Psi U Suspended From All Social Activities Through 2015

Psi U

The all-male residential fraternity Psi Upsilon has been placed on probationary housing status and suspended from all social activities through the end of 2015, according to an all-campus email today from President Roth and Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley. 

These new sanctions come as a direct result of two reported sexual assault cases against Psi U—one of Wesleyan University’s three all-male residential fraternities, and one of five total Greek residences, on campus—with the first incident occurring at an “unregistered pledge event” in spring 2011, and the second in the spring of 2013. The second case is detailed in a lawsuit filed in March 2014, currently pending against Psi Upsilon, the Wesleyan Xi Chapter, and several Psi U members (but not against the University itself), that asserts negligence on the part of the defendants. The perpetrators in both cases, according the University, were “dismissed from the University after being found responsible for sexual assault.”

Although the email acknowledges that many or all of the current fraternity members were not present at the time of either assault, the University believes that “some sanction of the fraternity is appropriate,” and the resulting decision is “consistent with our policies to support survivors, punish assailants and change the culture so as to eliminate elements that lead to sexual assault.” This action follows a busy semester of changes to and increased oversight of Greek life on campus, including the announcement that the Beta Theta Pi house would be off-limits to students for the 2014-2015 academic year. The entirety of the email has been reproduced below.

To the Wesleyan Community:

In the beginning of this semester, Wesleyan announced a series of changes aimed to make residential Greek organizations safer and more inclusive. Public Safety now has full access to the houses, and many fraternity members, like other students, are now participating in bystander intervention training and other programs to curb gender-based violence. In addition to these safety measures, in order to become more inclusive all Greek residential organizations are required to present a plan before the end of this semester to become fully co-educational over the next three years. The current undergraduate members of Psi U have made progress on such a plan, and there have been discussions with DKE students and alumni.

Recently a student reported a sexual assault, and the assailant was dismissed from the University. The incident took place after an unregistered pledge event at the Psi U fraternity in the spring of 2011.  As has previously been reported, another student was dismissed from the University after being found responsible for sexual assault at a Psi U event in the spring of 2013. In the interest of critical privacy concerns, the University will not share details of these incidents, the second of which is currently the subject of litigation between the survivor and the fraternity.

Although this latest reported incident took place three years ago, when most current residents of the fraternity house were not yet associated with the organization, some sanction of the fraternity is appropriate. Effective immediately, Psi U will be placed on provisional (probationary) program housing status until the end of 2015. The fraternity will not be allowed to hold any social events during this period, and any violation of University regulations by the organization or its members during this time will result in loss of program housing status and the house becoming off-limits to students.

This action is consistent with our policies to support survivors, punish assailants and change the culture so as to eliminate elements that lead to sexual assault. To be clear, sexual assault is not only a problem of Greek organizations; it is a problem on campuses all over the country. Our university has the responsibility to provide a safe residential learning environment where all students can experience the freedom of a transformative education, wherever they live or choose to socialize.  We take this responsibility seriously.  Therefore, in addition to taking action against individuals found to have perpetrated a violent act, any campus-based organization that has sponsored events that create conditions with a higher risk of violence, including sexual assault, also will be held accountable.

We continue to believe that coeducational Greek life can contribute value to the University and look forward to receiving plans for coeducation from our residential fraternities before the end of the semester.  We will continue to work constructively with student organizations, including Greek ones, in our campus-wide efforts to create the safest and most inspiring residential learning environment possible.

Michael S. Roth
President

Michael Whaley
Vice President for Student Affairs

For further reading:

Wesleying: “Lawsuit Filed Against Psi U” (3/12/14)
Wesleying: “BREAKING: Beta Theta Pi Off Limits to Students for this Academic Year” (9/10/14)
Wesleying: “BREAKING: Residential Fraternities Must Become Co-Ed” (9/22/14)
Wesleying: “‘No More Freshman Pledges,’ University Tells Greek Organizations” (9/25/14)

  • Anon15

    I think that frats are elitist, paternalistic, and backward facets of college culture. I think that we are moving forward as we get rid of them (the first step is making them co-ed of course). However, my issue with Roth is not that he is banning the frats but that he isn’t going to the root of the problem. In order to prevent sexual assault you can’t simply get rid of the space where this activity is perpetuated. It is ridiculous to think that the problem will be solved like this. I think what needs to be done is a campaign of mass education, requiring all students in the beginning of the year to take a consent and sexual assault course, to improve the legal structure of Wesleyan to protect sexual assault survivors, and host events where survivors can share their stories and provide counsel to other survivors. Roth is taking the wrong steps thinking that by merely monitoring the frats things are going to change, they are not. Education, better legislation, and mass mobilization will be necessary to make this work! Likewise, students should be involved in this, we aren’t children, we are adults and we should have power over these issues that affect our classmates, of course with the proper guidance.

  • An Elastic Clause

    Sick elastic clause Big Brother Roth.

    “any campus-based organization that has sponsored events that create conditions with a higher risk of violence, including sexual assault, also will be held accountable.”

    What’s next?

  • Orwell

    So my take on this is that President Roth and the Wesleyan administration has decided to adhere to an inner party of illiberal and vocal radical “feminists” who are manipulating data and disseminating misinformation to advance their soapbox preaching witch-hunt agenda. And that’s a damn shame.

    Now any campus-based organization that sponsors an event that a single female-identifying individual perceives as creating conditions with a higher risk of sexual assault must be held accountable and is subject to being banned? That’s scary logic. It sets a dangerous precedent. It is also fundamentally illiberal.

    In the name of providing a safe residential learning environment Wesleyan might as well ban the gender-bender during freshman orientation. It both creates conditions that might facilitate sexual assault and has the potential to make students feel uncomfortable–and the growing trend is to safeguard students from even the prospect of experiencing discomfort, regardless of whether that discomfort is intentional or an unintended byproduct of social interaction.

    We might as well also put a moratorium on all social events hosted at senior houses, apartments, and dorms and declare Wesleyan a dry campus because the presence of alcohol on our campus can create conditions in which potential perpetrators might use alcohol as a weapon in their devious pursuits.

    And, just in case, Wesleyan should probably consider canceling senior week indefinitely and contemplate nixing the annual tent party and any other senior/graduation events that have previously provided alcohol for the graduating class, their family, and alumni because such events have the capacity to create discomfort and/or facilitate sexual assault and misconduct.

    At this rate, Wesleyan should probably just consider banning all social interactions not regulated by the thought police and officially declare Wesleyan a paternalistic boarding school.

    –Concerned member of the community who still values classical liberal principles such as liberty and abhors ideological totalitarianism in any form.

    P.S. Wesleying, do not ban or silence me. For if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

  • Junior

    Roth’s email is so ridiculously manipulative. It states the most recent accusation is from spring of 2011 but that “most current residents of the fraternity house were not yet associated with the organization.” Interesting claim considering Psi U only houses sophomores and juniors who weren’t even at Wesleyan in 2011.
    Thank you Roth for punishing a group of students who had absolutely no affiliation with the “unregistered pledge event” or even the organization at the time and for removing another social space from the campus, further destroying its social scene.
    Sad to say that I look forward to graduating in the near future to get away from this tiny bubble of Wesleyan that thinks it is so important.

  • concernedstudent

    President Roth is overreaching his boundaries. Aside from Greek life, this administration’s stranglehold on Wesleyan’s social life is nothing short of draconian. We are one of the most prestigious liberal arts universities in the country; don’t you think we’re smart enough to make our own decisions on how to have fun on the weekends?

    • Remember the choices made…?

      Clearly not…

  • PC Incorrect

    They are seeds of the loins of their evil ancestors. May they burn in hell. – Paraphrased from some 4th century guy.

    There was non-consensual kissing 4 years ago, fire his ass. – Jane Doe #3 from more recent times.

  • 2011 freshmen graduated 2014

    why not just punish germany for world war 1 a bit more while we’re at it?

    • A Concerned German

      what does that even mean? are you implying that this will lead to bigger sexual assaults in the future (which would, you realize, also be implying that Psi U will become Nazi Germany), that we are punishing a whole group larger than they deserve for an action that was justifiable to them (which sexual assault probably isn’t justified to them at the time either), or are you just adding unconnected advice in the form that Germany still has outstanding payments to the Allied powers in World War 1 and that fucking weenie Churchill let them off the hook for it and you’re still angry about it?

      • OP

        the point was that we are punishing a group for actions that their “ancestors” committed, which they had no part in and were not even present for

        • Still Very Concerned

          Oh well you gotta make that more clear, man. I agree, we should avoid punishing these now aged to Nazi Psi U members for the actions of their past Kaiser-led brethren. I’m sure Hitler’s Psi U will agree with your analogy.

          • Alumlololol

            omg it was a figure of speech, are you daft, child?

      • OP

        but props for knowing your facts! i also took AP Euro!