The move came after two members of the fraternity were dismissed from the Connecticut school following sexual assaults in 2011 and 2013, the statement noted.
“Our university has the responsibility to provide a safe residential learning environment where all students can experience the freedom of a transformative education, wherever they live or choose to socialize,” Roth wrote. “We take this responsibility seriously. Therefore, in addition to taking action against individuals found to have perpetrated a violent act, any campus-based organization that has sponsored events that create conditions with a higher risk of violence, including sexual assault, also will be held accountable.”
“Because fraternities are male-exclusive and the possessors of some of our campus’s largest party spaces, they explicitly and implicitly cultivate a gender-based power dynamic that privileges men, the hosts, over women, who are among the guests,” the letter said. “This power dynamic engenders sexual assault because women are institutionally encouraged to “repay” men for their hospitality, often with sex, and men are institutionally provided with a control over their guests, especially women.”
Wesleyan is just the latest school to crack down on its Greek organizations in an effort to curb dangerous and offensive activity.
Clemson University suspended all fraternity activity after a college sophomore fell to his death in September, and Penn State-Altoona levied a six-year ban against a fraternity amid reports linking a member’s suicide to hazing, according to CNN.
Texas Tech University’s Phi Delta Theta chapter was suspended, according to Inside Higher Ed, “after displaying a banner that read “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal.”
Dartmouth College faculty recent held a nonbinding vote to abolish the fraternity system entirely, according to Bloomberg. “Eight fraternities said in September that they had formed a group to confront sexual misconduct, alcohol abuse and hazing,” the Bloomberg article said. “Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Triangle fraternities said they would begin using a new curriculum to inform undergraduate members about the risks of these behaviors.”
And last month, Rolling Stone published a lengthy investigative story about a University of Virginia freshman who was allegedly gang-raped by seven men at a fraternity party in 2012. University President Teresa Sullivan quickly moved to suspect all Greek activity until January.
“The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community,” Sullivan wrote in a statement posted on the school’s website. “Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation’s colleges and universities.
“We know, and have felt very powerfully this week, that we are better than we have been described, and that we have a responsibility to live our tradition of honor every day, and as importantly every night.”