Letter to the Campus Community: A Call to Action

A letter from students, alumni, staff, and faculty to the campus community.Now

 TRIGGER WARNING: The following discusses the issue of sexual assault at Wesleyan and may be triggering for some readers. Community and official support resources can be accessed here, here, and here.

At the present time, there is an unprecedented political atmosphere on campus that affords our community a tremendous opportunity to take meaningful and effective action to combat campus sexual assault: co-educate and drastically reform our campus’s three all-male residential fraternities or forbid them use of their residential facilities.

This action has long been necessary, and in pursuit of this action there are a few facts that require illumination:

  1. Institutional structures matter.
  2. Dozens of sexual assaults will likely be perpetrated on our campus before the end of this semester, not the one or two reported assaults that will appear in our Clery statistics.
  3. Because fraternities are male-exclusive and the possessors of some of our campus’s largest party spaces, they explicitly and implicitly cultivate a gender-based power dynamic that privileges men, the hosts, over women, who are among the guests. This power dynamic engenders sexual assault because women are institutionally encouraged to “repay” men for their hospitality, often with sex, and men are institutionally provided with a control over their guests, especially women.
  4. Objectification of women and goal-oriented language around sex undermine the importance of consent in our campus culture and promote an environment in which sexual assault is acceptable. Although rape culture exists all over campus, it is particularly reinforced by the institutional structures of fraternities.
  5. The co-education of the residences is insufficient to effect meaningful change. The societies themselves must substantially co-educate, affording equal privilege and control to individuals of all genders, in order to eliminate the gender-based power dynamics by which sexual assault is promoted within fraternities. Moreover, drastic and continuous reform to practices and culture within fraternities is needed to adequately address the rape culture they explicitly or implicitly endorse.
  6. We understand that such action will not eliminate sexual assault at Wesleyan. No single action will do so. Consent training and bystander intervention training for fraternity members will not do so. More co-hosted events will not do so. More party patrolling will not do so. However, we reject a course of inaction simply because action is imperfect.
  7. We understand that rape culture is present—and sexual assault is perpetrated—outside of fraternities. This does not negate the complicity of fraternities in supporting rape culture. Moreover, as institutions, fraternities are manipulable in ways that the intangibility of rape culture is not.
  8. We understand that Wesleyan University, its campus, and its culture are different from other colleges, universities, and their campuses and cultures. This does not negate the applicability of a broad range of studies conducted nationally which explicitly link fraternities and high rates of sexual assault.
  9. We understand that not all sexual assault is perpetrated by men against women; nevertheless the vast majority of sexual assault is perpetrated by men. Thus the particularly exclusively male nature of fraternities matters in a way that Wesleyan’s all-female Program Houses’ exclusively female nature does not.
  10. We understand that fraternities offer opportunities for men to bond and join a broader community of peers, provide valuable community service and support, hold and support admirable values, and are capable of reform. Fraternities are not the only campus organizations which offer such opportunities, but moreover these positives do not negate the fact that fraternities contribute to sexual assault on campus, and must reform.
  11. We understand that Wesleyan’s Greek societies, including the three all-male residential fraternities, have made valuable and admirable efforts to address sexual assault and their contributions to rape culture. This does not preclude the immediate need for further and drastic reform, including meaningful co-education of Wesleyan’s residential fraternities, to eliminate gender-based power dynamics and address the rape culture that fraternities explicitly or implicitly promote.

With these facts in mind, we strongly urge Wesleyan University to seize this opportunity for action. We cannot support the official validation of organizations and spaces which institutionally perpetuate sexual assault.

We urge the University to redact its current endorsements of male-exclusive residential Program Houses by delivering an ultimatum to its three all-male residential fraternities: these fraternities must either choose to co-educate and drastically reform their societies to be welcoming and safe organizations and spaces for students of all genders, or choose to lose all affiliation with Wesleyan University and be forbidden use of their residential facilities.


Andrew Trexler ’14
Mari Jarris ’14
Chloe Murtagh ’15
Olivia Horton ’14
Alton Wang ’16
Anya Morgan ’14
Sarah Lerman-Sinkoff ’14
Benny Docter ’14
Eero Talo ’16
Brendan O’Donnell ’14
Lily Herman ’16
Danny Blinderman ’14
Sophia Massey ’15
Ryden Nelson ’16
Lynn Ma ’16
Ashe Kilbourne ’14
Chris Martinson ’14
Aileen Yeung ’14
Shivani Kochhar ’14
Ben Jacobs ’14
Julia Vermeulen ’15
Natalie Robichaud ’14
Matt Fine ’15
Isadora Dannin ’14
Max Seppo ’14
Michael Massone ’14
Ethan Hoffman ’14
Olivia May ’14
Aron Chilewich ’14
Emily Greenspan ’16
Yael Horowitz ’17
Abigail Friedland ’17
Hannah Ryan ’16
Rachel Kaly ’17
Bruno Machiavelo ’16
Jacob Seltzer ’17
Nicole Updegrove ’14
Nicki Softness ’14
Emily Sannini ’14
John Ludlow ’14
Mike Greenwald ’16
Bulelani Jili ’16
Samuel Leiva ’16
Eva Ravenal ’15
Sadasia McCutchen ’17
Dana Leib ’14
Aletta Brady ’15
Richard Fessler ’15
Zacko Brint ’16
Alma Sanchez-Eppler ’14
David Whitney ’16
Catherine MacLean ’14
Dan Storfer ’15
Adriana Brau-Diaz ’16
Arthur Halliday ’16
Nina Stender ’16
James Carter ’14
Alicia Gansley ’15
Deren Ertas ’16
Carolyn Tusa ’14
Trevor Dorn-Wallenstein ’15
Will Wiebe ’14
Lillian Holman ’15
Michael Migiel-Schwartz ’14
Emily Hoge ’15
Mao Misaki ’15
Chazelle Rhoden ’15
Olayinka Lawal ’15
Ibironke Otusile ’15
Monique Siaw ’16
Dara Robinson ’15
Julia Báez Valentín ’14
Jackie Soro ’14
Nisha Grewal ’17
Jay Benedith ’14
Esi Quagrainie ’14
Juliana McLain ’14
Morgan Scribner ’16
Arnelle Williams ’17
Katherine Cohen ’14
Aliya Lyons ’17
Marieme Diouf ’17
Opraha Miles ’14
Daniella Martinez Jimenez ’17
Trinity Russell ’17
Caroline MacNeille ’16
Savannah Turner ’16
Cherkira Lashley ’15
Quinta Jurecic ’15
Etenish Abebe ’17
Mariana Quinn-Makwaia ’14
Zoe Toulouse ’16
Lizzy Elliot ’16
Talia Baurer ’15
Vanessa Carvajal ’14
Kanaiza Imbuye ’17
Lauren Nadler ’14
Ella Lindholm-Uzzi ’17
Jessica Seidman ’16
Rachel Sobelsohn ’17
Tanaya Srini ’15
Ariane Turley ’15
Mariama Eversley ’16
Josh Krugman ’14
Michael Linden ’15
Wyatt Hodgson ’14
Kota Uno ’16
Siri Carr ’15
Neo Sora ’14
Raphael Linden ’15
Cynthia Tong ’14
Laura Brown ’17
Adam Watson ’14
Charlie Kaplan ’14
Becca Caspar-Johnson ’15
Dana Louie ’15
Hibiki Mizuno ’15
Evan Keyes ’14
Michael Sheldon ’17
Abby Cunniff ’17
Eli McClintock-Shapiro ’17
Alexandra Stovicek ’17
Jennifer Siranosian ’17
Adam Ruth ’17
Nick Murphy ’16
Tessa Houstoun ’17
Sally Rappaport ’17
I. Spillman-Schappell ’17
Ellen Alexander ’14
Aidan Bardos ’17
Blaise Bayno-Krebs ’16
Gwendolyn Rosen ’15
Samantha Ho ’16
Avigayl Sharp ’17
Siri McGuire ’17
Jessica Abdow ’17
Morgan Ross ’14
Claire Marshall ’17
Sara Feldman ’17
Tess Morgan ’16
Gregory Gladstone ’16
Lily Taylor ’16
Amy Mattox ’17
Heather Whittemore ’17
Liz Weinstein ’16
Adam Johnson ’14
Zac Kramer ’17
Danielle Gamady ’17
Leyla Wade ’17
Holly Everett ’15
James Hall ’15
Rachel Warren ’14
Lydia Rex ’14
Abbey Francis ’14
Natalie Ancona ’15
Winnie Yung ’15
Deborah Ko ’15
Esthefany Castillo ’14
Natalie Hunter ’14
Shada Sinclair ’16
Elizabeth Jauregui ’15
Bria Grant ’17
Zack Cohen ’15
Cirsty Burton ’16
Aura Ochoa ’17
Shannon Nelson ’14
Andrew Olson ’16
Matilda Ostow ’17
Michael King ’16
Andrew Postman ’15
Keren Reichler ’16
Joshua Bloom ’17
Kaito Abe ’15
Purnima Kumar ’16
Emma MacLean ’14
Rachel Unger ’15
Sarah Dash ’14
Maeve Russell ’14
Ben Guilmette ’15
Ting Zhang ’15
Leslie Egbo ’14
Mimi Goldstein ’17
Joseph Natter ’17
Paulina Jones-Torregrosa ’15
Joelle Christie ’15
Crystal Franklin ’16
Hannah New ’16
Laiya Ackman ’15
Davion Wilson ’15
Holt Akers-Campbell ’16
Karmenife Gomez-Paulino ’15
Arielle Trager ’14
Rohit Murthy ’16
Mateusz Burgunder ’15
Sammy Rosh ’15
Angela Hsu ’14
Alex Sakhno ’15
Zheyan Ni ’15
Madeline Nelson ’16
Laura Cohen ’14
Sophia Park ’14
Ethan Currie ’15
Andrew Lee ’16
Selin Cetinkaya ’17
Lucy De Souza ’16
Sarah Gerton ’15
Genna Mastellone ’17
Robert Dillon ’14
David Mai ’15
Molly Hastings ’17
Neha Shafique ’15
Jenna Shapiro ’17
Julian Gal ’14
Dillon Kraus ’15
Ben Kafoglis ’14
Madeline Kidd ’14
Clara Peretz ’14
Andrew Hove ’15
Isaac Madwed ’14
Tess Altman ’17
Jacob Musinsky ’15
Lisa Kremen ’16
Austin Barvin ’15
Nate Brown ’14
Ellen Lesser ’15
Peter Helman ’15
Jeff Kasanoff ’15
Margaret Daly ’15
Chelsea Abowitz ’15
Gavriella Wolf ’15
Natalia Manetti-Lax ’14
Penina Kessler ’15
Ariana Nasseri ’16
Adrian Nugent-Head ’15
Alexander Turner ’15
Chelsea Tweneboah ’15
Alec Henry ’14
Mark Duralde ’14
Noah Hamlish ’16
Talia DeRogatis ’15
Madeleine Junkins ’16
Kayla Stoler ’14
Winston Soh ’14
Ben Florsheim ’14
Brianna Parsons ’14
Chloe Leeds ’16
Dinayuri Rodriguez ’17
Amy Zhang ’15
Jesse Lieman-Sifry ’15
Isaac Pollan ’15
Kate Weiner ’15
Keren Alshanetsky ’17
Lily Myers ’15
Yona Roberts Golding ’14
Arian Dehnow ’16
Cal Hickox ’15
Leib Sutcher ’15
Ethan Tischler ’14
Zachary Smith ’17
Adriana Smith ’15
Alexandria Williams ’15
Jack Singer ’15
Virgil Taylor ’15
Nicole Stanton ’15
Ethan Tucker ’15
Raechel Rosen ’15
Nate Campagne ’15
Henry Sikes ’15
Emily Wilson ’15
Kate Connolly ’15
Jacob Rosenbloom ’15
Rebecca Rosen-Checa ’15
Hannah Carolyn Jenkins ’15
Julia Clemens ’16
Li Zhong ’15
Daniela Monous ’15
Daniel Plafker ’14
Emily Weitzman ’14
Julia Conrad ’14
Tess Scriptunas ’14
John Ladd ’15
Olivia Mason ’15
Theodora Messalas ’15
Miranda Katz ’15
Maggie Feldman-Piltch ’14
Rebecca Waxman ’16
Andy Ribner ’14
Katherine Gibbel ’15
Sam Oriach ’15
Serena Berry ’15
Noelle Hiam ’15
Rebecca Wilton ’15
Caleb Corliss ’13
Jacob Herman
Abigail Cram
Lauren de Jonge
Eric Stephen ’13
Syed Ali ’13
Nat Warren-White ’72
Janine Petito ’11
Katherine Wolfe ’12
Jacon Mayer ’10
Nina Davis-Millis ’76 P’12
Priscilla Bustamante ’10
Corey Guilmette ’13
Kaitlin DeWile ’13
Miriam Olenick ’13
Zachary Malter ’13
Gabriela DeGolia ’13
Emily Brown ’12
Evan Weber ’13
Elana Baurer ’09
Mika Taliaferro ’12
David Stein ’06
Josh Van Vliet ’09
Jonah Sampson Boyarin ’08
Nick Marshall ’10
Julius Pasay ’08
Matthew Alie ’08
Cornelia Lorentzen ’13
Sarah Tracy-Wanck ’10
Robert Eastman ’11
Julien Farland ’92
Zak Kirwood ’12
Alexandra Patrick ’13
Ray Edwards ’10
Nate Kaufman ’08
Alix Strunk ’05
Lina Mamut ’13
Elissa Heller ’11
Miles Tokunow ’10
Em Kianka ’13
Samantha Melvin ’13
Katie McConnell ’13
Zach Goldberg ’13
Samantha Maldonado ’13
Evan Okun ’13
Una Osato ’04
Paul Blasenheim ’12
Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli ’10
Josh Smith ’11
Tomas Ancona ’80 P’15
Leah Rotkin-Ellman ’02
Grace Kredell ’10
Maggie White ’05
Sam Dusing ’13
Peter Myers ’13
Rachael Cleveland ’07
Claire Typaldos ’07
Anwar Batte ’13
Jeremy Keim-Shenk ’12
Elisabeth Lauffer ’07
Makenna Goodman ’07
Tali Biale ’07
Ashraf Rijal ’07
Marri Coen ’07
Paul Mason ’77 P’15
Arjit Sen ’07
Jack Reilly ’07
William Hood ’07
Jenny Ajl ’10
Marissa Brostoff ’07
Andrea Cortes-Juarbe ’05
Amy Kimble
Katharine Henderson
Prof. J. Donald Moon
Prof. Ulrich Plass
Prof. J. Kehaulani Kauanui
Prof. Joe Rouse
Prof. Mary-Jane Rubenstein
Prof. Susanne Fusso
Prof. Leo Lensing
Prof. Iris Bork
Prof. Rachel Ellis Neyra
Prof. Jill Morawski
Prof. Matthew Garrett
Prof. Rashida Shaw ’99
Prof. Christina Crosby
Prof. Elizabeth Traube
Prof. Ethan Kleinberg
Prof. Margot Weiss
Prof. Robert Steele
Prof. Derek Pardue
Prof. Sonia Sultan
Prof. Ann Burke
Prof. Fred Cohan
Prof. Anu Sharma
Prof. Sally Bachner
Prof. Sean McCann
Prof. John Finn
Prof. Stephen Devoto
Prof. Elizabeth McAlister
Prof. Gina Athena Ulysse
Prof. Sonali Chakravarti
Prof. Gillian Goslinga
Prof. Tushar Irani
Prof. Wendy Rayack
Prof. Lisa Dierker
Prof. Sarah Croucher
Prof. Mary Ann Clawson
Prof. Priscilla Meyer
Prof. Justine Quijada
Prof. Lori Gruen
Prof. Lisa Dombrowski ’92
Prof. Stephen Angle
Prof. Ashraf Rushdy
Prof. Elise Springer ’90
Prof. Martha Gilmore
Prof. Octavio Flores-Cuadra
Prof. Charles Barber
Prof. Joyce Powzyk
Prof. Brian Fay
Prof. Maria Ospina
Prof. Brian Northrop
Prof. Robyn Autry
Prof. Laura Grabel
Prof. Kate Ten Eyck
Prof. Laura Ann Twagira
Prof. Greg Goldberg
Prof. Lisa Cohen
Prof. Laurie Nussdorfer
Prof. Alice Hadler
Prof. Sasha Rudensky
Prof. Megan Glick
Prof. Elijah Huge
Prof. Amy Tang
Prof. Stacey Bobbitt
Prof. Ron Cameron
Prof. P. Rodriguez Mosquera
Prof. V. Smolkin-Rothrock
Prof. Brian Stewart
Prof. Christina Othon
Prof. Erika Taylor

115 thoughts on “Letter to the Campus Community: A Call to Action

  1. Simon Davis-Millis '12

    How do I add my signature? Is there some comments magic that I’m missing?

    Also, the whole “dry campus” crap that I’m reading below is deeply confused. Just off the top of my head: a) a high correlation of sexual assault and alcohol doesn’t, by itself, make an argument for the elimination of alcohol from the picture. b) On a practical level, i think very few people want a dry campus. Just from an admissions perspective, I can’t imagine that’d be a real leg up. c) It wouldn’t work. I don’t mean to be a naysayer, but people would still drink, and they’d drink in a riskier way. I’m all for better education on avoiding alcohol abuse, but I think the effectiveness of an outright ban would be about equivalent to the current effectiveness laws of keeping under-21 students from drinking. d) If I’m reading what “do better” below is ideally advocating, then he (really going out on a limb and guessing “he”) would be fine with a situation that had a dry campus and frats. This is, in my mind, the worst of both worlds–ban alcohol==>concentrated drinking in unregulated spaces (frats)==>increased sexual assaults at frats.

    1. guest

      I’m not making a case to ban alcohol, but do you really think fraternities contribute to sexual assault more than alcohol abuse?

    2. Wesleyan student

      If “a high correlation of sexual assault and alcohol doesn’t, by itself, make an argument for the elimination of alcohol from the picture,” then neither do the elimination and or co education of frats by themselves. That logic can work both ways. Good points about dry campus policies being ineffective though.

  2. pyrotechnics

    This is about control of space and the gendered power dynamics created therein. I am NOT calling for the dissolution of all gendered groups, including fraternities and sororities. As far as I am concerned, DKE, Psi U, and Beta can all stick around as male-exclusive organizations if they give up their houses, thus dismantling the gendered power dynamics institutionalized by their control of those spaces.

  3. Lynn

    Every single person who is not in support this letter and commented on this post chose to remain anonymous… If you really believe your argument is legitimate, please speak up and own it.

    1. Fynn

      Alternatively, I feel like that might say a lot more about the unfair judgmentalism of the activists than it does about the legitimacy of the counterargument.

      1. Cynn

        Exactly. All Lynn is doing is trying to call out a dissenter to get swarmed by a mob. Wesleying has proven to be biased in covering the event via the signatures of it’s contributors, so I’m not about to sacrifice myself to the mob by displaying my name.

        1. Lynn

          Alright, fair. If you feel unsafe on this thread sharing your name, then I acknowledge that. Now acknowledge that people feel unsafe in the male-dominated spaces.

  4. student'16

    This letter lacks a very important piece of information. If we are going to co-educate Psi U, Beta, and DKE, then we need to do the same to AEpi, Rho Ep, and Chi Psi. Although these student groups don’t have the same sizable party spaces, they still throw parties. I have personally seen people escorted out of AEpi parties. You need invitations to go to Rho Ep and Chi Psi formals. These groups have the ability to do everything stated in this letter and if this is whats going to happen, it needs to happen to all greek communities across campus.

    1. SMH

      You throw a party at your house. Someone is being rowdy. You’re allowed to escort them out. A fraternity throws a party. Someone is being rowdy. They’re not allowed to do anything? Is that what you’re suggesting?

      Also, you need invitations to go to the men’s soccer formal and the women’s lacrosse formal and every other formal at this school. Grow up.

      1. student'16

        First of all I am completely neutral on this issue. Secondly, you’re missing the point. Chi Psi, AEpi and Rho Ep can exercise the same power over their guests as DKE, Beta, and Psi U does, at least in regards to most of this letter. Of course frats can kick people out for being too rowdy. I really don’t see how you deduced that from any of my claims.

        If football (i am using an arbitrary sport I am not making a comment about the football team) has a formal, they have power over their guests and everything in the letter still applies. Women can still feel “institutional pressure” to sleep with them.

        I am not saying I agree with the letter, I am saying I don’t understand why this letter excludes Chi Psi, AEpi and Rho Ep.

  5. Do better

    These are NOT facts! I’m against sexual assault, wherever it takes place, but I can’t support this crusade against fraternities when you guys assert vague and unsubstantiated opinions like:

    “This power dynamic engenders sexual assault because women are institutionally encouraged to “repay” men for their hospitality, often with sex, and men are institutionally provided with a control over their guests, especially women.”


    “We understand that Wesleyan University, its campus, and its culture are different from other colleges, universities, and their campuses and cultures. This does not negate the applicability of a broad range of studies conducted nationally which explicitly link fraternities and high rates of sexual assault.”

    1. KatCo

      Explain to me why those aren’t true. Cause I’ve been in a frat, I’ve read studies, seem pretty factual to me.

      Edit: By been in a frat, I mean I have been inside a frat house. Obviously I’ve never been a member because, lolz, I’m a girl and that’s not allowed!

      1. Do better

        fact [fakt]

        noun: a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.

        How is it a fact that women are *INSTITUTIONALLY* encouraged to “repay” men for their hospitality with sex once they step foot into a fraternity? What unique, institutional functions of a fraternity encourage such an exchange any more than a house party on Fountain, or a party at Eclectic? Of course these men are provided with a control over their guests — anyone who hosts a party is! They can tell their guests to leave and decide who comes in and who doesn’t. So can the folks over at Eclectic and Alpha Delt and the kids pregaming in Fauver. This is true of any place where people live. Throwing around a bunch of Latinate words and rhetoric from your sociology class doesn’t mean that whatever you say is “fact”.

        What really bugs me about this whole debacle is how it’s quickly evolved from figuring out a way to stop sexual assault to eliminating fraternities, at whatever the cost. The fraternities all seem more than willing to make substantial sacrifices to combat sexual assault — you know, the real problem here — but the activists seem to be only focused on coeducating the fraternities

        If you guys were really serious about minimizing sexual assault, you would make Wesleyan a DRY CAMPUS. Studies like this one have linked alcohol to sexual assault in 50% of cases (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-1/43-51.htm). 50 PERCENT! You could literally cut the rate of sexual assault in half. IN HALF! I haven’t seen any stats that would demonstrate how eliminating fraternities would cut the rate of sexual assault by anything close to that.

        Yes, I know, it’s a absolutely *crazy* idea — mainly because it would substantially impact the social lives of the activists against fraternities, who obviously don’t spend much time in them and clearly would not be affected by their disappearing. It’s really easy to grab a pitchfork and call for the appropriation of someone else’s private property (or somehow force that person to substantially alter their property), but much harder when that change affects you.

        I’m being serious here: I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone on either side of this debate (and despite Wesleying’s incessant support for the elimination of fraternities, there actually is another side to this) who would tell you that ridding the school of fraternities would make women safer than ridding the school of booze. If we’re really serious about sexual assault, then let’s go dry.

        The ball’s in your court, activists.

        1. Factz

          I’m not sure if you’ve ever thought about practicality (praktikal?t?: the aspects of a situation that involve the actual doing or experience of something rather than theories or idea), but it seems obvious that co-educating or eliminating fraternities is more realistic than eliminating alcohol consumption.

          Let me know whether to post some more academic articles. For now I’m thinking it’s safe to assume you didn’t actually read pyrotechnics’ link and it would be a waste of my time.

          1. Do better

            That’s my whole point, though, isn’t it? That eliminating alcohol would be tough because so many people would be in favor of keeping Wes a wet campus. It’s easy to rally against the ~200 students whose interests you want to threaten because most people would remain totally unaffected. These things are significantly harder when it affects nearly everyone (even the activists).

            Of course, people would still drink alcohol (clandestine). But if we ban fraternities, people will still be assaulted. What to do? We know that alcohol has a higher correlation with sexual assault than fraternities, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that decreasing fraternity membership won’t do as much as implementing steps to keep people sober. Eventually, Wes will become known as a dry school and more students who don’t want to drink in the first place will come here. Sexual assault rates will lower.

            There are literally hundreds of colleges (maybe thousands) across the country that don’t allow booze, and I’m sure their insurance bills are significantly smaller because of it. Hey, maybe we could even put that money towards financial aid — or did you all forget about that cause du jour already?

          2. Realism

            We could also punish all (even accused) sexual assault with the death penalty. I am willing to bet that would be an extremely effective enforcement mechanism. Of course, it’s not likely to happen. Nor is eliminating alcohol, although I admit it is substantially more likely. Your point is well taken – clearly, if 80% of campus were involved in Greek Life, this would be a tougher battle. However, based on anecdotal evidence of public opinion, it’s not clear that the fraternities are such easy scapegoats, as you make them out to be. They seem to have quite a large number of supporters. I don’t think those who signed this petition did it because they thought it was an easy battle to win.

            In the end, no one is saying this is the only way to eliminate sexual assault, nor is it all we have to do. However, the point is, research suggests that participating in a fraternity makes an individual much more likely to commit sexual assault. Unless you reject that the research applies to Wesleyan, I don’t see a strong argument for maintaining the institutions as they currently exist.

          3. Do better

            …except Wesleyan couldn’t execute all those accused or found guilty of sexual assault. That’s just impossible. It would literally be very, very, illegal. It would make international headlines. These sorts of false analogies and exaggerated rhetoric are part of the problem with this whole debate.

            On the other hand, it’s really not that difficult to convert a college into a dry campus. It’s actually more common than you would think — most religious -affiliated schools don’t allow booze, and many public ones too. Westfield State and Bridgewater State — 2 nearby schools in Massachusetts — don’t allow booze. It might sound crazy now, but so did eliminating our need-blind policy 10 years ago. In the 1980s, eliminating fraternities would have been seen as akin to banning sports.

            Fraternities are probably the easiest target for activists on this campus. What if we found out — through our Clery Act stats — that a disproportionate number of Latino students or transfers students from state schools commit these heinous acts of sexual assault at Wes? Would everyone be up in arms then?

          4. Exhausted WOC

            Analogy at the end is idiotic and offensive. Don’t equate frats to a race/culture, it’s pure ignorance, it’s offensive. Students of color have to deal with idiotic comparisons like this, i.e. using terms like LYNCH MOB to talk about demands for change in the campus atmosphere in regards to sexual assault. This entire argument is ridiculous, but STOP USING SUCH BLATANTLY OFFENSIVE RHETORIC/METAPHOR/SIMILE. God I can’t wait to graduate.

          5. Guest

            “Research suggests that participating in a fraternity makes an individual much more likely to commit sexual assault”?

            What research? You can’t just fabricate generalities and expect that to be taken as fact (although, that is entirely what this letter does).

      1. Seriously, do better.

        I’d like to point out the abstract of this article:

        “Data are from a study of college life at a large midwestern university
        involving nine months of ethnographic observation of a women’s floor in a
        “party dorm,” in-depth interviews with 42 of the floor residents, and
        16 group interviews with other students.”

        So A) This is an institution that is not comparable to Wesleyan and
        B) it’s about a women’s floor in a party dorm, so it’s not about Frats at all.

        Just calling a spade a spade.

        1. pyrotechnics

          No, you’re actually just judging a book by its cover. If you actually read the study, rather than just its abstract, you might notice that it actually does talk about frats quite a bit, and that there are many parallels to Wesleyan. I won’t hold my breath though.

          1. Someone Else who read the pape

            The problem with this study is there is nothing concrete. There is no data in the paper just the inferences and conclusions made by the authors. The paper’s methodology doesn’t convince me. Is there a data supplement, I am missing.

  6. calling bullshit

    Do the people who wrote this realize that 2 of the 3 frats can’t co-educate, according to the rules set by their national headquarters? I feel like they must. Personally, I don’t have a strong opinion either way, but if you wanna kick the frats off campus, just go ahead and say it. Don’t hide behind this whole “you guys are chill as long as you co-educate” thing when everyone knows it’s bullshit. Do you want those houses to sit empty? What’s the point of that? The alumni owners aren’t going to sell the houses to the school, and even if they do, that sounds like a mismanagement of school funds to me, especially considering our current need-aware status.

    “This power dynamic engenders sexual assault because women are institutionally encouraged to “repay” men for their hospitality, often with sex, and men are institutionally provided with a control over their guests, especially women.”

    If this is really true, wouldn’t it imply that the same thing happens when all-male occupied senior houses have parties?

    Maybe these people have the right idea, maybe they just don’t like frat boys. EIther way, they’re slacking.

    1. dumb

      It’s not “kicking the frats off-campus.” If their nationals won’t let them co-educate, and they choose not to co-educate, they can be like Chi Psi and A E Pi and RhoEP.

      As for your money argument – if Wesleyan were to buy the houses, the rent for living in those rooms would then go to Wesleyan rather than the alumni. It’s a one-time expenditure in exchange for long-term income, so don’t go calling it “mismanagement of school funds”

    2. KatCo

      Senior houses to not have the same institutional prominence and power as these fraternity houses.

      And yes, the letter writers know very well that dke and beta can’t co-educate without breaking with national headquarters. They (and I) just think that given the stakes here, that’s not such a big deal. As jarsilver points out, Alpha Delt managed just fine.

      1. lol

        what does that mean? prominence and power? How is that measured? What data backs that up? How can you say that frat parties are more prominent than senior house parties? or are you referring to the prominence afforded by all the recent scandals? That feels circular logic-y to me.

        If the writers know that, why don’t they just be up front about it? Instead of acting like they’re compromising and what not. It’s political move, which is lame. Say what you mean.

        Alpha Delt does not throw parties! And when they do, they suck. KatCo, I’m sure I won’t be able to change your mind about this stuff. but if you signed this petition or letter or whatever and are reading this comment, take a look around and ask yourself: “Do I want all parties bigger than senior house parties to be like Alpha Delt? Are Alpha Delt parties chill/existent?”

        1. pyrotechnics

          Since I’m starting from the position of “how can we reduce sexual assault?,” having parties that you find fun is pretty much at the bottom of my priorities list. In fact, it’s below the bottom.

          1. Do better

            If you don’t care about having fun at parties, and are serious about stopping sexual assault (and not just railing against a minority of students whose plight doesn’t concern you), THEN WHY DON’T YOU SUGGEST BANNING ALCOHOL? http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-1/43-51.htm

            Ask Alysha Warren, ask your doctor, ask the NIH, ask whoever is an expert on this sort of stuff: taking steps to ensure that students are sober will do MUCH more than ensuring that three student groups alter their membership.

            Unfortunately, you and the rest of the lynch mob won’t do this because unlike banning fraternities, it would personally affect you. Until I hear some cries for declaring Wes booze-free, I’m going to keep assuming that even the diehard anti-frat activists prioritize their social lives over the interests of rape victims.

          2. KatCo

            “lynch mob”?
            I’m not sure how threatening the status of the fraternities as program housing could be even remotely comparable to lynching. I’m sure you meant it hyperbolically, but that is nonetheless a pretty fucked up comparison to make. We are talking about asking a group of students to share a privilege they have been granted with the rest of the community, and threatening to remove that privilege if they refuse.
            No one is getting lynched, and I think your causal attitude to that kind of violence is very revealing.

            Good talking with you, peace.

          3. Do better

            No, you are certainly *not* asking them to “share their privilege”: you are demanding — literally demanding — that they open their home to you and fundamentally alter the very fabric of the group they hold very dear for you. You’ve already asked them to do this, and they clearly don’t want to. At this point you are trying to assert your power over them via the WSA (or whatever power the WSA has) and force them to do what you want. Don’t try and use vague, fluffy rhetoric to mask what is going on here.

            Also, KatCo, esteemed editor of Wesleying: please, tell me how my “causal [sic] attitude to that kind of violence is very revealing”. What are you trying to imply here? I could be wrong, but it seems you are suggesting that because I disagree with you on this issue and used such an awful analogy that clearly I’m a violent person — and maybe even support sexual assault.

          4. pyrotechnics

            Oh, I’ve done a fair bit of work on reducing dangerous drinking on this campus too, particularly as it relates to this issue. I’ve also written about it a fair amount. Here is a good example: http://wesleying.org/2012/10/23/you-should-read-this/

            You’re absolutely right that banning alcohol, or (more practically) taking steps to reduce binge drinking, would have an effect on the incidence of sexual assault at Wes. But remind me again why that is an argument against the co-education of fraternities, which would also have an effect on the incidence of sexual assault at Wes? There’s no single solution here, which why I am also supporting bystander intervention training etc. for fraternity members (as they have already agreed to themselves in the IGC) in addition to co-education.

            Let’s pretend (because it is pretending) for a moment that fraternities have nothing to do with sexual assault. Co-education is still the right thing to do, because it will enhance gender equality on this campus.

            But let’s NOT pretend that co-education is somehow a “plight” for fraternity members. The residential fraternities are afforded a privilege that is systemically to other students, and fraternity members are afforded a privilege that is categorically denied to non-males. Sharing those privileges with students of all genders is not a “plight” in any sense of the word.

            If I was really a “diehard anti-frat activist” then I’d be calling for the banning of fraternities, period. Instead, I’m calling on them to treat non-males as their equals in a way that supports gender equity, reduces sexual assault, and yet still permits them to continue existing, albeit with a little less privilege.

        2. KatCo

          I have stopped going to all male fraternities because of the many times I have been causally harassed and groped while just trying to dance. I have been to some Alpha Delt parties and felt comparatively safe and respected. I would be quite happy if other parties felt more like that. Obviously we can have different taste in what kind of parties we enjoy, but I think that a baseline of safety from harassment is the most important thing, and I just don’t see that happening in big houses where men have exclusive control.

          A senior house is less prominent and less powerful because it’s much smaller and there is no continuity between who lives there from year to year. If a particular house is all male this year, chances are it won’t be next year, and I don’t see individual senior houses having as much presence socially as a fraternity.

    3. An Author

      As KatCo has pointed out, there’s a clear difference in social power between a space the size of DKE and even the biggest senior house. While all-male senior houses could engender many of the same problems as male-exclusive fraternity houses do, the scale of the issue for fraternities is far greater.

      I’m fully aware the Beta and DKE have nationals that do not permit co-education. That’s tragic (seriously). But if it comes down to the residential frats having to choose between keeping their house (which is a privilege non-male students are excluded from) and keeping their national (which is also a privilege non-male students are excluded from) in order to give all students equal access to the former, then so be it.

      The nationals will some day have to grapple with the issue of co-education themselves. Maybe that day is sooner than later, and maybe this could even be a catalyst. Maybe not. But I’m not going to fret over the privileged having to choose which of their privileges to share.

    4. Lynn

      Who said they would sit empty?? Roth would buy the houses and then perhaps they could be program houses in the future. Also, if it came down to it and a couple houses had to sit empty for people to feel safer on this campus, then are you really going to tell me the houses are more important?

      1. Guest

        Just so you know, Lynn, Roth can’t buy the houses. For one thing, Beta’s alumni fund the house, and they would not allow the University to have it. Just a reality check.

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