Preferential Treatment of Legacies in Recruitment: Your Questions Answered

Following months of thoughtful evaluation, in-depth discussion and careful review of our policy and member perspectives shared in the recent survey regarding preferential treatment of legacies, Gamma Phi Beta’s International Council (IC) decided to eliminate the preferential treatment of legacies during recruitment, effective fall 2021. The elimination of preferential treatment of legacies during recruitment allows every potential new member to have an equal opportunity to receive an invitation to join Gamma Phi Beta.


What preferential treatment is given to legacies during recruitment?
Our recruitment procedures previously stated that legacies (the daughter, step-daughter, granddaughter, step-granddaughter, sister or step-sister of a Gamma Phi Beta) would automatically advance to the second round of recruitment, and should they attend the final/preference round, automatically be placed at the top of a chapter’s bid list. As of fall 2021, this procedure will no longer exist.

Can potential new members still note that they are a legacy on their recruitment forms?
Yes. Potential new members are welcome to mention their legacy status, but chapters will not be able to give them preferential treatment in recruitment based on that status, nor will they be able to discriminate based on this status.

Isn’t the special consideration of our legacies a way to honor the legacy makers?
Even with this intent we know that for as many sisters who are happy about the way this practice impacts their legacy, just as many are hurt when their legacy is not extended membership. We believe there are more meaningful ways that honor legacy-makers and legacies throughout a lifetime and not just during the membership selection process.

What does this mean for legacies? Are they no longer important in Gamma Phi Beta?
They are every bit as important. We simply are not going to maintain systems that exclude some members in favor of others. International Council (IC) will convene a task force to develop new and meaningful ways to celebrate the relationship between legacies and legacy makers. This task force will be chaired by Nancy Ann Thompson (Iowa State) and Kendra Bocher (California State-Long Beach). If you’re interested in participating in that task force, applications will open in January of 2021.

Is this just a trendy political move?
No. Throughout Gamma Phi Beta’s history, we have taken steps to continue to make our sisterhood more welcoming and inclusive. This is one more important step forward toward belonging and inclusion. The arc of our inclusivity is long, and frankly, slow. It is also imperative. There was a time when only Christian women were allowed in sororities, a time when black women were not allowed and a time when LGBTQIA+ members were not welcome. At each of these crossroads, we were faced with a choice that seemed difficult and controversial at the time. We believe this sisterhood has been greatly enhanced by Gamma Phi Beta choosing time and again to open our arms wider and wider to welcome all women who share our Gamma Phi Beta values.

Is this the only change happening regarding equity in recruitment?
No. This is not the only change that will happen relating to equity in recruitment. The Belonging and Inclusion Committee will present a comprehensive plan to IC in March 2021. That plan will be available to our members in June 2021.

What else is Gamma Phi Beta doing to promote belonging, equity, diversity and inclusion?
International Gamma Phi Beta’s current focus relating to Belonging and Inclusion can be found on the Priorities and Action Plan page.

Additionally, on February 20, 2021, Gamma Phi Beta will host its Belonging, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (BEDI) Summit. Registration opens in January 2021. To learn more about the day’s schedule, pricing and keynote speakers, visit

We also recommend you review our Anti-Racism Resources.

Who received a link to the legacy survey?
The survey was shared with more than 10,000 members via email. These members were selected due to their engagement with our email communications, opening at least 10% of the emails they receive from Gamma Phi Beta. The survey was also accessible to all members who follow Gamma Phi Beta on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Nearly 3,000 members participated in the survey.