AnnCatherine Heigl, a George Mason University student with Down syndrome, applied for membership to eight sorority chapters at the school and did not get into a single one. Now, her older sister Lillie Heigl is taking action.
After hearing that her sister AnnCatherine was “released” from eight different sororities at George Mason, Lillie took to Twitter to express her disgust that such a thing could happen.
Stating that there were less than 300 women vying to gain entry into the eight GMU sororities this year, Lillie Heigl said that she refused to “believe that based on these numbers there isn’t a single chapter that had a spot for AnnCatherine.”
My sister who has Down syndrome went through @GMUPanhellenic sorority recruitment this weekend and her experienced has left her feeling unwanted and devastated. Here is my response to their Greek Life pic.twitter.com/pzNSFRz8uA
— Lillie (@lil_heigl) September 17, 2018
My name is Lillie Heigl and I am AnnCatherine Heigl’s older sister. AnnCatherine was released from recruitment Sunday morning and is upset, as can be expected. For the sake of transparency, so am I. Greek life has been a huge part of my family. My great grandparents, grandparents, parents and my brother and I have all been members of the Greek system. I was a Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Missouri (where I graduated from in May) and my mom was a Tri Delta at ASU. Despite the act that our chapters don’t exist at GMU, we were both SO excited for AC to go through recruitment. I hoped she would find the love, support, and growth that I experience in my own chapter when she went through at GMU.
When I moved out of state from Indiana to Missouri, Theta was a huge part of me finding a home away from home. AnnCatherine did what many typical students don’t have the courage to do, she moved 10 hours from home. Her high school friends who have heard that she was released are absolutely shocked and amazed that NONE of your chapters wanted her as a sister. They are shocked and amazed that there wasn’t a single chapter that could provide that home away from home that so many of us need,” Heigl’s statement read in part.
In her statement, Lillie says she believes AnnCatherine was not “extended a bid because she’s a woman with a disability.”
The Mason Panhellenic issued a statement about Heigl’s situation on September 19, saying that they “recognize that people have been harmed by the decisions of our members, and we are committed to engaging all communities in dialogue on these issues to do better in the future.”
However, despite their statement, the council is not able to “dictate our chapters’ membership or the process of selecting new members.”
— Mason Panhellenic (@gmupanhellenic) September 19, 2018