University of Wyoming Sorority Lawsuit Defendants Push to Drop Case

Sorority officials say plaintiffs are trying to ‘avoid’ fact fellow members inducted trans woman

Artemis Langford, a transgender University of Wyoming student, asked a judge on Wednesday to drop her from a lawsuit regarding her induction into UW's chapter of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. (Courtesy: Facebook/Artemis Langford)

By Ellen Fike

Special to the Wyoming Truth

All of the defendants in a lawsuit filed against them by six University of Wyoming sorority sisters are continuing their push to have the case dropped, court filings submitted this week showed.

Last month, attorneys for the national Kappa Kappa Gamma (KKG) Fraternity, fraternity council president Mary Pat Rooney and Wyoming-based Kappa Kappa Gamma Building Co. filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against them. Artemis Langford, a transgender UW student and KKG member, filed a separate motion to dismiss the suit.

In early July, the sorority members responded, claiming the KKG officials were trying to pretend they were above the law by having the suit dismissed.

Rumors and speculation

On Wednesday, KKG officials and Langford responded in separate court filings, continuing to urge U.S. District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson consider dismissal.

“The entire endeavor amounts to little more than another plea for this Court to build them the social circle they want so that they can avoid the fact that their fellow sorority sisters voted to admit a transgender woman,” KKG’s attorneys wrote in their response.

Langford’s attorneys addressed the “vicious” rumor that the transgender student has become visibly aroused when watching certain sorority members in states of undress.

“Plaintiffs portray Ms. Langford as a student attending a co-ed university with the opportunity to live in a co-ed dormitory who nonetheless devises an elaborate scheme to join a woman’s organization just to be near them in common areas,” Jackson-based attorney Rachel Berkness wrote on behalf of Langford. “Then they publicly joke at Ms. Langford’s expense: ‘If I knew it was that easy to get into a sorority house, I would have put on a skirt a long time ago.’”

According to Berkness, a sorority member spread a rumor that Langford allegedly became visibly aroused when watching plaintiff Megan Kosar’s back as she changed her shirt. While the sorority member is not named, she “has since admitted that she had actually repeated a drunken story that she did not believe to be true.”

When Kosar learned this rumor was not true, she told the other sorority member “D*mn that sucks…[b]ut still Artemis is creepy in other ways at least,” Berkness wrote in the motion.

Jaylyn Westenbroek, Hannah Holtmeier, Allison Coghan, Grace Choate, Madeline Ramar and Kosar have claimed in the lawsuit that they felt unsafe in the sorority house after Langford was admitted to the sorority last fall. Langford did not live in the house, but visited regularly.

The women have asked for Langford’s membership to be voided and for KKG officials to repay each of them at least $9,100 to cover their room, board and sorority dues.

Berkness also submitted photographs of Snapchat and text message exchanges between KKG members discussing Langford in a derogatory way. It is not clear who the Snapchat messages are between, but the text messages are between an unnamed person and Kosar.

“Well like I’m pretty much 100% positive it did not happen,” an unidentified eyewitness told another sorority member in the Snapchat messages. “But also like what if [redacted] saw something like that…i don’t want to be saying this awful thing didn’t happen.”

“I gotchu [redacted],” the sorority member responded. “That makes sense. I’m not gonna say anything to Megan. Thank u for telling me I’m glad u did. That’s a lot of burden to carry on ur shoulders.”

The messages about Langford use “he/him” pronouns, although Langford uses “she/her” pronouns.

“I don’t think she was being serious cuz i watched him the whole time,” someone wrote to Kosar in a text. “He was standing there in the doorway for like 2 seconds and he didn’t get a boner.”

Kosar responded with the aforementioned remark about Langford being “creepy.”

“Did I tell you [redacted] say [sic] him get a boner tho” Kosar also wrote.

Langford’s attorneys argued that she should be dropped from the lawsuit because the plaintiffs are seeking no redress from her.

KKG’s attorneys claimed the suit should be dismissed because the women cannot prove the organization’s president directed her actions toward Wyoming and they have not identified a bylaw the sorority has breached with Langford’s induction.

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