Wesleyan orders fraternities to be co-ed

Part of the campus of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Story highlights

  • Wesleyan University ordered fraternities to become co-ed in the next three years
  • The Connecticut university has two all-male fraternities on campus
  • One fraternity responds there are no facts about how this will improve on-campus safety
Wesleyan University officials announced Monday that residential fraternities will be required to accept women and men as full members.
The policy change comes after consulting fraternity members, alumni and faculty, university spokesperson Kate Carlisle said. There are nonresidential Greek organizations, including one sorority, that will not be affected because they do not have on-campus houses.
"In the end, the decision is based on making our campus as fair, inclusive and equitable as possible, and reflects Wesleyan's tradition of progressive leadership," Carlisle said.
Wesleyan's board of trustees asked President Michael S. Roth in May to "prepare a plan to address the future of Greek life" after "highly publicized incidents of sexual violence." In a March 2014 lawsuit against Wesleyan's Xi Chapter of Psi Upsilon, a then-freshman student alleged she was raped in front of onlookers at the fraternity's on-campus residence.
An April 2014 Wesleyan Student Assembly survey that found 47% of respondents felt less safe in fraternity spaces also contributed to the review, Roth said in a statement.
"The trustees and administration recognize 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," Roth and Joshua Boger, the chair of the university's board of trustees, wrote in a joint statement on Monday.
The fraternities have three years to complete the co-educational transition.
The Middletown, Connecticut, university has a current population of about 2,900 undergraduates with two all-male fraternity residences on campus, Psi Upsilon and Delta Kappa Epsilon.
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Delta Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity, the organization's national governing body, said it "strongly" disagreed with the decision, calling the university's justification for the decision "vague."
"Remarkably absent from the University's statement are any facts -- even opinions -- about why Wesleyan feels it will be better off with co-educational fraternities. How can a highly rated liberal arts institution implement a major policy change, without even describing to those affected by it, the problem that you are intending to solve?"