“I mean, I studied abroad in Athens. Is that what you mean by Greek Life?”
This is sdz‘s update of wilk‘s update from 2016 as part of our 2018 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out our welcome post here and past years’ series here.
So this article is gonna be interesting. It includes an aggregation of updates from both 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. Both years included some pretty pivotal Greek Life related things that you probably wanna know about. Some of you may be surprised that we even have Greek life (apparently other lib arts schools don’t?). Others might have already delved into our storied Greek Life related past. Are we about to tell you that Wes Greek Life is back to its prime? No. But there’s some new stuff here that you’re probably gonna wanna know, so it’s probably best that you hit the jump.
After a year of being on probation for failing the URLC housing assessment and then publishing a troubling application, Eclectic Society will be returning to 200 High Street for the 2018-2019 year. Just after we all returned after being away for winter break, Fran Koerting sent an email notifying us that the Residential Life Committee decided that Eclectic will be regaining its program house status:
We’re liveblogging tonight’s Eclectic Community Forum so that those who can’t attend know what’s being discussed in the meeting. Eclectic is reapplying for program housing status on Campus. Tonight’s forum will be co-hosted by the Undergraduate Residential Live Committee (URLC) and Eclectic members. Eclectic members will give a presentation and then the forum will be opened to the greater Wesleyan community.
“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?
Last semester, students campaigned against Eclectic’s history of enabling racism and sexual violence with images like this.
NOTE: Updates are provided at the bottom of the post.
Thursday night, we received knowledge that Fran Koerting, Director of Reslife has reached out to the residents of Music House offering the program house the space of 200 High Street, home to Eclectic Society since 1906, for the 2016-2017 academic year. Koerting confirmed this at 12:15PM today and said that an announcement email will be sent around early this afternoon.
The residents of Music House, after discussion, decided that they would accept Reslife’s offer for the space, which the University has owned since the 1970s when Eclectic alumni sold the house to Wesleyan for $1. When asked about offering the space of 200 High Street, Fran Koerting stated:
PSA from Martin Malabanan ’16:
Come join the WSA and members of the Greek community in discussing
Greek Life at Wes, the challenges and repercussions of having
student-run spaces at Wes shut down, and some solutions and steps
moving forward. The event will take place in a town hall format in the
Usdan Cafe area, and we invite all members of the Wesleyan community
to join in this discussion.
7-9pm Discussion of Greek Life and Student Run Spaces
-Quick overview of WSA changes, introduction of leadership, meeting
format, ground rules, community standards, goals and intentions for
II. Lack of administration transparency and communication to students
in major decisions
III. Success and challenges of coeducation process
IV. Weekend social life and the future of student run spaces
V. Open discussion, additional questions, etc.
VI. Steps forward
9pm Other announcements, WSA issues, etc.
Date: Sunday, September 13th
Time: 7:00 PM-10:00 PM
Place: Usdan Cafe
Following the University’s placement of the Xi Chapter of Psi Upsilon on probationary housing status for the rest of 2015, as well as banning all social activities at the fraternity, and Psi U’s Wespeak in January announcing their plan for coeducation, the fraternity’s program housing status has been suspended for the entire 2015-2016 academic year, according to an all campus email sent this afternoon by President Roth and Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley. In addition, the property has been deemed off limits to Wesleyan students for the duration of the suspension, similar to the sanctions placed on Beta Theta Pi last fall.
Psi U was the only remaining single-sex frat on campus whose national chapter allowed co-education, and the fraternity concluded its first co-ed rush at the end of the school year, with plans to fully co-educate by the three year timeline President Roth set in September. We will update with more info as it comes in.
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.
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.”