Former Kappa Sorority Members Sue After Trans Member Fast-Tracked To Leadership

A Wyoming woman and five more from other states are suing the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority for allegedly fast-tracking a transgender alumnus into leadership positions, including national president. The complaint reads “Most members remain unaware that the candidate is a man.”

CM
Clair McFarland

February 02, 20244 min read

Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Tracey Nadzieja
Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Tracey Nadzieja (Courtesy, One n Ten)

A Wyoming woman and five others from other states have filed a fresh lawsuit against the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, accusing it of fast-tracking a transgender alumnus member into leadership positions, including possibly national president.

The new lawsuit has different plaintiffs from one filed by six members of Kappa’s Wyoming sorority chapter in the spring of 2023, but it forms a sequel to that earlier lawsuit because it also accuses the sorority’s leadership council of violating the group’s own bylaws by unilaterally redefining the word “woman.”

The six sorority members who sued last year accused KKG of breaching its duty to them and violating its governing rules by inducting male-to-female transgender member Artemis Langford at the UW chapter.

The six current and former sorority alumnae who sued last week accuse KKG of those same wrongs and more, primarily for inducting a transgender alumnus and fast-tracking that member to leadership positions without telling the national sorority’s other members the new alumnus is male.

Though the lawsuit complaint doesn’t identify the alumnus by name, The Washington Times identified the individual as Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Tracey Nadzieja.

Nadzieja has applied for a leadership position ahead of an April 2024 election and could even become the next sorority president, the complaint alleges, adding, “Most members remain unaware that the Candidate is a man.”

The complaint also claims Nadzieja has fewer qualifications under sorority leadership rules than other female candidates competing for those positions. 

Nadzieja did not immediately respond Friday to a voicemail requesting comment.

KKG Accuses Plaintiffs Of Harm And Falsity

KKG leadership in a Friday email to Cowboy State Daily promised to defend against the lawsuit, and called it the “latest baseless attempt by plaintiffs to use the judicial system to spread lies, take away an organization’s rights and hurt individual members.”

KKG accused two of the plaintiffs — Patsy Levang of North Dakota and Cheryl Tuck-Smith of Laramie County, Wyoming — of violating KKG’s policies and spreading “false and misleading claims” to harm members and the sorority.  

“We will not allow these efforts to undermine our organization’s rights or harm our members,” the statement says.

It points to a 2015 fraternity council position statement that sought to extend membership to “individuals who identify as women” – issued before the current fraternity council members now being sued were elected.

Lastly, the statement notes that Wyoming federal Judge Alan B. Johnson sided with KKG in dismissing last year’s lawsuit by declaring that KKG can interpret its governing documents as it prefers, including the word “woman.”

That case has since been appealed and is ongoing in the 10 of Appeals.

The Women

The sorority revoked Levang and Tuck-Smith’s membership after the pair disputed Langford’s induction and KKG’s course of action surrounding it.

The other four plaintiffs who are still KKG alumnae are Susan Jennings of California; Margo Knorr of North Dakota; and Karen Pope and Ann Witt, both of Texas.

They’re suing the KKG sorority; its president, Mary Pat Rooney; vice presidents Maria Brown, Nancy Campbell, Liz Wong and Barb Goettleman; treasurer Kyle Donnelly; and Panhellenic delegate Beth Black.

The Ask

The plaintiffs are asking the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to remove the current members of KKG’s fraternity council and its Panhellenic delegate from their positions or block them from admitting or fast-tracking males through the group’s ranks and from keeping Levang and Tuck-Smith out of the sorority.

The complaint also:

  • Accuses the KKG Council of fraud for accepting $200,000 in donations from Levang, which Levang gave with the understanding the money would be used to support and unite women.

  • Accuses the council of retaliating against Levang and Tuck-Smith for exercising their speech rights.

  • Asks the court to block KKG from chilling the women’s speech.

  • Says KKG is liable to Levang and Tuck-Smith for ousting them from the group.

  • Accuses KKG of defaming Levang and Tuck-Smith by “falsely (accusing them) of violating Fraternity policies… and (violating) the Fraternity’s human dignity policy.”

All six women are seeking monetary damages for the alleged wrongs.

Ohio-based attorneys Angela M. Lavin and Jay Carson filed this lawsuit alongside Sylvia May Mailman, a women’s-rights attorney for the Independent Women’s Law Center, based in Washington, D.C.

Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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CM

Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter