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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Activities & Organizations

Petition to remove current UH Alpha Chi Omega adviser gains traction


A petition asking UH Alpha Chi Omega adviser to be replaced has surpassed 1,000 signatures. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

A petition to remove and replace the current Alpha Chi Omega adviser for the University chapter has over 1,000 signatures.

The petition describes a recent incident where chapter adviser Mallory Malone Rissmiller asked an active member to remove a Black Lives Matter post related to the decriminalization of marijuana from her Instagram.

“Mallory has threatened not only active members but also alumni’s membership status should they continue to speak out against positions that she does not agree with,” the petition reads.

“This is not the first time that Mallory has used her position of power to silence the active members of the Gamma Upsilon chapter, and we are calling for change,” the petition continues.

The petition has a link to an Instagram post where some community members have shared their experiences with the current Alpha Chi Omega adviser. One of these testimonies comes from UH and Alpha Chi Omega alumna Shelby Nowlin.

Rissmiller became chapter adviser midway through Nowlin’s time at the University and began to “defame, belittle and roast” an active member, according to Nowlin. When Nowlin defended the member and chapter president at the time, Rissmiller asked Nowlin to excuse herself.

“I chose to stay and stand next to my sister as she took the verbal beating from Mallory,” Nowlin said in an email to The Cougar.

“Days later, (the active member) resigned as president and we both contemplated resigning from the chapter entirely. This was hard for us because that sorority and sisterhood meant, and still does, the world to us,” Nowlin added.

Nowlin described how many of her sorority sisters came forward sharing negative experiences they had with Rissmiller this week.

“I regret that I didn’t demand this to end when it all first started,” Nowlin said. “To say I’m proud of the active chapter is an understatement. These young women came forward and spoke up to ensure this tyranny ends now to ensure a better experience for our current and future sisters.”

UH and Alpha Chi Omega alumna Lindsay Walker shared how she experienced Rissmiller’s “intentional manipulation of young women” during her time as an active member and on the executive board.

During the time of Walker’s active membership, members emailed Alpha Chi Omega’s headquarters about Rissmiller but experienced no change, according to Walker.

“She continues to belittle, manipulate and psychologically abuse young women that join our sorority to find sanctuary in a world of unknown,” Walker said in an email.

“The chapter and women are absolutely amazing and deserve far better than Mallory as an adviser. Alpha Chi brought me my best friends and sisters for life, and she does not represent our sorority at all,” Walker added.

In an Instagram comment, UH and Alpha Chi Omega alumna Lauren Tucker discussed negative experiences she had with Rissmiller, ranging from forced changes in student leadership to pressures in selecting potential new members for the chapter.

“I am married to a (Sigma Phi Epsilon member) I met during Frontier Fiesta and have a beautiful life. But that’s not because of Mallory. It’s despite her multiple attempts to remove members that challenged her and many friendships ruined, because we were her puppets and did her dirty work.”

Current active members can’t speak to any media on this situation without violating their contract, an active member told The Cougar.

Rissmiller didn’t respond to a request for an interview or statement. Rissmiller was contacted through an email listed on the chapter website hyperlinked by a University page.

“Throughout the years, she has used her position to demean, bully and discourage members from excelling as real, strong women; not only in the sorority but in the real world as well,” the petition says.

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