Last week, University of Maryland Delta Gamma sorority member Rebecca Martinson's abusive, hostile, chapter-wide email rant exploded on the internet, perpetuating every negative stereotype about Greek life that you can think of. Martinson, who, berated her sisters for being "f-cking AWKWARD f-ggots," was apparently upset with the way the women of DG were carrying themselves during a weeklong Greek event with the men of Sigma Nu, and she reacted like a rage monster, to say the least:
"For those of you that have your heads stuck under rocks, which apparently is the majority of this chapter, we have been F-CKING UP in terms of night time events and general social interactions with Sigma Nu. I’ve been getting texts on texts about people LITERALLY being so f-cking AWKWARD and so f-cking BORING. If you’re reading this right now and saying to yourself 'But oh em gee [Rebecca], I’ve been having so much fun with my sisters this week!' then punch yourself in the face right now so that I don’t have to f-cking find you on campus to do it myself."
That's just a small excerpt of her long, homophobic, wildly inappropriate and abusive rampage, which went viral last week, so the sorority girl has reportedly resigned from the chapter, according to the Delta Gamma Facebook page:
"Delta Gamma has accepted the resignation of one of its members whose email relating to a social event has been widely distributed and publicized through social media and traditional media channels.
The tone and content of the email was highly inappropriate and unacceptable by any standard.
No matter who released it to the public or how it reached such a mass audience, the email content should not reflect on any sorority woman in general or any fraternal organization at large.
This is a regrettable action by a college junior – a personal email that is now on view for a global audience. And as all reasonable people can agree, this is an email that should never have been sent by its author. Period.
This email should not be depicted in any way as standard or routine or tied to any official sorority voice. It is not an official voice or message and should not be construed as such.
For the young woman who wrote it, we can only express our regret and concerns for landing notoriety in this manner.
We now consider this matter closed."
I'm the first to admit the email was horrendous, not to mention further confirmation that I made the right move to opt out of Greek life in college despite the fact that practically everyone in my immediate family was in a frat or sorority, but it's my hope that Martinson's whole life isn't destroyed by this single email.
For those of you who are out of college, think about this: did you ever do anything stupid during your undergrad days? Something shameful that you're not proud of? At the beginning of my junior year, I found myself in a grouchy mood and wrote an article for my college publication that offended so many people, some called for my resignation. I received email threats and was harassed and publicly shamed even by fellow staff members. It was tough, worst of all because I didn't feel everything I said I felt in my column. I remember thinking I was going to be punished forever for an article I wasn't particularly proud of, and that no one wanted to see me other than the girl who'd upset some folks with my 600-word article. None of the good work or highly lauded columns I'd produced mattered to anyone. A single article made them want to demonize me forever and be their punching bag anytime they needed someone to direct their anger at.
That was almost five years ago, but earlier this month, a colleague brought up the article I spent my final years of college trying to forget, as he'd heard about it from a mutual friend who'd been joking that I've been a huge firebrand since college. My demeanor immediately changed. I reacted with hostility and began to cry. Why did this single thing I did as a 20-year-old continue to follow me? I'd worked so hard to put it behind me, and others were still mocking me for it.
What I wrote was nothing like Martinson's email, which is most certainly unacceptable to send to anyone, let alone sorority sisters you supposedly love like family. Martinson should have known better than to talk like that and use slurs, but I don't think it was right of the internet to shame her in the way that it did, and I don't want her to think the rest of her life has to be defined by this single email. If anything, she knows to be more careful with the way she presents herself on social media and online, and hopefully she realizes there's more to life than a poorly executed Greek event.
She left the sorority, and she's doing the right thing by going dark. Once the dust settles, she should release a statement of apology, and hopefully she will be able to rebuild from there. You may not like her (she doesn't sound like someone I'd want to hang out with, and I'm certain I'm too "f-cking AWKWARD and boring" for her), but I don't think she should be punished forever for this, at least if she shows some remorse once the interwebs is finished chucking stones at her.
Agree or disagree? Let me know on Twitter: @LauraDonovanUA