MacKenzie Dreeszen, who currently works as a fundraising consultant for the Polk County Republican Party,  told Caffeinated Thoughts that she had her alumi status revoked by her sorority, Delta Phi Delta, at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa because of her pro-life views.

Dreeszen participated in a protest of Planned Parenthood that occurred after the Center for Medical Progress released several videos linking Planned Parenthood to the practice of harvesting fetal tissue for profit.  She posted about it on Facebook, “220 people are here in Des Moines protesting taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood…not exactly something that you can ignore #‎alllivesmatter‬‪#‎defundPP‬ ‪#‎ProtestPP‬.”

mackenzie-dreeszen-fb-post

In a previous post she shared the picture below with the caption, “Pro-life rally to stop funding Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars‪#‎PPsellsbabyparts‬ ‪#‎alllivesmatter.”

pp-rally

A debate ensued in the comments section of her posts with several members and alumni of the sorority, Delta Phi Delta, she belonged to jumping in. “My participation in the conversation was minimal aside from ‘liking’ a few of the comments from my conservative friends,” Dreeszen told Caffeinated Thoughts.

The next day, a Delphi alum who graduated a year before I did started sending me nasty messages that were personally attacking me, my friends, and John (Dreeszen’s fiancée), calling him a murderer because he served in Iraq and Afghanistan and because of some false allegations brought forward by John’s ex-wife.  I tried to defend myself and John, but realized that the situation was too emotionally charged and I blocked my friend,” Dreeszen said.

Six weeks later, Dreeszen received the following email from the Cornell College chapter of Delta Phi Delta:

Good evening,

  I am writing to you on behalf of the Triumvirate of Delta Phi Delta to inform you that you have been taken to Judicial Board based on the disregard for Article III Section ii Subsection ii:

 “Members should respect each other and the group.”

  You were given a trial and the Judicial Board decided that the best course of action based on offenses was revocation of Alum status. With this punishment you will no longer be allowed to attend Delphi events and the removal of the word “alum” on your family line will be active immediately. 

   While the Judicial Board was unanimous in this decision you have the right to appeal this decision and it will be taken to the group to vote on. If this is the course of action you choose to take; you must respond to this email by noon on Monday, October 5th. If you choose to accept this punishment an acknowledgement through email would be very much appreciated. 

Thank you for your time.

– The Triumvirate of Delta Phi Delta, 

          Sarah, Carly, and Kathleen 

Dreeszen replied:

Dear Sarah, Carly, and Kathleen,

     I am responding in regards to the decision of the judicial board.  As a former member of the judicial board I am familiar with the due diligence that must be followed when there is a formal complaint.  I whole-heartedly reject the validity of any decision that you have made and do not waive any form of relief.  I was not informed of any facts or circumstances of the complaint, only that a decision was made by the judicial board.  Whatever conclusions the board has reached are completely void because they are in violation of the Delphi constitution.

     Furthermore, for the board to “unanimously” conduct a trial in violation of the constitution is also a violation of the constitution itself and warrants a trial for the members of the judicial board.  If that is the case, I am making a formal complaint against those members.

     When disciplinary action is required by the judicial board, the accused has the right to be notified of the offense for which they are taken to the judicial board, and furthermore, the accused individual has the right to defend themselves against the allegations that were brought forward.  I was not told why I was being brought to the judicial board, and I was not awarded the opportunity to refute the charge.  I have contacted Gwen Schimek about the decision of the judicial board, and I hope that we can resolve this issue.

     Again, I don’t even know what circumstances you are referring to with this contact.  If it is a misunderstanding that we can just drop then that would be something we should do as sisters.  It seems like some emotional decisions were made but the conclusions at this point do not matter because they were not conducted in accordance with the constitution.   Please send me more information and let me know if you think this is just a misunderstanding or if you are deciding instead to accept my formal complaint to the members of the judicial board that conducted the unconstitutional proceedings. 

     -MacKenzie Dreeszen

They responded:

Good Morning, 

   While we recognize your concerns and are apologetic in the fact that you are unhappy in the way that the preceding was handled the decision has been upheld by a majority of the group to revoke your alum status. Judicial procedure is set for actives only. As an alum, precedent has not been set, therefore through an executive decision between the Triumvirate and Judicial Board the trial proceeded as aforementioned. 

   For ultimate clarity the reasons that this decision was made was based on a multitude of reasons which are listed below. 

    1) On more than one occasion you “liked” the comments made against sisters past and present on social media including those that were personally attacking to some of them. 

    2) You disrespected multiple members of the sorority both past and present when attention was called to racist remarks and no action was taken to correct these statements. 

    3) You have expressed the idea that you no longer consider yourself a member of Delta Phi Delta. 

    4) You were brought to judicial board for the violation of Article III Section ii Subsection ii by multiple actives and alum as they felt disrespected by your conduct both on and off social media.

   You are no longer upholding the ideals of Delta Phi Delta which is overwhelmingly unfortunate. As members of Delta Phi Delta we pursue the goal to accept differing ideas and listen to viewpoints differing from our own. Within our crest is the book which represents learning and knowledge with which the key, that only Delphis have, should be open to new ideas and learning from each other and mutual respect for said ideas. You were not put on trial for your beliefs, but rather the disrespect you showed to sisters with differing beliefs and opinions than your own. 

    “The purpose of this Greek Group shall be to build self-confidence, to nurture creative thinking, and to promote leadership through respect, service, and unique governing opportunities.”

   Unfortunately your alum status will remain revoked. You will not be allowed at Delphi group events, will have the word “alum” removed from your family line, and will be removed from social media groups as a member of Delta Phi Delta. 

   We hope that in the future these offenses can be forgotten by actives and alum and that friendships will remain. 

Thank you for your time.

– The Triumvirate of Delta Phi Delta, 

          Sarah, Carly, and Kathleen 

The racist remarks in question was the use of the hashtag “#AllLivesMatter.”

Dreeszen contacted Angie Bauman Power, the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Life at Cornell College, who informed her that her office “doesn’t get involved in Greek disputes.”  She then sent the following letter to the Greek Council at the school.  It was also shared with Power who passed it along as well.  Dreeszen was told that the fraternities and sororities would be reviewing their constitutions this academic year.

To the Members of the Greek Council,

     I am writing to you today to inform you of inappropriate action taken against me by the Delta Phi Delta Sorority at Cornell College.  In an email dated October 1, 2015, they informed me that my “alum status” was being revoked and I “will not be allowed at Delphi group events, will have the word ‘alum’ removed from (my) family line, and will be removed from social media groups as a member of Delta Phi Delta.”  I was not given information to the events surrounding this decision, nor was I afforded an opportunity to defend myself against whatever charges were brought against me.  I was given until 12:00 PM October 6 to respond.  It was only after that reply that I was given any information about the charges.  (See attachments.)

     Article III, Section iii, Deactivation, Item 2, Subsection vii of the Delta Phi Delta Constitution states that, “If the group decision results in removal, the Triumvirate in conjunction with the Judicial Board will draw up a formal letter of reasons for deactivation.  A special meeting to discuss the matter will take place with the individual.”  Not only has the Triumvirate and the Judicial Board not offered to meet with me, but they have not been willing to listen to any defense that I might offer.  I would also like to add that the Judicial Board is for active members only.  There is nothing in the Delphi constitution about disciplinary action for alumni, meaning that an alumna can neither be taken to the Judicial Board, nor may they take another alumna to Judicial Board, and this ruling is therefore in violation of the constitution and bi-laws of Delta Phi Delta. 

     I was deactivated from the group for political views that differ from those of the members of the Triumvirate, Judicial Board, and the alumna who initiated the complaint.  For over a year, I have been working as a professional Conservative activist, and this has sparked some controversy between me and my friends.  In other words, this is a simple case of discrimination for voicing opinions in opposition to these individuals. 

     I would add that the situation to which they referred was a public Facebook post and not meant to offend anyone.  Several members of the Delta Phi Delta group made comments about the post that were very derogatory not only to me but to my fiancé and professional acquaintances as well.  One individual even referred to my fiancé’s military service as “the murder of innocent people.”  Many of my current associates joined the discussion, adding inflammatory comments.  I refrained from public comments that were of a personal attack nature against individuals sharing in the discussion.  At one point, I made a private comment to one individual that this individual chose to misinterpret and inflate. 

     I was brought to the Judicial Board for being “disrespectful to the group or another member”, yet in reality, both my professional colleagues and I were the ones who were publicly disrespected by members of the Delta Phi Delta group.  I chose not to take action against these members, however, because I thought that we were sisters who supported each other even when we disagreed, and I did not want to spread conflict within the group.    

     I have no desire to be part of immature squabbling and drama.  However, the action against me was taken because I espouse Conservative viewpoints that are not popular with several members of the Delta Phi Delta group.  I still have many friends in the sorority and I am saddened to think that a group that I was so active in and did so much for during my time at Cornell would be so narrow-minded as to take action without hearing my point of view. 

     It is my belief that the crime for which I am being convicted without a hearing is the crime of being a Conservative.  I do not speak out simply to have the decision of the Triumvirate reversed, but to demand that there be a warning to hopefully prevent adverse action against others with dissenting opinions from being discriminated against for holding those opinions.  I fear for those who come after me if freedom of speech is so easily squelched.

Respectfully,

MacKenzie Dreeszen

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