Swarthmore, Pennsylvania: Swarthmore College has officially banned all fraternities and sororities. The decision comes after disturbing fraternity documents came to light, sparking student protests. No more Greek life.
There was a contentious sit-in turned walk out, and another plea through song. Following the leaked meeting minutes of one of two campus fraternities, which showcased the use of racist, anti-LGBTQ and harmful rape language, enraged student activists have won over officials.
While the two fraternities, Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon, voted to disband, one week later, the college has now decided to end Greek life altogether.
In a statement, college President Valerie Smith wrote:
“The voluntary disbanding of Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon reflects a broader change in student needs and desires,” Smith said in her announcement Friday. “Exclusive, dues-paying social organizations no longer effectively meet the needs of our residential liberal arts environment.”
“We just thought that the administration wasn’t going to budge, because it didn’t’ really seem like they cared,” one student said.
At the center of the controversy was a non-residential Swarthmore fraternity house. Signs from protesting students covered what was dubbed in the exposed meeting minutes as the “rape attic.”
The school is allowing members of its lone sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, to continue as members through graduation in spring 2022, but the sorority is not allowed to recruit or initiate new members.
“While the sorority had no part in it, I still think they are a bit problematic, as well,” one student said.
The college also announced it will no longer lease space to student groups, as recommended by a Task Force the college assembled to assess “student social events and community standards”.
Smith called the college’s past few weeks a “challenging time” for its community.
“As we move forward, I call for each of us to examine how we live up to the aspiration of inclusivity,” Smith said. “We must try to do so together, without giving up on one another and without giving up on our community.”
Image: Swarthmore College students hang a banner at the Phi Psi fraternity house during a sit-in on April 29, 2019. Students are protesting to get the fraternity shut down after documents containing derogatory comments allegedly belonging to Phi Psi surfaced this month