Middletown, Conn., September 25, 2014 – This week, Wesleyan University made history by mandating that its two residential fraternities admit women into their ranks on an equal basis. Delta Kappa Epsilon, one of the two fraternities affected by this new policy at the University, has openly criticized this decision.
On Monday, the university sent a letter to the entire student community stating, “We have decided that residential fraternities must become fully co-educational over the next three years. This change is something that Wesleyan and the fraternities have been contemplating for many years, and now the time has come.”
Reports of sexual assault and gang rape on college campuses in America have steadily increased in recent years, with one in five women statistically becoming a victim of sexual aggression during their college years. Across the country, many fraternity members have been accused of sexual assault and violence against women, while on-campus fraternity houses have frequently been named as the scene of the crime in many rape charges.
Wesleyan University’s new policy follows several lawsuits and rape allegations against fraternity members at the school. A student petition calling for the new measures earlier this summer garnered hundreds of student signatures, in hopes the new policy will reduce campus sexual assaults.
Earlier this summer, the University closed the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house following the serious injury of a female student who fell from a third story window. However, school spokeswoman Kate Carlisle said the decision to integrate Greek life on the campus was not related to any singular incident. Carlisle stated, “This 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.”
The University’s decision follows those of several other liberal arts colleges in the North East including Middlebury College in Vermont, Colby College in Maine, and Trinity College in Hartford.