How I Got Banned From Beta Theta Pi

The contents of the following article contain offensive, derogatory language, and material that may be triggering for survivors of sexual assault. The names and some of the details in this article have been changed for privacy and legal concerns (but more about that last bit later).

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Written in bold black sharpie, the phrase “She said stop, I said Hammer Time,” was one of the first things that Dan and I saw on move-in day. I was helping him load his things into the room he was renting at Wesleyan University’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity, where we both lived last summer, as tenants. This was not the only message left for Dan—writing covered almost every square foot of wall.

I had just moved into my own room earlier that sweltering afternoon in May, and I was already growing slightly unimpressed with the misogyny. I would be lying if I didn’t say that over the summer that I lived in Beta, the impact of the graffiti grew smaller and smaller, till it felt the way bathroom obscenity feels. Still, on move in day the abrasion wasn’t calloused over yet.

First, however, a few words on how I ended up living in Beta. I had originally planned on living in official universities dorms for the summer research session. Then I got an email saying that Beta would be offering housing for a third of the price: only $300 a month.

In addition to cheapness, there was the benefit that the house was big enough for nearly all my friends who were staying on for the summer. The house had a yard equipped with a charcoal grill, a huge living room where we could hold open mics, parties, etc, and a refrigerator big enough for twelve 30 racks of Miller—not to even mention the king-sized beer pong table. On top of it all, I had leased early enough to get my pick of the rooms. I ended up in the Beta president’s suite.

Better still, this room is actually two rooms- a living room with a huge curving leather couch and a bedroom with windows on three sides. And, when I first arrived, both rooms looked like they had been hit by a fully armed trash missile. Just pushing my covered cardboard boxes through the summer heat and into the room felt like parting a Red Sea of paper, flies, abandoned clothes, and used condoms. On the far side of the living room, propped against a scarred, wooden table was a large chalkboard with the formula “SQUIRRELS = CUNTS” scrawled in all capital red letters.

I was staring at the word “cunt.” One of the brothers, who I’ll call Travis, was moving some of the former president’s stuff out of the room. He saw me looking at what was written on the chalkboard.

“Oh yeah,” He chirped walking out towards the hall. “Watch out for the squirrels. They’ll get into the house and, like, steal your shit.”

“Fucking squirrels!” I echoed.

After Travis left I smudged the words out with a Lakers jersey that had been tacked onto the wall. Examining the bedroom, I wondered if this had been place that was in the news two and a half years ago.

I was beginning to expect the worst under every nook and cranny. My squeamishness provoked, and a pair of home depot gloves purchased, I began to peel the former president’s sheets from the bed. Describing what lay beneath as “worn” might suffice for polite company, but this really would not do justice to the mattress’s complex array of discoloration and tear. Clammy-hued and rippling stains dotted its top. Along the seam there was a thick line of black spots, at places appearing to be dyed into the fabric and at other places popping out like micro specks of dirt. Now I’m no expert on the matter, but coming from a long and proud line of neurotics I already had been instructed on the dangers of mattress infestations. This one seemed like an open and shut case of bedbugs.

So, just as quickly as I had arrived, I pushed my boxes back down the hallway to a small closet the janitor said he’d lock for me. I scribbled “Quarantine” onto a sheet of paper on top of the stack of boxes, took a well-earned shower, and left a message with the house’s acting landlord—a man who operates Beta Theta Pi’s Wesleyan property from his bungalow out in the flatlands of western Nebraska, whose real name was only spoken in hushed whispers and who everyone simply referred to as the Big Kahuna.

Parasitic nest aside, the former Beta president had evidently left in a hurry. Such a hurry, in fact, that I not only found an iPod stuffed between the couch’s leather cushions within a week of moving in, but, later that June, a second one as well, lying on the bottom of one of the closet cupboards.

All the rooms had an artifact or two to be unearthed. Downstairs, my buddy Casey’s room had an extended index of “Things That Are Gay” listed in sharpie on the wall. For those of you who are wondering which of the “Things That Are Gay” are the most gay, the top of the list includes: 1, Reading, 2, Books, and, 3, People Who Don’t Like Hawaiian Shirts. It continued two thirds of the way down to the floor, and with each entry in a different pen it looked like people had been adding to the list for years. Further down the list: people who don’t like boat hats, and, of course, salad with no meat.

In the room in Beta where I was temporarily lodged during my days of pest-quarantine limbo there was a couple of index cards held to the wall by one thin piece of scotch tape. When I lifted them up I saw a drawing of a woman on her knees, curves outlined like you’d see on the mud flaps of a semi.

But back to the bedbugs.

On the phone, back in Nebraska, the Kahuna wasn’t having any of it.

“In all the years I’ve been managing this house, there’s never been a single case of bedbugs…You really think Dana could have been sleeping every night in an infestation and not realized it? You don’t think he would have gotten itchy, or noticed the bites?” He demanded.

Not out of the realm of possibility, I thought. It seemed like there were a lot of basic hygienic reflexes this guy didn’t have.

“I mean, I don’t know if there are bugs. But still, I’d just still like an inspector to come,” I told the BK, “I mean, just the fact that the bed’s so dirty that it even looks like bedbugs is sort of a problem.”

If there were, in fact, bedbugs to be found, it obviously would’ve required extensive and also costly fumigation, so it seemed like it would be in the Big Guy’s interest to make sure everything was kosher.

A few days later I was pacing around the house as I waited for the inspector, past an engraving of thin-slit eyes and “I have ver ver smarr penis.” When I saw health inspector Charlie come up he told me he wasn’t taking this bed-check officially. The Kahuna had told me earlier he and the inspector were good acquaintances, so none of this informality surprised me too much. But I was surprised by how fast inspector Charlie worked once I led him upstairs to the suspect bed. He lifted the sheets off, ran his eyes over the headboard and the seams, and within two minutes he was looking down shaking his head.

“There’s no bedbugs here.” He stated, a bit plainly and annoyed. “This looks like a combination of dirt, fleas and probably vomit stains.”

I had never been happier for such a triad in my life. But still, something about the two-minute check just didn’t bring the anxiety-assuaging relief I was really hoping for.

Afterwards, I called the Big Kahuna and told him I thought the inspection seemed short and a little unprofessional—and that I read something on the internet that said inspections are supposed to take around an hour.

“What if you really do have an infestation here?” I asked him.

*          *          *

At least eight months went by after the above episode before I started thinking about Beta again, and about the graffiti. When the news broke about a new rape allegation at Psi Upsilon (and this charge coming only weeks after Caitlin Flanagan wrote a major piece in The Atlantic re-examining the 2010 rape lawsuit at Beta), I knew that it was important for people to know what I saw at Beta.

The graffiti on the walls at Beta is exactly what is being talked about under the umbrella of “rape culture” and its presence on the fraternity’s walls stands as strong evidence for the enabling of sexual violence. I wanted to see if the writing was still there and find out if I it was really still as omnipresent as I remembered.

More importantly, I needed to be as thorough as possible in reporting this story. Normally when I’m writing a piece of non-fiction, I try to fact check as much detail in a story as possible. Given the current controversy swirling around frats at Wesleyan, it seemed particularly vital to make sure the graffiti quoted in this piece was as my sources and I remembered them to be.

Of course, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get invited to come back inside Beta and scrutinize their architecture for potentially embarrassing quotes. So I pretended to do what I had actually done a year before—I called up Gary, the Beta brother coordinating summer housing. I told him I was looking for a room.

As he showed me around the house, I mentioned that I was looking for a room for me and my “long-distance girlfriend” who was “coming to Middletown for the summer.”

“She wants to help me choose which room we take—is it alright if I take photos?” I asked Gary. He agreed, saying that it wouldn’t be a problem.

But, a minute after showing me through the first room of the tour, he paused and pivoted toward me.

“Wait… are you Ethan Hoffman?”

“Yes”

“Yeah, uh, did you get the email from the Big Kahuna? I think he sent it to you.”

He showed me his iPhone:

Mr. Hoffman –

When I first responded to your inquiry, I had not realized that you were the gentleman who stayed in the president’s suite at Beta last summer.

I believe you would be happier if you found another place to stay this summer.

Cordially,

[The Big Kahuna]

Gary was very perplexed, but he told me I had to go, and so I left, without having taken a single photo.

Then ten minutes later my phone exploded with a call from a high-ranking Beta brother who was, to put it mildly, a little ticked. Word had gotten to him that I was reporting on the Beta walls, and he quickly put the dots together that I had been snooping around.

This high-ranking brother explained that I was banned from Beta, permanently. Or, as the Kahuna put it in an email a few days later:

Please be advised that you are forbidden to enter upon our property, both land and building, and that any such entry will be considered an act of trespass and will be prosecuted to the full extent permitted by law.

Respectfully,

[The Extra Big Kahuna]

The high-ranking brother declined to officially comment about any of this. I can’t say much about the conversation we had on the phone, because he threatened me with a defamation lawsuit if I quoted him on anything he said—including the very fact that he did threaten to sue me with a defamation lawsuit. I asked if I would have hypothetically been invited to fact check if I had been up-front about my identity. He told me it most certainly would not have been allowed.

The high-ranking brother explained to me that the writing I’m investigating at Beta is not meant to be hurtful, and that he and his other brothers had viewed the writing as just dark and humorous. The writing isn’t even from the current class and has actually been there since the 1970’s or 80’s, he claimed. Still, this is clearly not the full picture. A source in the class of 1985 familiar with Beta at the time said there was nothing offensive she remembers from the walls. And it’s also worth mentioning that MC Hammer (of Hammer Time fame) didn’t release the song “U Can’t Touch This” until 1990.

It did seem like most of the brothers had never realized the ways those words might hurt people. I did not sense any kind of malevolence. And, to his credit, the high-ranking Beta brother I spoke to did agree to paint over the wall—an action he said is long overdue.

I also hope that the graffiti gets cleaned. What is in question is whether the fraternity will take the necessary action to change the culture that imprinted itself on these walls. For that I’m hopeful, but not optimistic.

*          *          *

After about a week of badgering about the inspection, the Big Kahuna finally agreed to do something about the bed. I asked him to send for the inspector, and for him to do a real check this time.

I wanted to really know that there wasn’t a problem. In the end though, he just ended up just getting me a new mattress.

Ethan Hoffman ’14

135 thoughts on “How I Got Banned From Beta Theta Pi

  1. alum

    To fill everyone in, someone called Adam out on playing for an intramural softball team last spring that sang some very degrading nasty chants during games that offended some people.

    In response Adam said he never played on that team and wasn’t there that day? and claimed “why it would matter because it was over a year ago, he could have changed?”

    This comment and Adams response was deleted (I agree it should have because it was useless to this discussion and seems flakey) however Adams response is worth discussing…

    I found it interesting he brought up this he could have changed, it was over a year ago argument because isn’t the subject matter and the “writings on the wall” in this article quoting things that existed two summers ago (so close to 2 years ago?). Could the culture that surrounded the writings have changed for the better too?

    food for thought

  2. Smelly Poop Culture Advocate

    This Adam Johnson character seems to be bring up some compelling points. Fraternities are the problem here. Smelly poops have been a rampant, yet under-discussed, issue that has dominated male bathroom culture. Will co-educating all male bathrooms bring about an all together less smelly poopy aroma? Or will co-cliquing fraternity bathrooms bring the change we need? Hipster poops have that distinct smell of tofu, cigarettes, and counter culture that fraternity bathrooms lack. This, I propose, is the solution that once and for all will eradicate Smelly Poop Culture; which as I think Adam Johnson is attempting to point out here is the real problem.

  3. Adam

    No one is “distracting” from the issue of sexual assault by criticizing or hoping to dismantle fraternities. this is a gross and dishonest accusation.

    the only thing that has got frat brothers pretending to care about sexual assault as a priority is when the only other campus issue is whether or not to take their castles away.

    both sexual assault AND the effect that fraternities have on students are extremely important issues, and anyone who claims them to be separate is kidding themselves.

    I assure you, wesleyan students have enough energy and focus to handle two problems at once.

    free high street!

    1. Adam

      its funny you say this when just last spring I know you and your intramural softball team drunkenly chanted degrading horrible things during a game

      1. Adam

        actually, for the record, i was neither on that team nor present at that game.
        in other words, you are wrong.

        if i had, it would not make my point any less valid. what if i had changed? that was a year ago…

    2. EM '15

      And the only thing that got you pretending to care about sexual assault is the prospect of bringing down these “castles”.

      1. Adam

        I come to this discussion as an opponent of fraternities. I reserve the right to discuss sexual assault in defending my position, especially as there is an undeniable connection. I am sorry if it seems like I am trying to sell my position by somehow taking advantage of the topic of sexual assault, but I can tell you that you are wrong in your accusation that I have not been an opponent of fraternities since before attending Wesleyan. I am, just as anyone else, being more vocal as of late given all of the national attention and shit. I am not pretending anything.

        If you are trying to suggest that I am somehow an advocate FOR sexual assault in disguise, then you are a goon.

        I may not be a great guy, but that’s not the question.

        I don’t think these “houses” are a good thing.

  4. Adam

    To whomever keeps commenting as “Not Dan”:

    I lived in Beta this summer and can confirm that whoever you are, you did not live in this room for most of the summer. A good friend of mine did. Calm down and sign your comments with your real name.

    -Adam Johnson

  5. Guest

    To whomever keeps commenting as “Not Dan”:

    I lived in Beta this summer and can confirm that whoever you are, you did not live in this room for most of the summer. A good friend of mine did. Calm down and sign your comments with your real name.

    -Adam Johnson

    1. Guest

      Unless there are two rooms with the “Hammertime” quote in them, which, I suppose, is not out of the question.

  6. Not Dan

    I’m not sure why this comment was deleted but I believe it is important and solid information in an otherwise flimsy story. The author is claiming to have access to a room that he did not and therefore he illegally obtained any knowledge of the writing on the wall. I would like an explanation for why my comment was deleted.

    “The room that you are referring to in the article was actually my room this past summer. I’m not sure how you got in it and I had nothing to do with the quote but you obviously broke in it since I have no idea who you are. There was stuff missing from the room when I moved in. I will contact the previous owner to see if he wants to launch an investigation. There was a girl living in the room when I got there, and I decided not to hold it against her for breaking in. I might reconsider now.”

    1. Sean Winnik

      Hey Not Dan. I lived in Beta last summer. I know who was living in the house and what room they were living in. I don’t know to which room exactly you are referring when you say that Ethan didn’t have access, but I promise that there was no illegal breaking and entering as Ethan payed rent.

      I’m not trying to start a fame war. But let’s not throw around false accusations.

      p.s. Ad hominem attacks are the weakest defense.

      1. Zacko Brint (Butt C)

        Common trends of Beta residents who are posting here, threatening lawsuits, anonymity, and poor arguments. Once again the anonymity is ridiculous. This baseless argument against the author makes you look ridiculous.

        1. bob

          They’re using anonymity because they’d get viciously attacked for being part of an institution that everyone is blindly attacking right now.

          1. Zacko Brint (Butt C)

            Yes but my point is if the attacks are not true, they should be able to come out as individuals and refute it. There is no blind attack. The eyes of this witness saw these words written on the walls. Accept responsibility for your space. There is a reason that they are being “attacked”, because their environment is misogynistic and unacceptable on our campus.

        2. Letslookatthefacts

          Dude you’re an athlete. You must be a rapist. Shit. I bet you’re trying to hide behind your feminist bravado.

  7. Dan or is it??

    The room that you are referring to in the article was actually my room this past summer. I’m not sure how you got in it and I had nothing to do with the quote but you obviously broke in it since I have no idea who you are. There was stuff missing from the room when I moved in. I will contact the previous owner to see if he wants to launch an investigation. There was a girl living in the room when I got there, and I decided not to hold it against her for breaking in. I might reconsider now.

  8. Samira

    This piece isn’t about sexual assault. It isn’t even about frats or whether Beta is “good” or “bad.” This line: “She said stop, I said Hammer Time,” could’ve been written anywhere or said by anyone and I still would’ve cringed. This piece is about changing our actions and behaviors to create a safer community, no matter what space we are in. The setting here is Beta, and after reading this piece it’s easy to harp on Beta brothers. It’s easy to harp on any of the residential frats for having spaces that can foster oppressive or intimidating power relations. But that’s not the point of this piece, and it definitely should not be the point of the greater dialogue surrounding sexual assault on campus.

    Take the information in this post as you will, but we can’t ignore that the “writings on the wall” are hurtful and messed up. These messages are literally on the walls of Beta, but they can also pervade the way we (Wes students) treat each other. “Rape culture” exists on the macro (institutional) and micro (personal) levels and it’s unproductive to focus just on the frats here. Yes, the author describes his particular experience at the frat and implies how an institution might implicitly condone rape culture. It’s important for us to realize, though, that similar messages can be condoned between lots of different kinds of people, places, and institutions on campus (I even encourage anyone who sees such messages graffiti-ed around campus to e-mail staff@wesleying.org with a picture of it. I hear there is a PAC bathroom with rape-oriented graffiti on the stall). While Beta is the focus of this piece, the message is even bigger than that.

    By next week, the WSA will vote on the last of the frats co-education resolutions and that particular issue will be resolved (you can read the details of these resolutions in BZOD’s FAQ post). I doubt that our campus can wholly move past discussing the “frats issue” in conjunction with sexual assault on campus, but I sincerely hope that
    we do.

    Sexual assault is a big fucking problem on college campuses nationwide. What makes Wesleyan different is that we talk about the issues, sometimes exhaustively, sometimes combatively, but we still talk about them. This is a great thing. We have great sexual health and peer advocates and a generally communicative student body; we should be able to talk about how to move forward from here.

  9. WesTech

    Know what would be really interesting? If Wesleyan opened up their books and showed everybody the % of sexual assaults that happen in fraternities vs the campus at large. This, of course, will never happen.

    If that were to happen, the Wesleyan left (lets call them) would say “well the numbers are not right because most sexual assaults go unreported.” Now, the logic would then go that the sexual assaults #s that happen on campus are also unreported so the very small % of assaults that happen at fraternity parties is still that, very small.

    Oh and guess what, Bowdoin (ranked higher than us in the rankings) tried this (http://nypost.com/2014/04/18/sex-booze-and-quotas-the-troubles-at-dartmouth/) and it didn’t make a difference. But yeah sure, lets get rid of them at Wes and it should solve the problem.

    For a school with so many smart people, it blows my mind how people can take a serious problem on college campuses and get sidetracked into thinking that getting rid of fraternities, which have been there for over hundred years in most cases, all of the sudden are the reason sexual assaults happen.

    The conversation should be focused 100% on the problem and education. It seems judgement is clouded by the fact many of you may have been made fun of in high school by some lacrosse players and now have the opportunity to “win”. Your dislike of the dudes in the frats should not merge with the sexual assault epidemic.

    1. pyrotechnics

      Are more sexual assaults happening elsewhere on campus than at fraternities? Almost definitely.

      Are more sexual assaults per capita happening at fraternities than elsewhere on campus? Maybe, maybe not.

      Should that ambiguity, or even a certainty, prevent us from addressing the issue at fraternities? Nope.

      Sexual violence is sexual violence wherever it takes place. One of those places is fraternities.

      I’d be delighted if folks like you starting taking some meaningful actions to combat sexual assault on campus more generally. It’s absolutely necessary. But I’m really tired of people telling me that I need to cancel the progress I’m trying to make on sexual assault because the issue is bigger than that. It’s particularly frustrating when most people who are calling for inaction on fraternities, so that we can have action on sexual assault all over campus, aren’t doing anything to make the latter happen other than complaining about the work that I’m doing.

      This isn’t a “sidetrack” issue to sexual assault. It’s an important one. But it’s important to note that NOBODY (literally, nobody) is under the illusion that progress on fraternities is going to solve the issue of sexual assault. The Bowdoin article you cited says that the issue didn’t disappear, sure, but nowhere does it say that “it didn’t make a difference.”

      And before anybody begins the tired, repetitive attacks that “sexual assault is not about fraternities,” here are a sampling of articles I’ve written over the years that address that exact point:
      http://wesleying.org/2012/10/23/you-should-read-this/
      http://wesleying.org/2012/10/31/you-should-read-this-one-too/
      http://wesleying.org/2013/02/12/shock-and-awe/
      http://wesleying.org/2014/02/20/atlantic-fraternities-wesleyan-you/

      Does the broader horrific epidemic of sexual assault make any of this less necessary? Abso-fuckin-lutely not.

  10. Ew

    Total side note: what I am confused about is that the author proudly asserts that he comes from a long line of “neurotics”, yet decided to keep (and I assume sleep on) the mattress of a total stranger. A mattress that he claims had an “open and shut case of bedbugs”. Seems to me like any reasonable person that finds a mattress with a “thick line of black spots” in his or her sleeping area would throw it out rather than spend an entire summer complaining about it. The article has some fine points, but I am a little deterred by the author’s hygiene habits.

    1. Ashli

      He didn’t sleep there though. He slept in another room for a week then om a new mattress in the initial room. I am confused why you chose to focus on this out of the whole article.

  11. Zacko Brint (Butt C)

    It is interesting to me how the people who critique this article respond anonymously. I can understand a survivor’s need for anonymity, but Beta brothers, come out and use your name and defend this. Why is your housing run by the Big Kahuna who is threatening defamation charges? If they are false come out and say that these things are not written on your walls. And if they are true, listen to this fine brave journalist who said “take the necessary action to change the culture that imprinted itself on these walls.” Something is wrong with the culture in this house. I am mad because people are getting hurt, I am mad because this makes our university look awful, and I am furious at the inaction. Respond like a member of the community, with your name and place of residence.

    1. Ethan Hoffman

      For a point of fact, the landlord did not threaten any legal action, and that is also how the article reads.

      1. Zacko Brint (Butt C)

        “Please be advised that you are forbidden to enter upon our property, both land and building, and that any such entry will be considered an act of trespass and will be prosecuted to the full extent permitted by law.”

  12. kmat

    My issue with this piece is that it continues a focus on the fraternities and their role at Wesleyan, which while important, should really be a focus on sexual violence and the role ALL members of the Wesleyan community have on causing and preventing it. I feel that focusing on the frats takes takes personal responsibility away from a large part of the community in a way that is really dangerous. There is sexual assault that happens at frats, maybe more so than other spaces, but the largest number of reported sexual assaults happen in freshman dorms. This isn’t to say that I don’t find elements of the frats patriarchal and problematic, I just don’t think it is the center of the issue. In addition, by making it so we continue to severely divide our community at a time when we need more than ever to come together.

  13. James Taltwell

    “A source in the class of 1985 familiar with Beta at the time said there was nothing offensive she remembers from the walls.”

    Iron-clad reporting.

    1. Ethan Hoffman

      Many of the sources I spoke to asked to have their names changed or to be anonymous. Given the level of vitriol in these comments, it’s really not surprising why someone would not want their name put out there. This on top of the threatened legal action seemed to me to justify using anonymous sources, which I would generally stay away from. But this kind of anonymity in journalism is definitely something that always deserves scrutiny, and I appreciate your criticism.

      1. Brenda Calhoun

        It’s not the anonymity that’s the problem, it’s that you’re relying on the testimony of someone 25 years removed who wasn’t even a member, let alone past resident, of Beta. As an actual journalist, as opposed to a ‘writing Creative Nonfiction’ smegmite, I wouldn’t rely on her to describe the color of the house.

        1. Ethan Hoffman

          Who would know better what the inside of the building looked like 25 years ago better than someone who spent a lot of time inside the building 25 years ago?

          1. James Taltwell

            I spent a lot of time in the Olin downstairs bathroom during my time at Wes. You know what I’d say if someone asked me two decades from now if there was anything offensive written on the walls? “I don’t remember” (keeping in mind that ideas of what constitute offensive change, so what was innocuous in ’85 is now worthy of condemnation, apparently).

  14. anonanon

    What I find really funny is all the commenters complaining about the author calling out the house’s messiness. Can you not see how entitled behavior (like these young men not cleaning up after themselves–a problem apparent all over campus after parties or days on Foss and in this case in this house) can be tied to entitled behavior when it comes to other arenas (how feeling entitled to sex is a big part of rape culture i.e. “I took her to formal so she has to blow me.”)?

    1. James Taltwell

      Wow, that’s a really brilliant, insightful train of logic there.

      Entitlement is not some sort of acute neurological disease that renders its sufferer conscientiously deficient. Of course, considering you clearly suffer from an intellectual disability yourself, I can’t imagine your grasping this simple concept.

    2. GH

      Being a slob is not being entitled… Are you really trying to say that messiness is part of rape culture? And you are insinuating that men are the only ones not cleaning up after themselves at parties, which is just laughable.

      1. anon

        No, being messy is not in itself acting entitled, but vacating a residence space and leaving it an absolute wreck although you know someone else will be living there, assuming that someone else will deal with the mess, is entitled. This is not merely people not cleaning up after a party: this is people leaving a house at the end of the year.

  15. Smelly Poop Culture Advocate

    Great piece. I hope to see many more like this. Perhaps a follow-up piece might examine the graffiti in the Sci Li stalls and examine the potential links to Smelly Poop Culture.

  16. Sterling_Archer

    I won’t delve too deep into how this piece is just another trite quasi-investigative anti-fraternity story. Yes, this house is dirty. Anyone who has ever walked past it would know this. I would also think that when the author toured the house prior to moving in, as they indicated they had, they would at least be semi-apprised to the state of the house. I will commend the author, a self-proclaimed offspring of a
    long and proud line of neurotics for moving into the house with this knowledge. That was brave.

    Yes, there is graffiti on the wall. Some of the graffiti seems overtly disrespectful, while some of it just seemed stupid. There’s no reason for it. If you want, you can even argue the filth and graffiti is strong evidence of “rape culture,” as the author did. I see it more as evidence that the house is dirty and contains graffiti. I will say that I am glad that they are painting it over.

    Anyhow, I’ll move on to my larger point, which I’m sure will get my crucified on this forum. Focusing on “rape culture” is a waste of time. You’re protesting a fallacy. A dirty house with offensive graffiti on the walls doesn’t lead to rape. By focusing on
    rape culture, all men are implicated while simultaneously trivializing the experiences of survivors and deflecting the blame from the rapists truly responsible for sexual violence.

    While I’ve thought this for quite some time, I’ve had trouble expressing my sentiment. Luckily RAINN, America’s largest anti-sexual-violence organization finally did so for me. In their recent recommendation to the White House, RAINN denies the validity of anti-rape culture rhetoric saying: “In the last few years, there has been an unfortunate trend towards blaming ‘rape culture’ for the extensive problem of sexual violence on campus. While it is helpful to point out the systemic barriers to addressing the problem, it is important not to lose sight of a simple fact: Rape is caused not by cultural factors but by the conscious decisions, of a small percentage of the community, to commit a violent crime.” As a community, we should be focused on the true cause of the problem.

    Affirmative and impactful steps should be taken to quell the problem. I wish I knew the exact steps to be taken. Although I am no expert, we can look towards RAINN again for some solutions. They suggest, empowering community members through bystander intervention education, using “risk-reduction messaging” to encourage students to increase their personal safety and promoting clearer education on “where the ‘consent line’ is.”

    To me this piece just continues the vilification of the many for the actions of the few. We can do better.

    1. sigh

      I think it is you who is losing sight of a simple fact – cultural factors contribute to the individual decision to rape someone. A college student in an environment with pro-rape graffiti and rhetoric is more likely to rape someone than a college student in an environment with pro-consent rhetoric. RAINN’s statement was made not to invalidate the existence of rape culture, but to re-emphasize the role of individuals who commit rape.

      1. Ethan

        While I agree with you, I think it’s important to clarify that the graffiti doesn’t cause sexual assault or rape culture, but rather reflects it. Surely, none of the Beta bros see “She said stop, I said hammertime” and proceed to sexually assault someone. Rather, there is a certain environment in which both sexual assault and this graffiti occur. Just because Beta will paint over the graffiti, doesn’t change this environment.

    2. Dale Glasspiegel

      Can you separate culture from consciousness? They contribute to each other. You make a great point that focusing solely on culture can take away from the reality and responsibility that this is individuals who make these (somewhat) conscious choices. Though think about your suggestion. Your suggestion for bystander intervention education, and better messaging is beneficial, not just to the individual, but specifically to the overall culture of the place.

  17. Anonymous

    why did you feel the need to waste our time telling us about the supposed bed bug problem in beta?

  18. '14

    Note to Wesleying and it’s contributors: take the criticism that you see in these comments and actually take it seriously. If you have a serious interest in journalism and actually want to be part of a first-class college campus blog, then you are going to need to listen to this criticism and take a look in the mirror.

    Taking to twitter with comments like “LOL at the comments saying Wesleying used to have integrity and now is a joke” as if these students and the opinions that they have posted are not legitimate is extremely unprofessional, immature, and does not reflect well on Wesleying as an institution. Food for thought.

    1. c

      Exactly. Wesleying might need to leave their righteous bubble; they’re embarrassing themselves even further. And Gabe – no, Wesleying has not deteriorated in previous years. Just this year. Perhaps stop being the Activist Times and start taking an unbiased approach to campus debates.

      1. ~

        you can’t really call out ONE REPORTER for being biased…. some people are biased, and just as people argue they should be allowed to do what they want in their homes, he should be able to do what he wants on his goddamn twitter.

      2. Ethan Hoffman

        I hope I made it clear that I am not an unbiased reporter. This piece is not in the form of a straight news story–it’s a narrative. It’s my personal belief that there’s no such thing as unbiased reporting. I like what Howard Zinn said: “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” It’s really important that writers own their biases, and I think I did that in this article. But I am sorry if that could have been clearer.

        1. i miss the old wesleying

          the issue isnt you being biased. the issue is that wesleying as an organization has embraced this bias. last year, if you had written this, someone else would have also written an article opposing it or something. not anymore…

    2. Zach

      Having worked in online journalism for nearly a year, I can’t imagine anything more commonplace and mundanely ~professional~ than joking about reader comments on Twitter.

      ~~I MISS U, WESLEYING COMMENTERS~~

  19. WINE-TIME

    Whiners whining about the author’s whining are seriously winding my brain for some wining.

  20. anon

    Marginalizing the guys in Beta does NOT build towards a productive discussion of sexual assault. This is selfish and petty. And you sound like a total whiner.

    1. Sean Winnik

      How about a Beta brother steps up and says they’re disgusted with the writing on the wall? That instantly fix one of the problems Ethan brings up, and also would instantly shine a good light on Beta brothers. Being defensive about something that you shouldn’t be defensive about makes it seem like you don’t have solid ground to stand on.

  21. Concerned Random Joe

    It was admirable of you to want to report on the graffiti, and do so in an objective manner. Things like that, though they can be easily brushed off as all in good fun, can seriously affect the culture of any group living in the space.

    That said, I felt that the long intro describing the filthy state of the house was unnecessary, and seriously detracted from your initial goal of objectively reporting on the graffiti. I am not member of Beta, but I found this section, which is an overwhelmingly large part of the article, to be immature and unproductive.

    I am glad to hear that at least some of the graffiti is being painted over. It is a small step in the right direction. It is concerning that there was an issue of transparency on the issue of the graffiti, which I think is part of a larger concern about the resistance towards opening fraternities up for scrutiny in general. However, it is also concerning that a productive investigation on promotions of rape culture comes with petty insult. I think both of these points are major reasons why progress on this issue has been so difficult in the past: members of the community feel shut out, and members of the fraternity feel personally attacked.

  22. Anon

    Was the “squirrels = cunts” actually about the animals squirrels or something else? It seems to me that Beta is working on improving the situation by painting over the walls, something you barely spent a sentence talking about. While the rest of the article is complaining about how a living space that costs a third of your other options was messy, big surprise. I wish people would stop spending all their efforts on solely criticizing and instead suggest steps frats, students, and the school as a whole can take to prevent sexual assault, rape culture, and misogyny on campus. I didn’t see a single suggesting in the whole article except mentioning that you hope they paint the walls, right after a brother told you they would. I do appreciate that this probably took a lot a bravery to write, especially including your name, something I haven’t done, and that there is a problem around the country (which our campus is included in) but calling a frat house gross isn’t going to solve it.

    1. A

      Last year, walking to and from hi-rise, I’d see squirrels going in and out of Beta’s house whenever their windows were wide open. So yeah, I think the squirrel thing is legitimate.

      1. A

        Not that I condone calling squirrels “cunts” or using the term “cunt” at all. I don’t. Just saying that there are squirrels in the picture.

  23. '17

    Ethan Hoffman,
    Learn about privacy.
    No one benefits from this article but you. Maybe not even you.

  24. Sean Winnik

    This is not an attack on you, Brothers, this is an attack on your institution, just as it is also an attack of part of Wesleyan, an institution to which I belong. News like this does not make Wesleyan look good, just as it doesn’t make Beta look good, but you know what? I’m thankful when someone points out that I have food on my face, because then I can clean it off.

    TL;DR You can lead the fight to a better Wesleyan and a better Beta if you want (why you are against this is beyond me), and we will march beside you.

    1. anon

      There’s a difference between calling someone out for having food on their face and telling them that they should clean the food off their face. So many of these articles and posts are framed, or seemed to be framed, as attacks rather than constructive criticism. When people feel they are being attacked they are more likely to distance themselves as opposed to working together to solve a problem. You have to understand that not every frat member likes every aspect about frat culture, or the graffiti on the wall in this circumstance. It’s easy to see why they aren’t speaking up as much because when you have one group attacking you and another group calling saying their you’re brothers and have your best interests in mind it’s obvious which group they’ll side with. Why don’t we work as a community, frat and non-frat, to talk about specific issues and what we can do to solve them. If you were to have a talk with “The Big Kahuna” and the members of the frat about how the graffiti could be harmful and hurtful and promote things that Wesleyan is against, before you tried to secretly take photos of it maybe more progress would have been made. It’s probably difficult to change something that’s been your frat for so long, and go against the status quo especially when the side trying to change things are attacking and blaming you.

      1. Sean Winnik

        No worries about the ‘you.’

        Regarding ‘attack’ vs ‘constructive’ perhaps you are correct. However, I think the remedies are actually quite simple, and don’t need to be laid out in front of us. That would make for very boring articles, and would be far from reporting. Would you rather a list telling Beta how they could change? Would that not be more annoying to have someone from outside your community trying to tell you how to live? It only seems to be ‘attacking’ because accusations are of very gross activities. As I said in my previous post, instead of acting defensively if Beta were to email Ethan back, or make a Wesleying post outlining how all of these things can be fixed, I think that would instantly alleviate tension and would actually put Beta in quite a moral position. What a great thing it would be to do, instantly acknowledge our own shortcomings in an attempt to fix them.

        Are Ethan’s accusations not true? Or are they true and disturbing. What are we angry about here?

        I agree that constructive criticism leads to nicer interactions, but perhaps that is not enough leverage for actions to be taken.

        p.s. I also mean for my ‘you’ to be global.

        1. anon

          It would be great if everyone instantly acknowledge’s their own shortcomings in an attempt to fix them, but as history and human nature have showed us this isn’t how people work.

          1. Sean Winnik

            Definitely agree with you here. My point is I feel like a lot of anger is directed at Ethan, which makes sense because he made serious allegations, however, unless anyone is claiming that he is lying, it seems misdirected.

          2. anon

            I guess I agree with you that the hate is undeserved, and that Ethan didn’t due anything wrong, but at the same time my point was that he didn’t really do anything to help either.

          3. Sean Winnik

            It’s nice to find a point of agreement. But at this point I guess that’s just a difference of opinion. Pleasure talking to you. I with more people on this thread would listen to each other. But a you stated earlier, there is the history of humanity that shows that that is rarely the case.

  25. disappointed

    Honestly, more than anything I’m just disappointed that this article is taking precedence over an honest and open conversation about addressing and eliminating sexual assaults on campus. There is a way to go about this issue in a productive and positive manner, and writing a quasi-investigative journalism piece that implies a link between messiness and rape culture comes up short of that standard to me.

    1. guest

      actually this article makes an explicit link between the graffiti and rape culture: “The graffiti on the walls at Beta is exactly what is being talked about under the umbrella of “rape culture” and its presence on the fraternity’s walls stands as strong evidence for the enabling of sexual violence. “

  26. senior '16

    “Reading is gay”? On the walls of an old house at a prestigious little Ivy? This reflects poorly on the whole campus, not just because of the privilege, but because of idiocy. I guess *anyone* with money and connects CAN get into this school. I’m floored.

    End gender segregation at this university! Just because an institution is old, doesn’t mean it can justify itself. Greek Life is gross. stop going to their shitty parties and smoke moar 420

    1. reading is chill

      Yeah, because “reading is gay” was written totally 100% seriously and reflects the exact level of intelligence of every single member of Beta, thus proving that everyone in Beta got in only because of “money and connects”. Smoke less 420.

  27. Anonymous

    I just wanted to say that I think that this piece is incredibly brave given the fact that it will inevitably attract a negative backlash from the people who don’t want their sexist, homophobic, and racist behavior to be exposed. It doesn’t matter who wrote those things on the wall – the fact that years and years of people have seen that and haven’t been offended is the problem. It is a reflection of what type of behavior and sentiment is allowed to go unquestioned in that house.

    Yes, the people who live in the room have the right to certain privacy, but once that room is rented out the renter also has a right to comment on what they saw/experienced/etc… So thank you Ethan for being courageous and sharing your truth.

    1. dooood

      Alright so next time I’m a guest in your home, I should record everything everyone says in the house. Then I should write a piece that showcases all the negative, potentially offensive things you said out of context. Aka sharing the truth.

      1. '15

        To the author of the above comment from Anonymous (class of 2015), you, along with anyone else, would be free to write down or comment on anything you hear said in my home. I hope that my home is a space that fosters positive non-offensive dialogue and interaction. But when offensive things may be said or brought up, I would want someone to call me on it, so that I could work to make it so that that type of thing didn’t happen again.

        TL/DR You are free to comment on anything that you hear/see. I would hope that such comments lead to constructive dialogue and positive change.

  28. Don't hate the messenger

    Thank you for this article. It’s an appreciated muckraking piece that gives quite a clear view into this frat and embraces honestly and facts where there is despicable dishonestly, misogyny, and elitism.

  29. DKEDKEDKE

    Let’s talk about the real issues at frats: not what’s ON their walls, but what happens within them

    1. rape culture-->rape

      Isn’t the disgusting language on their walls indicative of what happens within them? If people who live there are really bothered by it, why hasn’t it been painted over for 30+ years? Also, repeated exposure to shit like that (like if you live there and glance at it every day) can lead to desensitization and make people more likely to accept it as OK.

    2. adam

      no, what’s on their walls also matters. what if the frat had a bunch of swastikas on is walls? how about a bunch of racial slurs? would that not be a “real issue?” would you accept it if, upon being called out for having a bunch of n-words scrawled on its walls, a frat of mostly white guys essentially told you to fuck off and stop criticizing their “dark humor?” you wouldn’t? then why are you satisfied when an all-male frat says the exact same thing when called out for having a bunch of misogynistic, anti-women language on their walls?

  30. height of journalism

    This piece is incredibly stupid. In what world is this news? A 100 year old fraternity house has inappropriate writing on the walls and is also dirty. What a waste of an article on (what used to be) a well-run and informative college campus blog.

  31. the height of journalism

    This piece is incredibly stupid. In what world is this news? A 100 year old fraternity house has inappropriate writing on the walls and is also dirty. What a waste of an article on (what used to be) a well-run and informative college campus blog.

  32. Anonymous

    A source from 1985? You mean your mother? Must be very reliable…must have also really hit home that those betas are objectifying squirrels. Just curious…did you have one as a pet?

  33. '15

    TL;DR- Beta has mean graffiti and is icky!! These things = an environment for sexual assault.

    Seriously, this is a bullshit piece that only should have been about 1/4 of the length that it was.

  34. Alum with no name

    What a brave piece. And for the author to attach his name on it. A lot braver than the angry commenters… who sound as though they’re Beta bros? In any case, you can’t argue that this piece is well-written and informative regarding the masculinity-dominated culture that permeates the very building of Beta Theta Pi itself.

  35. Be the change you want to see

    Life is about opportunism. The subject is current and he has something to say.
    Rape culture is a real thing. It is condoning writing on the walls for 20 – 30 years. It is equating girls to cunts. It is condoms left on the floor as if sex is no big deal.
    Homophobia is a big deal too. Making lists of things that are gay is, um, well I was going to say childish, but my 9 year old child would not say those things.
    Insulting the writer who is opening (or continuing) a dialogue is childish.

      1. change

        No, they said “squirrels = cunts”. Which would mean a girl, woman, female is just a cunt. Not a brain, Not a worthy human being. Just a cunt. Who, apparently, will get in and steal your shit.

        1. really

          no i think they just meant the squirrels that can easily come in through their windows and in to their rooms. You’re completely overreaching

  36. 2TaiRd

    I’m getting quite tired of all the comments regarding fraternity rape culture. If you don’t like the misogynist culture, then don’t take part in it. We avoid the problem by not attempting a discourse on personal responsibility, not to say that it is anyone’s fault. Denying such a discourse would be like saying we had a responsibility to do our build the twin towers, and its our fault that terrorists knocked it down. This isn’t the case.
    If you don’t like the fraternities, don’t supply them with validation by going to their parties. At least in comparison to all the bitching I’ve seen in the last few months, that seems to be the best option.

    1. Wait, what?

      Avoiding the bad things in the world doesn’t make them go away. The discussion should be about what the community can do to help the bad things (rape culture) go away quicker, not about what individuals can do to avoid discomfort. Also, what is your point about terrorists? How does it help anyone’s argument to equate rapists to terrorists? What?

    2. you can't hide from problems

      Your theory is to ignore the problem and act like it’s not happening. By “not taking part in it” you allow it to continue, just without yourself included. If you saw someone being beaten and just turned away to exclude yourself from the situation, would that be the right thing to do?
      If you’re tired of all the frat rape comments, DO SOMETHING to eliminate the link between frats and rape such as report it and take action to ensure the future isn’t as disgusting!

  37. What happaned to integrity?

    Wesleying, to me, has lost its integrity as an organization and should be ashamed of itself for supporting this kind of slandering and defamation. Its sad that the desperately needed sexual assault discussion is not being approached with the respect and maturity that it warrants and deserves. A student run website should display the voices of critically thinking problem solvers instead of glorifying this embarassing anecdote. The writing on the Beta walls is disgusting and needs to be addressed, but these childish tactics are not the way towards positive change. If Wesleyan wants to take the opportunity to be leaders on this nationwide problem, its students should start acting like adults.

    1. yeah

      peep the top 3 features articles all featuring the persecution of fraternities.
      Sick Wesleying way to responsibly use your influence on campus

    2. criticsgonnacritique

      I would just like to note that the authors of wesleying have never claimed that they will only write and post objective journalistic pieces. They’re a student blog whose content is determined by their contributors. Like with any other news source, if you don’t like it, either stop reading it or start contributong to it rather than just bitching. That, to me, sounds like “acting like an adult.”

    3. Ethan

      Hi this is the author. A charge of defamation and slander is a very serious charge, and one that I had to consider while writing this article. All of the facts in this article were based on witness testimony or my own experience which is well noted if anyone would like to take a look at it.

      Truth, even if it is embarrassing, cannot be defamatory.

    4. Gabe

      Point of clarification: Slander only refers to false spoken statements. You might be looking for “libel,” which refers to print. You also might be confused about the definition that true statements can neither be slander or libel.

      And now, talking as myself, if members of Beta or other fraternities (or any organization dealing with such accusations) wanted to improve sexual assault, it would be working to improve sexual assault. If organizations would like to be portrayed as helpful, then they need to be helpful. If people complain about Wesleying using its “influence” to “persecute” fraternities, then maybe they should consider the actual problems that Wesleying is looking to discuss—because those fraternities have not discussed it without outside prompting, lawsuits, and criticism. Journalistic organizations have a responsibility to seek truth and report it—consider this reporting, done by someone who is not a member of Wesleying but a community member with a unique perspective.

  38. 2015

    It’s obvious that you were looking for things to complain about and going out of your way to capitlize on the recent press about fraternities on campus. This article comes off as forced and insincere. Bed bugs? Really?

    Stop trying so hard to create new problems and focus on the ones already at hand because those are the ones that need attention.

  39. Change is not made this way

    I get that the things written on the walls are concerning, but this is absolutely ridiculous. Rape culture is a real thing that is a constant part of fraternity culture, but focusing on things written 20, 30 years ago? An insult to efforts to actually make these spaces safer.

  40. '10

    So much hatred!! Individuals have privacy and each one does his or her own “things” in privacy that could upset others. Some people like their living space to be “messy”! You cannot just write an article attacking someone for not cleaning their rooms or even worse associating what’s written on a wall to rape culture and accusing an entire house of individuals of condoning or even promoting such thing. Your story disgusts me because it takes away from the seriousness of the sexual assault subject. You’re not standing for the real victims and survivals of sexual assault, all you’re doing (and a large group on this campus) is attacking institutions on campus that have always given back to this community. You’re directing mobilization that should work to eliminate sexual assault to mobilization to eliminate institutions and defame individuals that do not in any way promote nor condone sexual assault. This is ridiculous!

    1. '17 survivor

      I, personally, am not triggered or insulted by the writer of this piece. I do however think that if I saw those writings on Beta’s walls, and if I were confronted with them on a daily basis, I would be offended and angry. Why in the hell should ANYONE on campus be allowed to have things like that, that insult people on this campus so crudely, on their walls?
      I also don’t think that SEXUAL ASSAULT is actually what is being talked about, but rape culture and the reputation that Beta has made for itself. While I normally don’t like to feed into stereotypes, and I am friends with a lot of guys in frats, I support the idea of these guys taking that shit off of their walls! If for anything other than to make them look better and less guilty. It definitely would add some credibility to their argument that they give a shit about rape culture and not perpetuating it if they, I don’t know, weren’t so CALLOUS.

      If any of you guys in Beta read this, I think you’ve got to stop being so damn defensive and start taking suggestions to help people see you guys aren’t a “Rape Factory” or a lot of ~bros~ (negative connotation used). I really agree with some of the guys in your fraternity, but I think you guys are living in a house that allows you to sit and become too complacent in your perpetuation of rape culture, even if you don’t realize it.

      1. '15 GDI

        I’m not condoning rape culture or sexual assault, but there is a certain level of privacy that is being invaded here. If I want to write certain things on the wall of my room, that is my business. I’m opening my room to you and you’re offended, don’t take my room or take it down. If I were to be sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. in the walls of my personal space, I have the right to be (not to say that it is correct).
        I fully understand that this sort of behavior is not conducive to a campus fighting sexual assault, but lets not be so tolerant that we’re intolerant. It is a private space, if you wanted to put up a poster of ‘Duck Dynasty’ I would be offended, but I’m not gonna ask you to take it down from your personal space.

        1. '17 survivor

          totally agree, forgot to but that in- Beta, you guys rent the space, pay for it, etc. It can be as dirty, clean, covered in weird posters, etc. It really is up to you guys! Personal rights and everything.

          What I am trying to say is that in your personal space, IF you allow these things (which you TOTALLY have the right to do), I think you should be much less outraged at people saying you perpetuate rape culture (as well as racist stereotypes IF that Asian drawing is a real thing).

          What you surround yourself with says A LOT about you.

          1. Ethan

            Author here–As a messy person, I agree we should all be allowed to be messy. However the situation is different with regards to renting and leasing. In fact, landlords of tenement housing (which Beta is filed as) are required by the state of CT to provide clean apartments prior to move in. Here’s a link: https://www.jud.ct.gov/Publications/hm031.pdf

        2. Natalie

          Rape is an invasion of privacy. Sexual assault is an invasion of privacy. Sexual harassment is an invasion of privacy. If you want to talk about privacy and respect, let’s start with the real issue here. I don’t care that this article invaded the Beta president’s room. Many of the brothers/perpetrators that president chooses to defend have invaded the privacy of countless students on this campus. If your concern is privacy then you should probably be writing a comment about sexual assault. Get some perspective.

      2. Stop the labels

        I am not a “bro” or a “hipster” or any of those other branded terms, but how does stereotyping and attacking people for being what you define as a “bro” help this situation at all? Can’t we move past this labeling and judgement? We are all smart and conscientious enough to see past silly labels and deal with each other as people. We should not be saying “skinny jeans are good, tanks are bad!” We should be talking about getting along as a community of different individuals. Saying “bro” with negative connotations puts you on the same level as people who use the terms “hipster”, “gay”, “nerd” etc negatively. Have respect for your fellow man and don’t be so damn hypocritical.

        1. '17 survivor

          I was saying that the stereotype EXISTS and they are apparently the students on campus that most represent it. I personally don’t use it as a negative term, and meant it as an invocation of something I know fraternity brothers are really against being called.

    2. uh

      Institutions that “do not in ANY WAY promote nor condone sexual assault”? Come on, there is no way you believe this. Why can’t we accept that just because sexual assault doesn’t start or end with fraternities, groups of young adult boys living in a position of privilege (huge unsupervised house) that are granted access based on privilege (gender) to an institution whose history and tradition are doused in elitism and misogyny … definitely play a role in perpetuating rape culture. The writings on the wall condone looking at women as objects, and let’s not pretend we have not heard this sort of rhetoric. And the dynamic of a boys club that women are entirely barred from joining continues a separation of genders that privileges men with living space and event hosting. That many of the largest parties on campus happen in these spaces of male privilege and subsequent male expectations is not irrelevant to the conversation of sexual assault.

      This is not a problem exclusive to Wesleyan – neither sexual assault nor the perpetuation of sexism through fraternities. Which is why claims that there is no link between the two confuse me .. you can read about other such cases from all across the country. It is not a coincidence that many reports of college sexual assault have a tie-in to fraternities. Yes, you can say it is easier to tackle and sue an institution than an individual. You can also say it makes perfect sense that an institution built on exclusion and problematic notions of masculinity would create an environment where sexual assault can and does happen.

  41. In awe and disgust

    This is a very well-written piece and I am in awe of your bravery and in disgust of the culture that is going on throughout Beta.

    1. How is poor writing brave?

      Awe of his bravery? For living in a one hundred year old house, only to complain and scrutinize as much as possible? Personally, he comes off as a sensitive and entitled jerk to me.

      1. wesbiker

        100 year-old houses don’t come pre-stocked with bedbugs, used condoms and sexist/racist graffiti. That part’s all Beta.

    1. "I'm so Wes!"

      You need to read more. “So Wesleyan”? I hate when people say things like that because they are claiming that the narrow-minded beliefs that they and their close friends hold are somehow equivalent to the essence of Wesleyan. Wesleyan is a diverse community, consisting of a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and schools of thought. Please do not group the rest of us in with you by claiming what is and is not “so Wesleyan”.

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