Sep 23, 2014 03:00 AM EDT
Wesleyan Instructs Residential Fraternities to Become Coed within Three Years
The Wesleyan University has ordered its on-campus fraternity houses to transform into co-educational institutions within three years.
The move aims not just at limiting bad behavior, but also to promote equality that benefits members and the larger campus community.
All the residential Greek organisations need to obey the gender equality rule in order to qualify for housing on campus and the use of university spaces. Similar to men, women must be full members, and well-represented in the body and leadership of the organization.
"Our residential Greek organizations inspire loyalty, community and independence. That's why all our students should be eligible to join them," President Michael Roth and trustees Chairman Joshua Boger said in a statement. "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."
The announcement comes weeks after Wesleyan banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity house. The ban was triggered after a woman at a party fell from a third floor window and sustained serious injuries.
Peter Smithhisler, the chief executive of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, said that interference into student organisations violates fundamental principles of freedom of expression and freedom of association.
"It is essential that fraternities be allowed to decide for themselves if they wish to offer co-ed membership," said Smithhisler, Syracruse reports.
Wesleyan has no residential sororities and just comprises of two all-male residential fraternities - Delta Kappa Epsilon and Psi Upsilon. However, it has several non-residential fraternities and one non-residential sorority, Rho Epsilon, that are not affected by the policy change. school spokeswoman Kate Carlisle said that another fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi, has been coeducational for several decades.
Besides Wesleyan, Trinity is only the second school that have dictated fraternities with houses on campus to be made coed. The need to introduce coed fraternities was triggered in 2012 by a report that found drug and alcohol abuse among members of single-sex Greek organizations. The report also found these students scored lower grades than the average Trinity student.
"Progress to date has been focused on activities and programs that foster a co-educational environment," Trinity spokeswoman Kathy Andrews said. "The college hopes its efforts "result in quantifiable progress".
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