“I mean, I studied abroad in Athens. Is that what you mean by Greek Life?”
This is part of our 2016 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.
This one is gonna be fun to write. If you’re reading this, odds are you’re internally pondering one or more of the following three questions: (1) Wait, I thought Wes didn’t have Greek Life like all the other small liberal arts colleges?, (2) Is wilk about to tell me that the frats are back??? Keg! Keg! Keg! Keg! Seven! Seven! Seven! Seven!, or (3) I thought Greece left the EU?
In short, here are the answers:
- It’s complicated, and some people have conspiracies about it.
- Whoa chill.
- No, Grexit was not successful. Maybe it should’ve been?
Last year, we didn’t bother with this post in our Unofficial Orientation Series, because there were only 2 remaining residential greek societies on campus and also we just didn’t want to. But there have been a few updates in the past year that might be relevant to those of you who might want to be part of the ~15% of students involved in Greek Life, according to Wesleyan’s Greek Life website.
That site has a lot of info on how to become involved, formal mission statements, and students to contact. But in addition to the formal speak, here’s a brief summary on the status of each society.
Beta Theta Pi/184 High Street
The chapter of Beta at Wesleyan was the first to go and the one to never come back. Colloquially known in the media as “the rape factory,” Beta landed Wesleyan a mention in the The Hunting Ground, the notable documentary concerning sexual assault on college campuses nationwide.
With that rep, you’d think the University would have banned their organizing way before the incident one week into the Fall 2014 semester where a student fell from the 3rd story window at the fraternity. After this incident, the chapter was disbanded, and now the house is up for sale by the owners. Currently, there are some full time residents of Middletown that are tenants of the space and some students rent there while working at Wesleyan over the summer.
The jury’s out on whether the University will try to purchase the building. Right now, the University is not in talks with the alumnus who put up the building on the market. But if I had to guess, I would say that it’s likely the University will wait until the class of 2018 has graduated (they’re the last class to have had the potential to enter the space) to even begin talks to purchase the space.
Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE)
Currently, the residents of Delta Kappa Epsilon do not have access to their former frat house for the coming year. It seemed unlikely that they would, as the members are working with DKE alumni on an open lawsuit against the University claiming gender discrimination.
The society resisted full coeducation of its ranks, citing its national charter which barred any female-identifying members. Instead, they proposed to share their house space with the non-residential sorority Rho Epsilon. The University did not accept this proposal, and the lawsuit ensued. So there was no DKE house last year, and there’s no DKE house this year. But the members are still permitted to organize in a non-residential manner.
Psi Upsilon (Psi U)
During the year of frat tears, Psi U seemed the least likely to go. In the Fall of 2014, Roth stated that the society was on probationary status for the coming semester and was not allowed to host social events. This was because of sexual assaults associated with the space in 2011 and 2013.
However, during the Spring of 2015, the society embraced the University’s mandate to coeducate, and is now on the heels of their second coed pledge class. But, just before the Fall of 2015, University officials announced a decision to ban all students from the residence for the 2015-2016 school year.
But, after a year hiatus, Psi U will be returning to their residence with full social privileges at the start of fall semester. Here’s to hoping for a safe and inclusive year at 242 High St. where the height of our worries would be a redux of the false alarm that shut down Goldlink.
The Eclectic society had its program housing status revoked during the Spring of 2016. This came after a series of intense institutional fuckery. For the coming year, the space at 200 High St. (which very oddly was designed by the architect of the Lincoln Memorial) will be occupied by MuHo (Music House).
The society is permitted to organize in a non-residential manner. In fact, Eclectic members were permitted to apply to live in Music House for the coming year. On the future of the space, the director of residential life, Fran Koerting, stated in an all-campus email:
In the fall, I will work with the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee and the WSA to determine future use of the house.
So that’s that.
Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delt, as we call it, is a coed greek literary society. Once upon a time, our university president was also president of Alpha Delt during his time at Wes. This space is home to the Star & Crescent campus eatery (they have good food) and also a “group shower” that has a twister gameboard printed on its walls.
Anyway, there’s nothing really complicated to say about this organization. They are good to go for the Fall.
Non-Residential Greek Societies
Apart from DKE and Eclectic, who are currently operating as non-residential greek societies, there are a few other non-residential greek societies that were non-residential before the year of frat tears.
The first of these, AEPi, is a chapter of a global Jewish fraternity that has been on campus since the Fall of 2009. They tend to get together to snag one or two senior houses and throw some nice parties. Also pretty sure they founded the Pine Palace Facebook account.
Rho Ep is the only sorority on campus. They were founded in the Spring of 2011. I don’t know much about them personally, but they’ve had wonderful Usdan rush rituals. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram.
Chi Psi used to call 200 Church home. You can read up on its history here. They also have a WordPress and a Facebook page.
A little disclaimer: Note that I’ve chosen for Greek Life to not inform my personal experience at Wesleyan. It’s just not something that I’m into for a variety of reasons. Yes, it’s there. But it is no longer in the traditional form. We are not Amherst and other LACs (who have banned all Greek societies), but we are also not a large state school. The campus culture is going to be defined by those not involved with Greek life, but you can participate if you please.
Just a clarification. The DKE lawsuit is not about gender discrimination. It is about the university cutting off DKE’s only means of income that sustains the house.