement, remaining members of the sorority wrote AOII International had become concerned the admission of the woman would violate rules exempting it from Title IX, and that it could face "legal consequences" or dismissal from the National Panhellenic Conference, an umbrella group of sororities. However, they say the woman was eventually allowed to join the sorority after consultations with lawyers.
"At no time was the chapter threatened with disciplinary action or to be sued," Courtney West, AOII International assistant director of public relations, said ABC News.
Members of the sorority contested AOII International's characterization, saying the group's hesitation was the reason 40 to 45 members of the sorority have called it quits.
"They said that they didn't want us to extend her a bid, basically," Reeves said to McClatchy. "They were like, 'Well, we're not saying you never could, we're just saying right now you can't.' I was really mad about this, as was the rest of the chapter, so we unanimously decided to give her a bid anyway."