Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Alumni ousted from sorority for backing removal of transgender member warn women’s rights are being ‘eroded’

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Two longtime Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters spoke out about being expelled from the organization after they supported a lawsuit to remove a transgender member at the University of Wyoming.

After being affiliated with the sorority for over 50 years, Patsy Levang and Cheryl Tuck-Smith found out they were expelled after fundraising and supporting a lawsuit that aimed to remove transgender member Artemis Langford. 

Levang and Tuck-Smith joined “The Faulkner Focus” on Tuesday to discuss the sorority’s retaliation against them and the importance of providing safe, single-sex spaces for women during their college years. 

“What happened was we decided to speak out, and when the plaintiffs had to disclose their names in the lawsuit, and they were so brave to do that, being young women on a college campus, I thought, if they can be that brave, so can I. So I sent out letters to hundreds of alumni associations explaining what was happening in Laramie, Wyoming,” Tuck-Smith told Sandra Smith on Tuesday. “And I was told I couldn’t do that.”

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The pair is being accused of discrimination and violating the organization’s rules, but Levang said she was shocked that after decades of giving back, she wasn’t even granted a conversation on the matter. 

“I had friends, Kappa friends all over the country, and I did raise a lot of money for the Kappa Foundation at one time, and then to have them come back, and we reached out, tried to have a conversation, no conversation, and [they] kicked me out. I was surprised,” Levang said. “I actually was quite surprised that they went that way.”

In a statement previously released to “FOX & Friends First” on the dismissal, Kappa Kappa Gamma responded: “We do not share information publicly about policy violations that may result in disciplinary action.”

The decision to remove the members came after Kappa Kappa Gamma in August “applauded” a federal judge in Wyoming for dismissing a case against the group over the right of a sorority to choose its members.

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The judge’s dismissal was predicated on the plaintiff’s failure to state any plausible claim and for flinging allegations that were deemed “unbefitting a federal court.”

Former members of the University of Wyoming chapter had sued the national organization in March over the inclusion of 21-year-old Langford into the sorority last year. 

The sorority members alleged in the suit that Langford had “been voyeuristically peeping on them while they were in intimate situations, and, in at least one occasion, had a visible erection while doing so.” 

The case has spurred a national conversation surrounding women’s rights as it pertains to privacy, and more broadly speaking, the definition of a “woman.”

“I think one of the things we need to do is make people aware [that] this is happening,” Tuck-Smith said. “So many people are not aware of the language that leadership has put in the policies, not the bylaws, but the policies, that we don’t discriminate. We take women and people that identify as women, and I think we need to educate people that our women’s rights are being eroded.”

Levang echoed Tuck-Smith’s sentiment, arguing the experience of female college students needs to be protected as they begin to navigate their young adult life in those critically formative years. 

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“The one thing I couldn’t do as a young person was enter into the sports world because there wasn’t Title IX. And there’s a carve-out for Kappa in Title IX to have a single-sex experience,” Levang said. “We fought that battle at Harvard, and we won and kept our single-sex base, and now we’re at the point where we’re having to regain that ground, and we’re not going to quit until we regain the ground.”

Independent Women’s Law Center attorney May Mailman, who joined the pair during “The Faulkner Focus,” said “women deserve to have sororities” and argued those spaces should be protected. 

“These are women who are at the beginning of their careers. They know that they’re going to have to go to future employers. They don’t know who they are, and their names are going to be out there, so this is extremely brave,” Mailman said. “But they were able to do it in part because of the alumni support.”

“What Kappa is doing is they are punishing anyone who supports these plaintiffs in order to squash dissent,” she continued. “That’s the opposite of the point that sororities were trying to do, which is give women leadership opportunities, give women a voice.”

FOX News’ Joshua Q. Nelson, Yael Halon and Charles Creitz contributed to this report.

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