In a Wespeak published in the Argus today, the Xi Chapter of Psi Upsilon announced its plans to hold its first co-ed rush on February 7th. It’s the first residential frat on campus to become co-ed after the Board of Trustees and President Roth announced in September that all residential frats must become fully-coed in the next three years. This decision was alongside other hard stances the administration took on fraternities last semester, including suspending Psi U from all social activities this year, prohibiting freshmen from pledging, and making Beta off limits to students. Psi U is the only single-sex frat on campus whose national chapter allows co-education, which allows them to make this move more easily than DKE or Beta.
We’ll update with more info as it comes in, but the real question here is, will you rush?
Here’s the full Wespeak:
Beginning this semester, Wesleying will hold semi-regular meetings with President Michael Roth to ask all the questions about Wesleyan University that we have wanted, but never previously had the chance, to ask him. We have quite a bit of catching up to do. As Thursday, Nov. 20 was the first of these meetings, editors Samira, kitab, and Gabe, with input from Wesleying staff, used our time to ask a variety of questions about relevant issues from the past few years. As per their request, we informed the President’s Office beforehand on the general topics we wished to cover.
Our half-hour conversation, which we are posting here in its entirety, covers sexual assault procedure, coeducation of residential fraternities, fundraising, the endowment, need-blind admissions, and academic programs. This interview was edited for clarity.
Following Monday’s announcement that Wesleyan’s single-sex residential fraternities (Psi Upsilon, Delta Kappa Epsilon, and theoretically Beta Theta Pi) must fully coeducate within three years, the University has already taken steps to enforcing this policy—but with new requirements affecting all of Greek life on campus. Beginning this semester, all Greek organizations are prohibited from taking freshman pledges.
In an email to residential Greek organization presidents on Tuesday, but which was only today brought to the attention of non-residential organizations (reproduced below), Dean Mike Whaley discussed the hiring of a new Greek Advisor and listed additional “safety measures” that now must be put into place by all Greek organizations on campus. The residential Alpha Delta Phi and Eclectic Societies are impacted, as well as the non-residential fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (presumably Chi Psi, too) and non-residential sorority Rho Epsilon Pi.
Most notably, the University announced the elimination of “rush/pledging of first-year students,” starting immediately. Under this change, no students will be allowed to join Greek organizations until at least their sophomore year. Outside of frosh, rushing/pledging will continue as planned. In an email to Wesleying, Whaley clarified that “We are not eliminating rush/pledging this year. We are implementing a restriction on first-year students rushing/pledging during their first year on campus. Many institutions have a similar restriction.”
Princeton University passed a policy prohibiting freshman pledging in 2011, which began implementation in the fall of 2012. California Polytechnic State University did so in 2010, following the death of a freshman in an initiation ritual.
“The rationale, in part, is to allow frosh to get established with their academics and the campus prior to rush/pledge activities,” Whaley said. “Frosh can also be quite susceptible to peer pressure so we hope to reduce the possibility of hazing activities by implementing this restriction.”
In an email sent to the Wesleyan community this morning, the Chair of the Board of Trustees Joshua Boger ’73 and President Michael Roth ’78 informed the campus of the Board’s decision that all residential greek organizations must become fully co-educational in not just housing but within the greek organizations themselves.
The Board of Trustees convened in their retreat this past weekend, with more than half of the schedule dedicated to the issue of greek life on campus as well as the future of residential fraternities. This comes on the heel of the administration’s decision to declare Beta’s house off-limits to all students just a few weeks ago, in light of the discussions last semester within and outside of meetings in the Wesleyan Student Assembly over the issue of coeducation and residential fraternities.
Update (9/22/14 5:00PM): We asked DKE president Terence Durkin ’16 if the coeducation decision would affect their national membership and how they might implement coeducation. His response:
It is my understanding that our National Charter does not allow co-education, so this unilateral decision by the administration is problematic for us. It seems to do away with freedom of association for a specific, carefully chosen segment of the so-called Wesleyan “community”. The University is telling us who our friends are going to be, and who we must choose as our leaders. This is just not right. This is just not Wesleyan. We are exploring all options with our Alumni and undergraduates, and we will have more to say in the near future.
Dean Mike Whaley similarly reiterated that the national charter of DKE (and Beta) does not recognize coeducation, while Psi U’s does. He also pointed out that Alpha Delta Phi had a similar conflict with their national charter when they decided to co-educate in 1972. His response below:
I’ve not yet had a chance to work with any of the organizations yet given that the announcement was just made today. As President Roth’s announcement indicates, “If the organizations are to continue to be recognized as offering housing and social spaces for Wesleyan students, women as well as men must be full members and well-represented in the body and leadership of the organization.” We’ve invited each of the all-male fraternities to develop their own plans for realizing this goal, and I will be working with them as they develop and implement their plans to make sure they are likely to reach our objectives.
Psi U, whose national permits coeducation, has asked to meet with me later this week to begin discussions and planning.
You probably already know that Psi Upsilon’s national permits coeducation, while Beta’s and DKE’s do not. My understanding is that Alpha Delta Phi had a similar challenge with their national when they co-educated many years ago – how they overcame that obstacle could be instructive for the organizations.
Safety of fraternity spaces on campus, relative to other spaces:
19% say fraternity spaces are safer
31% say fraternity spaces are equally safe
47% say fraternity spaces are less safe
On April 18, the WSA sent out an all-campus email asking for student opinions about Greek life, safety, and gender equality. From April 18 to April 21, the WSA collected data. Within that time, there were 796 responses, which were close to representative of campus in terms of gender, class year, and Greek membership. A comprehensive breakdown of the survey are available here, on the WSA blog. The full set of survey results, complete with the number of people who answered each question and the questions asked, is available here: Sexual Assault and Greek Life Survey Results.
While I will be posting an FAQ post explaining Resolution B and the related resolutions later today, a few interesting excerpts of this right now, presented without comment: