Police Shut Down Parties After Three Students Hospitalized

Student-run parties at Paces and Olde Club were shut down by local police on Saturday, following the hospitalization of multiple Tri-Co students. Four Swarthmore students were cited for underage drinking, two of whom were taken to the hospital. A Bryn Mawr student of legal drinking age was also hospitalized, while a fifth citation was given to a Bryn Mawr student who was not hospitalized.

That a total of three students were hospitalized was unclear until Tuesday, when Director of Swarthmore Public Safety Michael Hill and Swarthmore Chief of Police Brian Craig were able to confer by phone. On Monday, Craig said that six students were taken to the hospital, while Hill claimed that only two students, both female, were taken to the hospital. Hill said they were unconscious and unresponsive.

The fact that the two officials’ counts initially differed is indicative of the night’s overall confusion.

At about 12:30 a.m., attendees at a packed and energetic Olde Club party, i20’s Arma-Get-It-On, were dancing when, “all of a sudden someone shouted ‘cops,’ and people started running toward doors and windows,” said Alex Jimenez ‘16.

Emptying out of Olde Club, a panicked mob of sweaty students walked, ran, and stumbled up the slope to Paces’ End of the World party. Within minutes, local police were shutting down that party as well. Before long, Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi’s biannual formals were also shuttered.

The police presence on campus began more than an hour earlier. According to Hill, the first ambulance had arrived at around 11:50, which is approximately the time the police arrived.

Swarthmore Police had only one officer on duty Saturday night, said Craig. “Whenever that happens, we have a mutual aid pact with all the surrounding police departments, so we asked for assistance.” According to Craig, backup officers were called in from numerous other departments, including Nether Providence, Springfield, Morton, Marple, and Media.

Olde Club PA Marcus Mello ’13 said in a phone interview that he saw police lift two students into stretchers along fraternity row. “The cops proceeded to walk over to Olde Club,” he said.

“I saw a cop circulating [the outside] of Olde Club,” said Mairin Din ’13, “It seemed like the situation was rattling his nerves.”

“There was a concern because [Olde Club] appeared to the officer to be overcrowded,” said Craig. “It just looks like once they responded to the first medical call, everything just cascaded. They were running from one location to the other just trying to tend to people that were having problems.”

Mello said that around 12:30 a.m., police officers “entered Olde Club and asked for the PAs.” He said he unplugged the speakers, signaling the party’s end. Around the same time, he called Saturday’s on-duty PA Coordinator, Ben Kapilow ’13.

“The police came to the i20 party [at Olde Club] to tell us that we had to shut the party down,” Ximena Anleu ‘15, a member the i20 Board, wrote via email. “We responded to this by immediately turning the music off and telling everyone that the police were present and the party was being shut down.”

i20 members and police officers worked together inside Olde Club to encourage an orderly evacuation. “The police were fairly friendly and respectful with us (the party hosts), and explained courteously why they were shutting us down,” Anleu wrote. “I think it was apparent to them that we were being cooperative and so there was no real antagonism inside Olde Club.”

The RAs, leaving a party of their own, tried to assist. “[They] came upon fraternity row, saw what was going on, and tried to get involved and clear spaces out,” Hill said.

“When I saw that they were breaking up parties, I went over to Paces,” said Kapilow. “At Paces I went on the microphone and told everyone the police are coming and you should get out. They largely did, and by the time the police got there to break up the party, there were still people left over, and they were still getting out.”

“I heard from the PAs who were working at Paces that the cops seemed annoyed that people were questioning, you know, ‘why do we have to leave?’” Kapilow said. “But the PAs didn’t seem to suggest that the cops were being overly authoritarian in any way, not citing any additional people.”

Police also ended the fraternity’s formals prematurely.

“At approximately 1:00 a.m. members of Swarthmore Public Safety and the Swarthmore Police Department asked for our help in wrapping up the formal and closing up for the night,” DU president Sean Mangus ‘13 wrote via email. “By approximately 1:30 a.m. we had cleared the house of brothers and guests.”

At Phi Psi, the evening ended similarly. “When the police decided to shut everything down, Public Safety told me,” Phi Psi President Mike Girardi ‘13 wrote via email. “Public Safety acted as intermediary [between Phi Psi and the police] and kept me aware of what was going on at all times . . . Everything was professional. There were no issues.”

According to Alli Shultes ‘15, one jovial officer danced the “Macarena” before asking students to close down Phi Psi.

Many students, such as David Hill ‘13, the off-duty PA Coordinator, claimed that police generally give citations only to those students taken to a hospital, so the five additional citations on Saturday were uncommon.

However, a picture of cooperation is consistent with many students’ accounts of the night, and is supported by Craig and Public Safety’s Michael Hill. Both resisted the notion that the police had come to campus to catch underrage drinkers. “Generally we’re looking for people who are a danger to themselves or to the surrounding community in some way,” said Hill. “We’re not looking for the punitive aspect of this. We’re looking for the safety and education.”

 

Featured image courtesy of rshevin1.

56 thoughts on “Police Shut Down Parties After Three Students Hospitalized

  • December 12, 2012 at 2:48 am
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    “According to Alli Shutles ‘15, one jovial officer danced the “Macarena” before asking students to close down Phi Psi.” Teehee!

    You guys sound like you’re having some interesting times back at Swat 😛

    Reply
  • December 12, 2012 at 9:24 am
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    How are the students (swat or not) who were hospitalized doing? Is everyone ok?

    Reply
    • December 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm
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      I cannot speak for the Bryn Mawr students, but to my knowledge all of the Swarthmore students involved are ok, returned the following morning.

      Reply
  • December 12, 2012 at 1:38 pm
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    It’s a little odd to me that Public Safety served as intermediary with the fraternities while the other two parties had to deal directly with the police, including police from neighboring areas.

    Given that the fraternity parties were closed to members and guests and the Paces and Olde Club parties were open to everyone in the community, it seems to me that Public Safety should have a larger vested interest in helping those parties.

    I’m not taking issue with the way that Public Safety interacted with the fraternities: that should be the way Public Safety interacts with all parties on campus. It makes sense that Public Safety had an easier time helping the frats because they have a formed relationship with a clear leadership structure.

    So I don’t know what exactly the problem is, but Public Safety should have a clear way of communicating with party hosts so that all parties can be equally served by Public Safety.

    Reply
  • December 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm
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    Dear friends,

    I write to address a comment that was posted in reference to how Public Safety responded to the events of Saturday night. First, I want to stress that the parties were ended for safety reasons.

    As far as who closed down which parties and how, College public safety officers worked with the PAs and RAs to close all of them – and I would like to extend my thanks to both groups for helping and supporting the officers. Police may have been in the vicinity or with a Swarthmore College Public Safety officer, but they did not close down the parties. I am very appreciative of the Swarthmore Borough Police Department who responded and who, along with police from the area, allowed my staff to take the lead and work within our community to resolve these issues without their direct involvement.

    Please always remember that safety is a shared responsibility. I am happy to talk with anyone who would like to continue this conversation.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm
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    In response to anonymous comments regarding Swarthmore Greek life, please email me at rmctear1 so that we can discuss your accusations and use of stereotypes in a forum that is not anonymous in order to work together to foster a greater sense of community on campus.

    Thank you,
    Rory McTear
    President, Swarthmore College Delta Upsilon

    Reply
    • December 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm
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      The same goes for Phi Psi. Email mgirard2.

      Mike Girardi
      President, Phi Psi fraternity

      Reply
  • December 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm
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    Everything in moderation.
    Self-control, self-restraint.
    Enjoy the scene without spoiling the scene for everyone else.

    Swatties, humans, everyone, let us practice self-control and, in turn, self-knowledge, self-awareness.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm
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    MR X,
    1. you say frat members are DART &/or PA trained. doesn’t DART/PA inform party hosts about appropriate chasers, mixing, water, etc? handles per bro? sounds like an invitation for alcohol poisoning, really.

    2. “I am well aware that those handles (if every brother did choose to do a handle, which I’m not sure is true) were personal choices by individual members. The handles were not provided by DU and no frat money was spent in the process of procuring them. The individual choices of brothers to pursue a handle vs. a fifth or whatever size bottle they might wish to bring to formal is their individual prerogative and should in no way reflect on the fraternity at large.”

    it doesn’t matter if the drinks were provide by the organization or not, its about what culture the organization fosters. there seems to be a “bring that handle as the secret santa gift” culture that almost all bros know to bring a handle to share with the family eh ;.

    3. on the rape issue-thanks for your response. its important to have sober escorts at halloween and genderfuck parties; and i hope you also have them during these fraternity formals too(?) since there seems to be a lot of drinking. [is that what “on call” mean?]
    and, i applaud these “power of words campaign” and workshops with Beth Kotarski and I hope among these is a consent workshop that acknowledges that dynamics of silencing and strives to make consent sexy.

    4. SOMEONE, speak about this “someone’s pledge name was “nigger.””

    Reply
    • December 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm
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      1&2.) In response to the handle issue, this is a DU thing. Feel free to contact Rory, he put his info up. I can’t speak to the secret santa thing, but I do want to say something in regard to the comment about culture: I was unaware that getting a friend (or assigned secret santa brother in this case) a handle of liquor is poor form or indicative of excessive drinking culture (unless it is understood that this person must drink the handle by themselves? needs clarity).

      3.) yes, “on call” means we can call a brother (probably being a moleman, doing a paper or something) to come and help with an issue where the present brothers feel out of their depth in dealing with it. And in response to everything else here, we look forward to continuing the work we’ve been doing.

      4.) but actually

      Reply
    • December 18, 2012 at 4:15 am
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      1. I would first like to point out that there is a not-insignificant difference between bringing a quantity of alcohol to an event, and intending to/actually consuming that amount. If every person who attended DU’s formal had drunk nearly a liter of hard alcohol, I can assure you that there would have been significantly more hospitalizations. An argument based on, “Look how much alcohol they had! Obviously they must have a drinking problem,” simply does not hold up.
      What seems to have been lost here is that there are four fraternity formals per year; hospitalizations at these events are hardly a common occurrence or widespread problem. Unfortunately, for some reason on this particular evening, individuals exceeded their limits. It happens. Clearly, it happens independently of the fraternities–I can assure you there are significantly higher rates of hospitalization at Halloween or Genderfuck.
      Does Swarthmore have a harmful “drinking culture” that is in need of curbing? Personally, I don’t think so. 25% of students surveyed at graduation stated that they did not use drugs or alcohol while at Swat. We have lower rates of hospitalizations and citations than the vast majorities of similar schools (and astronomically lower compared to larger “party schools”). College students drink. For the most part, Swarthmore students do so safely and responsibly.

      As to 4, to my knowledge, neither of the fraternities have “pledge names.” Phi Psi certainly does not. As to the implied accusation of racism, one only needs to look at the members of the fraternities to see how ridiculous that is. Both Phi Psi and DU are accepting both in our rushing practices as well as our day-to-day operation. Phi Psi has brothers who identify as African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, White, mixed race, and race plays absolutely no factor in any decision made by the fraternity. Period.

      Reply
      • December 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm
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        So I’d like to take issue with a couple of points you made in the above.

        First, you say that the quantity of alcohol is independent of drinking culture. I would reject that notion. Having each couple bring one handle of liquor to share creates an expectation that it is important to drink a large quantity of alcohol. Expectations are what create cultural norms.

        Second, you go on to counter the assertion that the frats do not have a disturbing drinking culture by citing statistics about the entire student body. That is wholly illogical.

        Third, the notion that by having people of color in the fraternities makes them not racist is so problematic and inherently wrong. The fact that you would make that assertion makes me highly concerned about brothers’ attitudes towards issues of racism.

        Reply
        • December 19, 2012 at 3:26 am
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          “not-insignificant difference between bringing a quantity of alcohol to an event, and intending to/actually consuming that amount”

          ^that’s in response to your first point.

          In terms of your second point, why is it illogical to compare the statistics of the fraternities with the rest of the campus. If we are talking percentages and not absolute numbers, shouldn’t ours be higher as a result of our disturbing drinking culture? If not by that metric, than by what metric would you judge it? Off one event that occurred where a couple kids were hospitalized? Because that sounds wholly illogical to me.

          In terms of your third beef, Joe answered it above: “In and of itself? No. But since we accept pledges of all backgrounds, welcome everyone to our house and events, don’t make decisions based on race and have no policies or practices that discriminate against anyone, I think you’re looking at an uphill battle to demonstrate racial prejudice from either of the fraternities.”

          Building off of that, how else should we demonstrate we are not racist? Do we even have to? Because I find it hard to find evidence that we are. As Joe said, there are no barriers to anyone of color joining or hanging out at Phi Psi, nor have I heard of people being harassed for their race week to week at Phi Psi. Or is it, as Joe said, just a preconceived notion of fraternity life that we are white, wealthy, preppy, straight, classist, and racist…

          Reply
          • December 21, 2012 at 1:02 am
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            It’s not illogical to compare the two but to cite data about Swarthmore as a whole and then use that to explain that the frats don’t have an issue makes little sense. It doesn’t give us any information about the frats.

            As others have pointed out, not having policies pertaining to race does not mean one cannot be racist. You need to have institutional policies to protect marginalized groups, otherwise the implicit culture of racism that dominates the mainstream will still exist. This is not dissimilar to affirmative action.

            You then mention that you shouldn’t have to defend yourselves against the accusations of racism. Numerous individuals have cited instances of racism and racial insensitivity. And even if these didn’t exist, why is it so problematic for the frats to prove that they aren’t actively oppressive? Why can’t there be more transparency, more accountability?

            Not only the frats should be held to these standards, Swarthmore as an institution and all of its subsidiaries should comply as well.

        • December 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm
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          Well, let’s first look at this assertion that “the frats have a disturbing drinking culture.” As tempting as it is to invoke Hitchens’ remarks on baseless assertions, I’ll take it at face value. I’ll start by breaking it into two parts: that the fraternities encourage/cause irresponsible drinking in the wider student body, and that fraternity brothers themselves have harmful drinking habits.
          As to the first point, I’ll start with the FACT that the vast majority of drinking at Swat does not occur at the fraternities. If we were to close our doors to the public, every student on campus who wanted to could still drink to their heart’s content. Do we throw parties? Sure. Do we serve drinks at these parties? Yes, just like any other party. Do we pressure people to drink or encourage people to push beyond their limits? Absolutely not. As I stated earlier, I don’t think it can be reasonably argued that Swarthmore has a harmful drinking culture at large, despite the evil frats trying to get everyone hammered.
          As to whether fraternity brothers abuse alcohol, I don’t even know where to begin–because there isn’t a shred of evidence to suggest that conclusion. Some fraternity brothers drink frequently, others rarely, but ultimately we understand that it is an individual choice and responsibility. Where are the fraternity brothers being hospitalized? Where are the brothers dropping out or failing classes because alcohol gets in the way of their studies? Where are the brothers who have to drop extracurricular activities? I certainly don’t know where to find them. But I can tell you where to find the brothers who are taking the lead in educating the student body about drug and alcohol issues (take a look at the composition of DART team one of these days). I can tell you about the brothers at the recent Active Bystander trainings. Or the brothers who volunteer to help make other parties on campus safer, like Halloween or Genderfuck. Do many brothers choose do drink? Yes. But they do so in a safe, responsible way that does not interfere with their studies or their participation in the Swarthmore community. If you want to tell me that I am part of a harmful drinking culture, you’re going to need a little more than an “assertion,” to use your term.
          And to your final point, my comment regarding the diversity of the greek system at Swarthmore was to preempt the all-to-predictable allegation of being a “white-boys’ club.” My rationale for why we are not racist organizations (since when have we had the burden of proof here, anyway?) was that we do not make decisions or have any policies related to race. So, fundamentally my response is this:

          Name one racist practice or policy of either of the fraternities.

          I’d also like to mention that I understand that when these issue come up in a forum such as this, we can often seem defensive and unapproachable. It’s frustrating to have blanket accusations lobbed at you and your friends without any specifics that can be addressed. If there is something that we do that makes you feel uncomfortable in our house, we can’t change it if we don’t know about it. (also, just to be clear, those were all general “you’s,” that wasn’t specifically addressed to Hope.)

          Reply
        • December 20, 2012 at 10:41 am
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          uh a little off topic but I’m pretty sure I found you jeans.

          -Concerned Dana Resident

          Reply
          • December 20, 2012 at 10:42 am
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            *your

      • December 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm
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        Joseph,

        While I certainly understand your eagerness to defend the Greek organizations on campus from allegations of racism, I can attest to the fact that there have been multiple incidents involving inexcusable racial insensitivity by fraternity members at Greek functions, parties, etc. Having served as president of two cultural groups over the course of the past two years I can confirm the fact that we have had to support the victims of such incidents on multiple occasions. One of the biggest issues seems to be the air of secrecy with which some of these situations are handled – it leads to the rumors, questions, and confusion we have seen in a great many of the comments on this thread. While the privacy and comfort of the victims/those involved are of utmost importance when handling any such issue, I am convinced that there are ways to deal with incidents like these with a level of transparency.

        Though I am deeply troubled by these incidents I do want to thank those those fraternity members to whom we reached out, their patience and understanding was greatly appreciated and I do hope we as a campus can start making an active effort to keep these things from happening again.

        – Paul

        Reply
      • December 21, 2012 at 12:18 am
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        Not having policies regarding race also doesn’t make you not racist. Hence the existence of affirmative action in higher education. Being colorblind doesn’t make race and racism not exist. This is why we need a diversity requirement at this college.

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        • December 26, 2012 at 11:14 pm
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          Oh and by diversity requirement I mean course requirements that discuss issues of race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability. Not racial quotas.

          Reply
  • December 19, 2012 at 5:49 am
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    I’m going to do my best not to be unnecessarily provocative or argumentative.

    Our student body’s reaction to greek life – both to the establishment of a sorority on campus and to the existence of fraternities – reveals an Achilles Heel in Swarthmore’s willingness to embrace diversity, equality, and freedom. I do not mean to suggest that all perspectives and/organizations are worthy of campus adoption, but it is a dangerous trap for us to believe that anything which is unfamiliar or alien or has vague, distant ties to another institution that exhibits bad behavior is automatically dangerous. A Kantian review of such an approach quickly shows the problem – is our maxim as an institution that we will only embrace the different when it is aligned with a set of criteria with which we are familiar? Or that we will only accept entirely original institutions that could not possibly be linked to anything disagreeable? There are plenty of groups on campus whose actions or beliefs I find narrow-minded and at times offensive or even threatening. But as a respectful human being and as a student who strives to heed Swarthmore’s values, I deal with that by engaging in productive dialogue with those groups rather than spewing venomous lies and passing unfair judgment.

    it is interesting to me that the students who so loudly preach diversity and acceptance appear to be the same students who unflinchingly voice their opposition to greek life. I am committed to the diverse ideal, and though I openly admit that I am imperfect in pursuing it, I can sincerely say that I make a genuine effort to embrace diversity. But this is exhausting. People who party, athletes, and other stereotypically “mainstream” communities on campus introduce a valuable form of diversity to Swarthmore: one that I could repeatedly prove, through a series of solid, true examples, is under-appreciated and even unwanted.

    Swarthmore’s culture is disturbingly hypocritical. This issue extends far beyond the debate over fraternities, but this is a stellar example of it. Swarthmore, the great equalizer, an institution praised for its dedication to acceptance and tolerance and the rejection of stereotypes and societal constructs, just can’t extend that philosophy to the fraternities.

    Swarthmore does such an admirable deed for the world by training its students to stop stereotyping commonly mistreated groups, such as the LGBTQ community, racial and ethnic minorities, various religious groups, and socioeconomic classes. Why can’t we also break the mold by proving that fraternities can be full of responsible, respectful, contributing members of society? Why can’t we work to prove that frats don’t have to be generic hotbeds of all of the world’s most grotesque behaviors, just as they are in movies or at larger, much crazier, much less socially enlightened schools? I thought we as a community made a pact to break with stereotypes, but I’m still waiting to see that wave of tolerance and conscious acceptance wash all the way down the hill. Stop falling victim to confirmation bias. Stop letting your preconceived ideas of what a fraternity looks like inform your notions of greek life on this campus and look at the facts instead. Stop doing to others exactly what you fight so hard to keep others from doing to you: making unfair assumptions that are both hurtful and destructive to building a community.

    I am obviously not asking that we accept sexual assault or irresponsible drinking or racism. I am asking that we confront those issues as a campus and stop unfairly blaming those who are not responsible for them, and in many cases, those who are making the most conscious, active effort to recognize and put an end to these problems.

    Reply
    • December 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm
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      This comment was going to be way longer, but I’m going to keep it short in hopes that people will actually read it. What bothers me most about your comment is that you think Swarthmore is doing “such an admirable deed for the world by training its students to stop stereotyping commonly mistreated groups, such as the LGBTQ community, racial and ethnic minorities, various religious groups, and socioeconomic classes.” It’s not an “admirable deed,” Lanie. It’s one of the core values of Swarthmore that you keep talking about.

      And yet there are still students on this campus who not only stereotype these marginalized groups, but openly discriminate against them. Let’s not even talk about the little comments that people make every day. Let’s just stick to the ones everyone knows about. The kid who was called a fag in Paces last year for dancing with another guy. The people who joined in chanting “U.S.A.” when a Swattie’s friend started waving a Confederate flag around at Pub Nite. The person who wrote “queer dorms, kill ’em all,” and all the people who told the ones who were getting upset about it that it wasn’t a big deal.

      Reply
      • December 20, 2012 at 3:31 am
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        I believe that teaching a community to adopt and embrace a set of respectable core values is an admirable deed. How is it anything short of that? Why does diversity being one of Swarthmore’s core values diminish the importance or the goodness of spreading that message?

        As I stated in my post, we are imperfect; it would be unreasonable to expect otherwise. But I didn’t hear anyone say that any one of those incidents wasn’t a big deal. I saw students rally around the causes at hand and try to fix the arising issues, whereas similar incidents at other schools, let alone in the real world, are frequently met with a “deal with it” attitude.

        Nowhere in my comment did I state or even imply that all Swatties everywhere are perfectly tolerant and accepting. What I said rather was that THAT is an issue worth fighting. And if we’re going to talk about unsafe spaces and racism and homophobia, we should be talking about that as a whole campus; not directing a lot of unfair hatred toward the frats.

        Reply
        • December 21, 2012 at 12:08 am
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          “But I didn’t hear anyone say that any one of those incidents wasn’t a big deal.”

          I don’t really want to re-fight something I found rather unpleasant and upsetting last semester, but I heard this said, repeatedly.

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        • December 21, 2012 at 12:16 am
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          Maybe that’s because you’re straight and white. I don’t mean that in a degrading way but you don’t deal with the persecution and discrimination marginalized groups feel. I was personally told my an administrator that “kill ’em all” was not a legitimate threat that should cause concern.

          And to say that we shouldn’t focus on especially unsafe spaces on campus is ridiculous. If we’re having a problem at the frats, let’s work on the frats. Logic friends. Logic.

          Reply
          • December 21, 2012 at 12:53 am
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            *by

          • January 9, 2013 at 9:52 pm
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            This is a tangent, but an important one: I am so sick of the argument that because one does not belong to specified groups, one cannot possibly understand the pain of discrimination. I am a cis, white female, but that doesn’t automatically mean that I have never experienced discrimination.

            I am an atheist. I have been physically abused for being part of a ‘religious’ minority, and I was told by a few of my Swarthmore friends that I could not possibly be a moral person without believing in God.

            I am also lower middle class (poor for Swarthmore, unfortunately). One of my Swarthmore friends once let slip that I was on financial aid in front of another friend, who immediately insisted that, unlike me, he wasn’t on financial aid “because my parents actually work”. Other cis white friends of mine have been told they are not intelligent enough to be at Swarthmore because they couldn’t afford to go to private school.

            You cannot look at a few traits of a person and know whether they have experienced the pain of discrimination or not. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this argument, and just how offensive it is. If you think a person is wrong, prove it. Attacking their experience just shows that you don’t have a leg to stand on, and they might just tell you something you wouldn’t expect to hear about their personal experience with discrimination.

          • January 10, 2013 at 12:34 am
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            That’s absolutely not what I’m saying. I’m saying that it can be difficult to empathize with the pain queer students face when confronted with statements like “kill ’em all” because their lives aren’t in jeopardy. They likely won’t feel the same kind of fear LGBT students face. Just like while I can sympathize with the discrimination and oppression black students face at Swarthmore (I advocate for black students frequently) I will never truly be able to understand their experience as a white person.

          • January 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm
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            “Maybe that’s because you’re straight and white. I don’t mean that in a degrading way but you don’t deal with the persecution and discrimination marginalized groups feel.”

            Seriously? is responding to what you said. You tried to delegitimize the argument of another commenter by commenting on their sexual orientation and race. I happen to agree with you that the original argument is wrong, but there are so many better ways to disprove her argument.

          • January 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm
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            It’s astonishing that so many people hold this perception. Does being a straight cis white male render him incapable of empathizing with people that have been marginalized?

            Let me share a story with you and maybe it will change your mind. I am a member of a fraternity. I grew up in a relatively comfortable middle-class upbringing. But I am only one generation away from poverty, from parents that grew up with abandonment and the insecurity of not knowing when their next meal would be. And today, as the eldest child carrying the mantle of that legacy with me, I’ve struggled with racism, with feeling like an inadequate person, and even with my own sexual identity. But I guess if all you cared to see was a cis male in a frat, you wouldn’t have known that about me.

            I’ve had several incredible conversations with the people proudly I call my brothers about these subjects. And always, I keep in mind that if they don’t understand some of these things, I can help them understand by explaining my perspective rather than name-call them. Maybe once we stop labeling every member of a fraternity as a drunken cis-white rapist, we can have some productive conversations.

            The struggles of feeling marginalized are all part of the human experience. And the more we as a campus community feign the illusion that somehow these struggles are exclusive within each sub-group, the farther we step away from being a community. It disgusts me that we sometimes entrench ourselves in our differences rather than celebrate them. Please open your mind and get to know some of these people. I know I have, and I’ve become a better person for having done so.

    • December 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm
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      I hope this doesn’t come off as a personal attack Lanie but to compare LGBT students and students of color to frat brothers is really offensive. Minority students are marginalized and oppressed. We conduct anti-oppression work to combat that. The frat brothers do not need anti-oppression work because most come from the most privileged groups of society. They don’t have laws against them. They aren’t victims of hate crimes. They don’t fear for their safety as they walk down the street.

      As for the training you’ve participated in for not stereotyping LGBT students, please tell me more. I wasn’t aware Swarthmore had mandatory training programs on diversity. Even if Swat did do that, to call it admirable is again offensive. It’s not admirable to not oppress people. It’s the right thing to do.

      To suggest that the stories about the frats are lies is simply untrue. I can confirm everything that has been said. They’ve happened.

      Please go ahead and scrutinize other campus groups. I assure you you would not find such defensiveness and denial.

      People aren’t angry at the frats because they are “foreign” and “different.” These cultures are EXTREMELY familiar to everyone. They permeate the dominant culture everyday. We challenge the frats because what they’re doing is wrong and runs counter to the values of Swarthmore as an institution. They deserve to be scrutinized.

      Reply
  • December 19, 2012 at 10:56 am
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    Hi,

    I’d just like to point out that for an indefinte period of time, the soon to be Kappa Alpha Theta sorority will only be able to throw dry parties So, if you are looking for dry alternatives to parties on Saturday nights, swatties who feel social pressure to drink at wet parties will have an alternative!

    Just food for thought

    nom nomz.

    Ms. Bi

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  • December 19, 2012 at 10:57 am
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    First off, I’d like to say my experience with the fraternities has been positive, despite what stereotypes my demographic may suggest. And that’s the crux of the matter here; look beyond stereotypes. I may not understand or respect every single quality of the respective frats, but that is fine–I don’t expect to. I go by my first-hand experiences, which have been good. And when they aren’t good, I don’t blindly point blame. I recognize that my opinions relate to my personal feelings and don’t necessarily ring true for others and do not speak to the integrity of organizations.

    But the real debate here should not be fraternities vs. the rest of campus. This has become a question of student acceptance and every group doing its own part to ensure inclusion, safety, and integrity. The culture of each student group at Swat is determined by those who wish to participate; if every group was evaluated based on perfectly fitting the needs of every single student, no group would remain. That is not to say that groups do not have a responsibility to maintain an inclusive and accepting culture–but it is impossible for every student to agree, and thus impossible and futile for every student to feel that if a group doesn’t meet his/her standards, it must change drastically or shouldn’t exist. The diversity of this campus would plummet if that were true.

    The frats are student groups like any other and should be given the same respect to determine a culture that works for them, as long as it is safe, inclusive, etc. And it is worth noting that the frats’ presence on campus comes from the fact that male students consistently want to join and many, many students consistently want to party there on Thursday and Saturdays. The fraternities do not impose themselves on anyone. People who are strongly against greek life need not attend. The frats are also receptive–very receptive–to constructive criticism when well argued and fairly given.
    Lastly, I’d like to just point out that this campus intends to make a place for everyone and support everyone’s interests–and “everyone” includes those of us who enjoy frequenting the frats. The frats aren’t perfect. There are issues they need to work on. But I’m positive that if you scrutinized every group–not to mention every person–you’d give the same prognosis.

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  • February 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm
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    Seems like the fact that people are contentiously debating whether there is or is not rapey, sexual assault-y, and racist cultural aspects to Frat life should indicate that these perceptions have sprung from real incidents. This probably means that there is a problem with these things at some level, whether they are structural to the frat institutions is important. But yeah just be civilized about talking about that. Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist, but don’t pretend frats members are all demons or that accusers are all lying.

    amirite?

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