Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees has mandated that the school’s residential fraternities must accept and house both male and female students with the next three years, according to an email sent to the campus community Monday morning.
Wesleyan’s fraternity system, although small, has recently become emblematic of many of the problems currently associated with Greek life — one house on campus is known as the “Rape Factory.” Campus blog Wesleying reports that the school’s Board of Trustees convened 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.”
Wesleyan is not the first school to make this shift — Trinity College mandated similar changes to their fraternities and sororities in 2012. As Inside Higher Ed reported at the time, “Many opponents say that even if Trinity doesn’t explicitly intend to abolish the fraternities and sororities, that is in effect what the college is doing. That is because chapters that include members of the opposite sex are not recognised by the national Greek umbrella organisations.”
Here is the full email announcing the change to Wesleyan’s residential fraternities, via Wesleying:
To the Wesleyan community:
As you may know, we have been considering the future role of Greek life at Wesleyan, and over the summer a great many Wesleyan alumni, students and faculty offered their views. Some have urged that we preserve the status quo; others have argued for the elimination of all exclusive social societies. The trustees and administration recognise that residential fraternities have contributed greatly to Wesleyan over a long period of time, but we also believe they must change to continue to benefit their members and the larger campus community. With equity and inclusion in mind, we have decided that residential fraternities must become fully co-educational over the next three years. If the organisations are to continue to be recognised 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 organisation.
This change is something that Wesleyan and the fraternities have been contemplating for many years, and now the time has come. The University looks forward to receiving plans from the residential fraternities to co-educate, after which it will work closely with them to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Our residential Greek organisations inspire loyalty, community and independence. That’s why all our students should be eligible to join them. Although this change does not affect nonresidential organisations, we are hopeful that groups across the University will continue to work together to create a more inclusive, equitable and safer campus. We look forward to working with all campus constituencies to improve the residential experience of Wesleyan students now and for generations to come.
Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09
Chair, Board of Trustees
Michael S. Roth ’78
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