This afternoon, President Michael Roth ’78 sent out an email informing the campus community that DKE has won its lawsuit against the University. The trial, which was public, began on June 6th, and President Roth testified on June 7th.
The original suit was filed by DKE and Kent Literary Society, which is DKE’s alumni chapter. DKE accused the University of discrimination and deceptive practices in its handling of DKE after the decision that all fraternities on campus must be co-educated. DKE had submitted plans for co-education that did not meet the University’s requirements.
The University has not said what will happen with DKE’s house, or whether it will re-achieve program housing status. Roth states that the University is searching for further legal avenues to pursue, and the University must also decide what to do in terms of its plans for coeducation.
The full text of the email is below:
“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:
Credit for this photo goes to Karmenife Paulino and Tess Altman at Reclamation.
Note: This interview discusses sexual assault. It was also conducted prior to Winter Break and doesn’t reflect certain changes on campus since then.
I knock at some small senior house right off of Cross street, and a muffled cry of, “Be right there,” can be heard from behind its chipping red door. The door opens, and this is the first and last time that I ever meet Karmenife Paulino ’15 – I follow curly, auburn hair up the narrow staircase as we say our hello’s and I am taken to her room. Her room is cozy and dim, with colored lights strung up on the left wall next to artwork and posters. My eyes graze over the mid-packing mess that I’ve interrupted, led to a mannequin in bondage gear leaning on the right wall.
She sits on her bed, crosslegged and comfortable, her body turned at an angle from mine, as I take a seat on the bottom most edge and gracelessly stumble through introductions. She’s patient as I rummage through my bag for my questions, and we begin.
What exactly is Reclamation?
This post is part of a series of reflections on the recent events on campus. If you have anything that you would like to contribute, please feel free to reach out to us at staff[at]wesleying[dot]org.
The past few weeks have seen a lot of turmoil within our community, most notably the hospitalizations and arrests, and reactions to them, both within and beyond Wesleyan. I hope to speak to the ways that we have addressed these events, as well as other contentious issues, namely the DKE lawsuit and the recent WSA meetings concerning first generation students and institutional structure.
At times like these, it is important to talk to each other, in order to process, to heal, and to examine the needs of our communities. These are events that we should discuss, both as individuals and community members. All too frequently, however, the way we’ve been discussing them has led to more pain, frustration, and division within our community.
Rather than creating spaces to support each other while addressing problems, many of the discussions I’ve witnessed, both in person and in online forums, have allowed ideological and experiential differences to further divide us, leaving many students, myself included, feeling hurt, angry, or cynical. It’s important to note, though, that I have also heard many calls for kind and supportive dialogue. It is in that spirit that I share the following observations and requests.
This afternoon, the Argus broke the story that the Wesleyan chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon is planning to sue the university for discrimination and deceptive practices. The suit, brought by DKE in collaboration with their alumni chapter, the Kent Literary Club, and two Wes sophomores, details DKE’s interactions with the university since the co-education decision of last September before making charges associated with DKE’s recent loss of program house status for the 2015-2016 school year. After the jump are excerpts from DKE’s press release, courtesy of the Argus; statements from a Wesleyan spokesperson, and a brief summary of the lawsuit.
PSA from Alessandra Cervera ’16:
I’ve got a crush on you.
If you have a crush on me too, you’ll buy me a Crush can.
Rho Epsilon Pi and Delta Kappa Epsilon are teaming up this week to bring you Crush can Valentines grams. There’s no better way to tell that special someone in your life that you think they’ve got a great personality (plus orange soda!!).
Cans cost $1 each and come with a label so you can ~*personalize*~ it to your liking (maybe a lil love note?). All proceeds will then go to the North End Action Team, right here in Middletown. If you want to find out more about their community projects, click here.
Here’s how the grams will work:
c/o Rosy Capron
It’s not just radical student groups who can use banner drops for activism. Two large banners were hung outside of DKE today, promoting a pro-fraternity message: “Frats Not Fiction” and “276 High Street: DKE Owned/Operated For 147 Years…And Counting”.
It is not clear if this was done by current students or perhaps returning alumni. Either way, it is clearly timed to get attention during Homecoming, when there are many alumni, though not necessarily a whole lot of students, on campus.
In addition to these signs hanging from DKE, a small plane flew over the football field during the Homecoming game, carrying a banner that read “Wes Picks Our Bros? Fascism. Look it up.”
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.
From Michael Vaughan ’16:
The second official installment of Deep@DKE, a deep house dance party with sexy dance music from Brooklyn NY native, Sleepyhead and swervey opening set by Yung DJ M. Vaughan.
Get loose bb
Date: Thursday, May 1st, 2014
Place: Earth House