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For week ended February 06, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Most LDS Institutes to Dump Greek Letters in Fall
Kent Larsen 3Feb00 D3

Many of the LDS Church's Institutes of Religion will discontinue using the two 'greek letter' organizations this fall, replacing Lambda Delta Sigma and Sigma Gamma Chi with the Institute Men's Association and the Institute Women's Association on campuses that don't have other Greek-named fraternity and sorority organizations.

The changes have already been announced at some Institutes of Religion where the changes have been made, and Institute Directors have given various reasons for the changes. Speculation on the reasons include a dislike for the greek system among some Institute Directors and the 'party' image often associated with greek-letter fraternities and sororities. Mormon News was not able to confirm that the 'rushing,' pledges, ceremonies, pins, etc. associated with the two organizations have been eliminated.

Lambda Delta Sigma and Sigma Gamma Chi have existed in one form or another since 1936, when former LDS Institute Director Lowell Bennion started Lambda Delta at the University of Utah. The organizations have spread since then to many colleges and universities as social organizations associated with Institute.

In response to Mormon News' query about the changes, the LDS Church's public affairs department released the following statement:

Organizational Changes in LDS Fraternity and Sorority
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Public Affairs Department: 3 February 2000

Beginning fall semester 2000, the Church Educational System (CES) will implement organizational changes in its fraternity and sorority programs that serve young single adults enrolled in institutes of religion in the U.S. and Canada.

The changes are intended to use the positive elements of these organizations to more effectively meet the needs of young single adult members of the Church, including new converts, as well as reach out to those who may be less involved in Church activities. The changes will also increase the opportunities for spiritual fellowship and provide for greater participation in leadership, service, and social activities.

At most institutes of religion the "Institute Women's Association" will replace the Lambda Delta Sigma sorority and the "Institute Men's Association" will replace the Sigma Gamma Chi fraternity. Membership in the new associations will be open to all institute students. Lambda Delta Sigma and Sigma Gamma Chi will continue to function on some campuses where other Greek-named fraternity and sorority organizations exist.


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