Wesleyan University in Connecticut on Monday ordered its fraternities with houses on campus to become coeducational within three years, a move it says is not just about bad behavior but also equality.
Wesleyan follows Trinity College in Hartford, which began the transition starting in 2012, citing problems with drinking and drug use in Greek organizations. It also comes less than a month after Wesleyan closed the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house after a woman attending a party there was seriously injured after falling from a third-floor window.
But school spokeswoman Kate Carlisle said the changes are not a response to any one incident.
â€œThis has been the subject of ongoing concern and discussion among the people in the administration, the school community, the alumni community and so forth for a number of years,â€ she said.
The decision was announced in a letter to the university community from President Michael Roth and trustees Chairman Joshua Boger. It requires Greek organizations with houses on campus to have both male and female members and to have each gender â€œwell representedâ€ in their organizational leadership to qualify for housing on campus and the use of university spaces.
Meanwhile on Sunday night, Dartmouth College students had received word that all fraternities at the Ivy League school in New Hampshire would eliminate the traditional pledge period, which nationwide has been associated with the hazing of new members. …
Dartmouth’s change follows years of debate about the role of fraternities on campus and comes just months after a majority on a student council overseeing sororities boycotted the midwinter rush because they believed the Greek system was unsafe for women. Hundreds of faculty members and two former Dartmouth presidents have advocated for a dramatic overhaul or abolition of the Greek system.
On Sunday, the Dartmouth Inter-Fraternity Council sent out a brief email to students announcing the latest change:
We, the Inter-Fraternity Council of Dartmouth, have unanimously elected to bring a formal end to the fraternity pledge period, commonly known as â€œpledge term.â€ All newly selected members of IFC fraternities shall be considered full members upon joining a house. New members will enjoy full rights and privileges of current members. We will continue to work closely with GLOS [the Office of Greek Letter Organizations and Societies] to ensure the continuation of constructive individual and team-building activities.
It is the hope of the IFC that the formal end of the fraternity pledge period will work to strengthen the Dartmouth community we hold dear.
Members of the Inter-Fraternity Council declined to make anyone available for interviews on Monday. But the council’s decision likely grew out of college President Phil Hanlon’s effort, launched in April, to “move the college forward” and tackle social climate problems on campus. Many online responses to that campaign had suggested requiring significant reforms to the Greek system.
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