The word fraternity is (among other things) synonymous with “brotherhood”; a fraternity is an organized society of men associated together by some commonality. The first fraternal organization established in the US was the Phi Beta Kappa Society, founded in the historic year of 1776. Just about everyone understand that fraternities are organizations of men; sororities (synonymous with “sisterhood”) are organizations of women.
Everyone, that is, except for Wesleyan University, which recently handed down a decision requiring all fraternities affiliated with it’s campus to become coed within three years. The decision was announced last September and was said to be in response to incidents of alleged sexual assault at the college’s fraternities, with one such incident resulting in lawsuit against both Beta Theta Pi and the university itself by the alleged victim.
Following some line of reasoning that I cannot quite fathom, the university seems to feel that putting hormonal young men and women together it tight quarters is somehow going to improve this situation, and has made the decision to force the issue with their edict. The university has said only that the measure is an effort to “increase gender equity on campus.”
Now, the blow-back: current and former members of one fraternity on Wesleyan campus have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school over the new policy. Delta Kappa Epsilon released a statement indicating it is seeking an injunction to block the university’s action regarding fraternities: “Wesleyan DKE members and alumni stand united against discrimination in any form, seek injunction to restore student housing and prevent unwarranted abuse of power.”
The report in the Wesleyan Argus seems to suggest that DKE members had their ability to live on campus completely revoked when they could not arrive at a workable solution to the university’s new mandate. DKE contends that they are victims of sexual discrimination perpetrated by the college and are seeking to have those actions blocked, if not reversed:
Wesleyan’s move to try to force it’s fraternities to go coed is not unique; in 2012, Trinity College tried the same thing with it’s Greek fraternities and sororities – a move which proved highly unpopular with just about everyone, as is the more recent attempt by Weselyan. It also seems rather half-baked in it’s reasoning, raising questions as to whether such a change would actually make things worse, rather than improve them.
The head of unfortunately-named sexual assault prevention program One In Four expressed his doubts recently, saying he felt it was “…best to work with student organizations in their existing structure, rather than mandating modifications.”
Finally, one has to wonder if the problem is this: the administration at Wesleyan is has simply gone off it’s collective rocker. Consider the recent news that the university is now offering a “LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM” dorm, which they’ve dubbed Open House. I’m not going to revel you with the breakout of that lengthy acronym, Google it for fun and education, but suffice to say that I had to do a separate search to find out what “flexual,” which is what the “F” stands for, is (turns out that you are flexual when being simply bisexual is not inclusive enough).
Fingers crossed – here’s hoping that the straight members of Wesleyan’s student body sue Open House for sexual discrimination in the near future. Gotta include everyone!
Note: this piece was originally published on QuitMakingSense.com. Please visit their website!