Quest to bring Greek life to Dixie pits school officials against would-be sorority

Published: Thursday, Oct. 31 2013 10:30 a.m. MDT

"There are potential legal ramifications if we were to allow or encourage this new group in using copyrighted trademarked symbols which belong to another national organization — especially after blatant plagiarism," Beatty said.

Beyond that, Beatty said representatives from the National Panhellenic Conference, a national support organization for sorority life in the U.S., have voiced disapproval to him concerning Klabanoff's efforts, which have not followed the organization's guidelines for Greek expansion.

As for claims that the students have a constitutional right to organize Greek communities that are recognized by the university, Beatty said his conversations with the school's legal counsel and the Utah Attorney General's Office indicate otherwise.

Klabanoff said she isn't trying to link her startup sorority to any national organizations; that would be up to future members to decide. She said she simply wants to establish a local club that is branded with Greek letters and is recognized by the school so members don't have to pay to rent rooms for campus events, can participate in the university's "merit money" program, and can take their place among campus organizations.

Klabanoff and her unofficial sisters are currently planning a "Pillars in the Community Women's Career Conference," which will take place on Dixie's campus in November.

The controversy has some of the group's 19 members feeling anxious, she said, but so far most have been supportive about the crusade to bring Greek life to the school and have deeply enjoyed the companionship and support they have found in one another.

Beatty maintains that Dixie has no intention of interfering with the group's right to associate and build friendships, and if they would just drop the Greek letters, they would likely be awarded club status, he said.

"It is my opinion that if this proposed new group at Dixie would simply change their name and charter under non-Greek letters and stop referring to themselves as 'Dixie's new sorority,' there would most likely be no issue or problem with them being approved and chartered," Beatty said.

But if students insist they want to be part of Greek organizations on campus, he says the solution is simple: Go to a school that has them.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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