Connecticut’s Wesleyan University is forcing some sweeping changes to its Greek system in the next few years. A NESCAC school with only 2,870 students, Wesleyan is pushing reform that will force all fraternities to accept women if they want to continue operating on campus. As Peter Jacobs at Business Insider notes, this is very similar to what Trinity College did in 2012. The move to make all fraternities coed essentially kills the fraternity system at the school, since national chapters will refuse to acknowledge members of the opposite sex. Here’s the pull-quote from BI/Inside Higher-Ed:
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 recognized by the national Greek umbrella organizations.”
Fraternities have garnered a terrible reputation at Wesleyan, especially Beta Theta Pi, which became nationally known as a “Rape Factory” after being called that in a sexual assault lawsuit.
Here’s the full e-mail announcing the changes to the Greek System:
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 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. With equity and inclusion in mind, we have decided that residential fraternities must become fully co-educational over the next three years. 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.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 organizations inspire loyalty, community and independence. That’s why all our students should be eligible to join them. Although this change does not affect nonresidential organizations, 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.