Wesleyan Orders Fraternities To Go Co-Ed

Wesleyan University announced Monday it will require its all-male residential fraternities to begin accepting women within three years.

In an email to the Wesleyan community, President Michael Roth and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Joshua Borger said residential fraternities "must change to continue to benefit their members and the larger community."

"If the organizations are to continue to be recognized as offering housing and social spaces for Wesleyan students, women as well as men must be full members and well-represented in the body and leadership of the organization," the letter said.

The Connecticut school currently has three all-male residential fraternities -- Psi Upsilon, Delta Kappa Epsilon and Beta Theta Pi. Psi Upsilon belongs to a national organization that allows co-ed fraternities. Beta Theta Pi does not.

“The Fraternity is working to better understand the specifics of Wesleyan University’s decision to force its fraternities with chapter houses to become co-educational," Martin Cobb, director of communications for Beta Theta Pi's national organization, said in an emailed statement. "As that analysis continues, the leadership of Beta Theta Pi seeks to strongly underscore its belief that there is a purposeful place on college campuses for young men to come together and forge the bonds of fraternal brotherhood as they develop academically and prepare for a lifetime of civic duty."

The decision comes on the heels of the university declaring the house of Beta Theta Pi off limits to students after a sophomore was seriously injured in a fall from a third-floor window. The fraternity is also the subject of a lawsuit for an alleged rape on its premises.

"We have lost confidence in the ability of the fraternity members to manage social and residential activities at the house and abide by university policies,” President Roth said in an earlier statement.

Psi Upsilon's Wesleyan chapter is also at the center of a suit filed by a student in March, alleging that their negligence allowed her to be raped in the fraternity house's common room during a party in 2013, when she was a freshman.

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Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.



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