Op-Ed: From Delta Upsilon

Dear Swarthmore,

Delta Upsilon has closely followed all of the public discussion the past few weeks.
We do not question or deny anyone’s personal experience, and are moved by those that have been brought forward. We are also disturbed by some of the responses that question the authenticity of these accounts and those that diminish their significance. We apologize to all individuals who have felt their personal comfort or safety compromised in the house, or with any of our brothers, and we earnestly strive to empathize. Further, we are determined to work with the campus community at large to collaboratively develop strategies to make Delta Upsilon more safe, open, and welcoming.

We unequivocally oppose the damaging acts and problematic culture highlighted in general campus discussion and are determined to work with the campus community to improve.

We do understand there are some serious problems associated with the drinking and party culture that we as a brotherhood, and as a campus at large, participate in and perpetuate. While our efforts have not yet made as large an impact as we hope they will, we have taken steps towards counteracting this culture, and feel that as an institution we make an overall positive impact on the campus.

For example, over the past few years we have been developing new partnerships and practices:

Our pledge process begins with a detailed SMARTeam training and information session with Beth Kotarski. We encourage brothers to continue to attend these events as they occur, as happened this past Thursday.

For the last 3 semesters we have implemented a new policy, in which there are 2-5 designated brothers for each event we host who are not drinking, and whose job it is to be present to prevent and deal with potential issues. In an effort to increase their visibility, and make our space a safer one, these designated brothers will now wear brightly colored orange shirts at every event we host. Moving forward, through our ongoing relationship with Mike Hill and the Public Safety department, we will to continue to make improvements and implement practices to improve the safety of Delta Upsilon.

In addition to these weekly efforts, we have also been collaborating with SMARTeam  to work to make the SAC funded parties (Halloween and Genderfuck) safer by providing a Safe Walk program, in which brothers escort home anyone who feels uncomfortable walking back alone. We also work with the SMARTeam to organize the Handprint Pledge that precedes the Clothesline Project every Spring to raise awareness of and make a stand against sexual misconduct.

In addition to our commitment to improve safety on campus, we engage multiple community service projects each and every semester both as pledges and as brothers. Recently, we have assisted the Friends Meeting House on campus in building a new playground and assisting their fundraising Jumble Sale, organized a campus-wide Crum Creek Clean-Up along with Phi Psi and the then Not Yet Sisters, successfully concluded the latest installment of our continuing partnership with Maurice Eldridge on the Red Cross Blood Drive, and have begun to organize a project with All Riders Up to help special needs community members learn to ride horses.

While we have taken steps in the past, we know that these efforts by themselves cannot solve the larger problems facing DU and the campus in general. We take the current debate as an opportunity to hold a mirror to ourselves as an institution and critically reflect on our practices and what we represent. In an effort to improve campus life for ourselves, but more importantly for the greater campus community, we are sincerely open to comments, criticisms, and suggestions for ways to make DU safer for everyone, and look forward to the discussion we will have as a community.

Sincerely,

Delta Upsilon Fraternity


Did you like this article? Consider joining the DG! Open staff meetings are every Monday at 6:30 p.m. in Kohlberg; or email us at editors@daily.swarthmore.edu.

53 comments

  1. 0
    Matt says:

    Yeah, bye-bye DU, you wish. Bottom line, DU ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE. They’re going to keep meeting, socializing, and enjoying the house that THEY BUILT WITH THEIR OWN MONEY. Come back to reality, Swatties. In a few years, your Swarthmore bubble will pop and its off to the scary, real world.

      1. 0
        Welp says:

        Matt is being puerile, too true (though to also a pretty puerile remark). But… the chances of the frats getting banned outright are pretty slim unless somebody, say produces a video of egregious violation (*NOT SAYING THIS IS THE CORRECT STANDARD OF EVIDENCE*). If nothing else, I strongly suspect the alumni are too financially valuable to the college; I wonder if there are any good numbers on this.

  2. 0
    Skeptical says:

    The code of conduct on this page would be a nice beginning to reforms: (http://www.swatdu.org/webpages/about_du.html). Oh, wait! It’s from 1984, when the college put pressure on you to stop protecting brothers who harmed the larger community and to recognize that you are a part of the community. Pardon me, but I’m skeptical that you will be able to change your behavior when the reforms we’ve requested from you are already on your books and you ignore them.

    1. 0
      Skeptical as well says:

      Lolz. They also claim that they will prominently post the rules at all parties and that they will strictly enforce them. Looks like nobody can bank on “reforms” like a code of conduct actually doing anything. Bye bye DU.

      1. 0
        Skeptical as well says:

        That didn’t post correctly. Here’s what I meant to say:

        “(g) The chapter will not tolerate the irresponsible use of alcohol.
        Section1.02: The alumni and undergraduates of Delta Upsilon recognize that our primary responsibility is to the Swarthmore College community, of which we are an integral part. If DU is allowed to return to the campus, we will use our moral, persuasive, and other resources to see that the chapter members adhere to the principles of this Code. The members will be fully informed of the requirements of the Code and its implications. The sanctions of suspension and expulsion will be used to whatever extent may be necessary.”

        Lolz. They also claim that they will prominently post the rules at all parties and that they will strictly enforce them. Looks like nobody can bank on “reforms” like a code of conduct actually doing anything. Bye bye DU.

        1. 0
          Welp says:

          I’m still a little confused as to what the “gotcha” was in the original two posts? The frats already claim that they deal with assaulters/harrassers they are informed of, ban people from the house if they screw with folks, have designated sober brothers, don’t hate the gays (though to be fair that wasn’t DU right?), etc. And the bylaws mostly say that, from what I read? I’m genuinely not sure what actually-new information is here. If you believe they actually do a reasonable job at policing, there you go; if you think they don’t, it’s also more of the same. Could the OP(s?) clarify–especially regarding the historical point?

          Wait, scratch that, the DU Bros through history pictures are GREAT. That’s new!

        2. 0
          ignoring facts says:

          That happens. People have been removed from the fraternities for their behavior. They’ve been sent to counseling, banned from the house, required to stay sober (in and outside the fraternity) for months, and more. Have YOU forced your friends to do this when they have behaved poorly?

          What actions have YOU taken to protect people from alcohol poisoning, fights, or sexual assault? How often have YOU stayed sober at parties (not as a PA, who gets paid) with the sole purpose of watching out to make sure no one gets hurt or harassed?

          Posting rules? Are you serious? “No drinking under 21” is the only official rule the college makes party hosts put up.

          You’re a smart one.

          1. 0
            You're ignoring the facts says:

            What about the no more than one keg rule? I’ve seen a hell of a lot of kegs in DU. And I mean given that irresponsible use of alcohol means you don’t tolerate underage drinking, I’m pretty sure you’re breaking that one too. You write your own rules and you still can’t follow them.

  3. 0
    Limited Understanding I See... says:

    You clearly have little understanding of how, for instance, the legal system in America works. Just because a policy is not written down does not mean the policy does not exist. Lawsuits happen ALL THE TIME because of discrimination that isn’t written down. What kind of idiotic company would write down that it doesn’t promote minorities past a certain level? It would never have an official policy! It’s an unofficial policy, which is STILL ILLEGAL.

    The point I’m trying to make is not whether or not the frats are illegal. My point is that just because discrimination, homophobia, rape culture, etc are not written down does NOT mean that they don’t exist. There is a legal precedent that would agree with me on that one.

    1. 0
      Out of the loop says:

      The condescension hurts my eyes!

      I’ll brush it aside, though, to agree with you! If the Greek groups can be shown to systematically promote racism, homophobia, rape culture, etc. then yeah it should be dealt with by a higher power, possibly the student body, possibly the administration, possibly the law. But how would you like this: PhiPsi and DU and Theta get disbanded because you prove that they unconsciously promote those behaviors. All of the students remain on campus. Now the baseball team, and lacrosse team start renting party spaces and throwing parties in the Danawell trailer. All the same people who were homophobic and sexual abusive are here, and everyone feels sooo much safer because the names DU and PhiPsi are gone. Freshmen show up next year, hear about a party in the trailer and voila, nothings changed.

      Let the school or law crack down on the individuals who’s behaviors shouldn’t be tolerated on this campus, have them removed accordingly. Then, say, “Your move, greek life” and judge their decisions going forward, such as their handling of less serious incidents, whether they continue to step their up their game in preventative measures, and any other changes they make.

  4. 0
    Out of the loop says:

    I haven’t been following these debates/comments/referendum as much as I probably should. I skimmed the comments from this and the other popular articles on the topic from the DG, so I believe I have the gist of the issue. But it is not made obvious to me exactly why the Fraternities and Sorority are having their futures questioned because of the misconduct of specific individuals.

    Sexual violence, harassment, and the behaviors of rape culture are abhorrent issues and I fully condone the punishment/suspension/expulsion of students who choose to act in such a way. I also believe that that is the only way to justly address these issues and that attempts to remove Greek life from campus is misdirected.

    Were it the case the the fraternities and sorority had and upheld racist, homophobic or sexist policies, or if they made ridiculous statements claiming that their members were above the law or school rules, their removal would be immediate.But obviously, neither PhiPsi, DU or Theta have any policies like those, or condoning the behaviors for which they are accused. Parker’s removal from a fraternity was not on behalf of their bylaws or any general principles of their chapters. Specific students were the victims, and specific students committed the offenses. The offenders should to be punished individually. If your aim is to disband the groups, consider this: A majority of the students in DU are baseball players and most Phi Psi brothers are lacrosse players. Why the petition to remove the Greek groups but leave intact other groups to which all of the exact same people have membership?

    As I said, offending students should be punished individually. In my opinion, parallel with my other beliefs, to blame the fraternities for failing to deal with this in the way you see fit is unjustifiable. Addressing these issues is the responsibility of the school administration and the law. If brothers do not remove members who commit these acts, that is their choice and let it be a reflection of their personal values. On the other hand, do not assume that each brother knows of every action of every other. As Hoover said in another thread, he does not even know the last name of every brother in DU.

    I also fully support DU, Theta, and NYS’s efforts to bring a safer experience to this campus. It is not necessary for them to do this, but it can make a big difference.

    1. 0
      Out of the loop says:

      Let me be clear of what my point is. I must not make it very clear because both responders have missed it.

      I am not defending the frats/sorority, or these people’s behavior, or saying that is not illegal, or that it does not exist. I am not saying that the frats/sorority should be invulnerable because they don’t write down their homophobia or rape culture.

      I’m saying that attacking them, dismantling them because of the actions of specific members, and perhaps because they happened in the houses, does not solve the problem. If the removal of the brother/sisterhoods doesn’t provide the actual offenders with a reason to feel victimized themselves, then it at least provides them with the feeling that they have paid their dues, despite still being on campus, a daily reminder to the victims, on this tiny campus that their abuser is still here.

      I am very close with a victim of the real issue. I could care less that that the frats are still here, i just want the person to be addressed, removed and not allowed to return until the victim and all her awesomeness has graduated.

      1. 0
        Out of the loop says:

        OK I’ll clarify the final two sentences of my comment that I only added in as a side-note and then hopefully you could respond to the idea that I really meant to get across.

        Greek Life should make their own events safe, sure. Obviously they need to do a much better job of that. But that wasn’t exactly what I wrote. I wrote that they’re bringing a safer experience to the whole campus. They absolutely do not NEED to send brothers and sisters to the sharples parties. They do not need to organize the handprint pledge.

        Let these actions reflect the conscious intentions of DU as a whole.

        1. 0
          Ohmygod says:

          Okay, really? Why don’t you pat yourself on the back just a little more for going above and beyond and putting your fucking hand print on a sheet saying you (collectively) won’t rape people — and then don’t follow through on it.

  5. 0
    Kelsey '13 says:

    Problem is that this article said nothing to address any of the issues raised by Parker Murray’s article, which seriously changed my view on this issue. The fact that several members of the fraternity would watch on while someone was being kicked out of the house due to their sexuality raises serious issues about lack of individual accountability and group condolence of unacceptable behavior. That is a serious problem. Reforms need to be made to increase accountability for individuals’ behavior. This article cites no measures that have been taken to do this.

    1. 0
      Alex Ginsberg - to Kelsey '13 says:

      I agree that what Parker Murray described was horrifying and unacceptable. If the DU alumni foundation learned that this happened at the DU house and DU brothers were involved, I can guarantee we would take action. In the past, brothers who did things like that were disciplined.

      Parker’s ordeal was an example of extreme behavior, and unfortunately there are less egregious examples that occur more frequently. People say ignorant things. This is not exclusive brothers, of course, and I don’t believe it’s even more common for brothers to say ignorant things than for other Swatties to do so. That said, brothers are in a position of power in their houses, which makes what they say more harmful. One brother’s cruel words taint the house as a whole, no matter how tolerant and caring other brothers are, and despite even the strongest actions the fraternity takes to deal with verbal assault.

      With that in mind, let me share my experience as a brother. I came from a high school where people called each other faggot 100 times a day. I said it all the time without meaning to be homophobic. It was just another insult. A lot of my friends who pledged DU had the same experience, or even more so because they were from more rural areas. Hell, my best friend told me the first day I met him that it was ok to make black jokes (he’s black) in front of him and I shouldn’t hold back (you should have seen the look on my face, like “omg what did I say?”).

      In pledging, we very quickly learned that language was unacceptable and wrong. Our brothers told us so. Our alumni visited and a giant-sized gay man told us that he would “Terry Tate” (google the videos) anyone who said the word faggot. This wasn’t necessarily high-minded, nuanced sensitivity training, but every single one of my fellow pledges changed their language, and those who actually were a bit homophobic changed as well. There were still incidents where someone said something offensive, but usually someone else would tell them that’s not cool.

      A similar thing occurred in 2006-07 when we started getting involved with the Clothesline Project and SMART. Jokes that were previously OK became uncool, and mostly disappeared.

      I’m not saying this to suggest that DU doesn’t have racists or homophobes, or that Parker’s incident couldn’t happen there. What I’m trying to show is that:

      1) in my experience DU was a positive socialization mechanism for guys who came from very diverse backgrounds and did not necessarily fit in with Swattie culture when they arrived
      2) that DU improved over time by educating its brothers on more and more issues
      3) that brothers do care what other brother say, often attempt to moderate them, and take more drastic steps when they feel it’s important to do so.

      Improvement’s are possible and necessary, I won’t deny. I simply wanted to share an insider’s perspective.

    2. 0
      Matt says:

      One of the reasons that this article–penned by DU–did not address the Parker Murray incident is because the incident did not occur in DU. Can we at least try to distinguish, just a little, between the three groups that make up the “greeks”. Also, the sober brothers program and the pledge workshop are most definitely points of citation regarding how DU tries to combat “Rape Culture”. Did you even read the letter? Please, please, please, if you’re trying to encourage open dialog and productive discussion, PROPOSE YOUR OWN POINTS OF REFORM. “…we are sincerely open to comments, criticisms, and suggestions…” GIVE THEM SOME SUGGESTIONS. Stop posting this psychobabble bs.

      1. 0
        Paul Cato says:

        Matt, Kelsey never claimed that DU should comment on Parker’s experiences – she said they needed to address the **issues** that article brings up: the idea of protectionism, the tendency to standy by idly and watch, the straight up insensitivity, etc. Now while Parker’s situation did not involve DU members I can attest to the fact that the first and the last things I mentioned (protectionism and insensitivty) have occurred within DU – though in this instance the situation was one of racial insensitivity.

        You’ve asked for suggestions? One of the simplest ones seems to be one that has been raised quite a few times on multiple comment threads: disclosure and transparency. I would like to believe that DU and Phi Psi have some sort of code of conduct or set of rules outlining what they feel is intolerable behavior, as well as something that details their judiciary process. If that is the case a wonderful first step would be the disclosure of such documents for those interested to see. Such a step accomplishes several things: 1) it shows that, at least structurally, the frats have things in place meant to address wrongdoings that take place within their environment or are carried out by their members; 2) it will lessen people’s ability to guess or make assumptions as to how the fraternities operate (or are supposed to operate) when issues are brought to their attention; 3) it will allow to make better suggestions when discussing reforms; and 4) it will serve as a sign of good faith and convey Phi Psi and DU’s commitment to dialogue all the more. The leaders in both frats are extremely kind and care a great deal about Swarthmore and the issues that have been raised over the course of the past year. Yet no number of tightly written OP-Eds or polite article comments can make up for the incidents that have occurred, and I think an act such as this, though small and fairly easy to do, will convey that care and commitment much more than a list of good deeds.

        Ultimately any sort of productive/constructive dialogue requires some degree of trust – without trust such discussions remain arguments and accomplish nothing. Now for some people trust will not come easily, and if this is the case so be it. I’m sure many people’s reservations are completely justified, and we must respect their hesitation in this case. But for those of us who truly do wish to see things improve (be we brothers/sisters, opponents of greek life, supporters of the institutions, etc.) it is necessary that we give one another the benefit of the doubt to some small degree so that real conversation can take place. An act of disclosure like the one I described above will help foster such trust and in the process increase the likelihood of fruitful dialogue taking place.

  6. 0
    Chris McKitterick says:

    I would be interested in how the fraternities compare statistically to the rest of campus as far as reported assaults/complaints go. While reported events don’t begin to tell the whole story, it provides a more meaningful backdrop than one event. If a similar event occurred in Alice Paul or Paces, I suspect there would not be an outcry calling for the removal of either the dorm or institution. It is easy to form prejudices about a specific organization to conform to preconceived notions, but that does not make it ok.

    That is not to say “It doesn’t happen that often” is anything approaching an acceptable excuse. Perhaps it’s hard to believe, but as brothers (I speak as a DU alumnus) we would be more than ashamed of an event such as this occurring. One of the premises behind DU as an organization is “building better men.” This means, in addition to other things, engendering a culture that encourages the same liberal ideas that guide Swarthmore and strongly condemning the type of behavior that has been described. I hope this doesn’t come across as a a quip to try and smooth things over. I am ashamed to hear about stories like this happening at Swarthmore, regardless of where they occur (though I am admittedly more intensely disturbed when it happens at an institution which meant so much to me). As with any campus group, everyone is far from perfect, but, as the current brothers have made clear, they are working hard to educate their membership and ensure that these types of negative attitudes do not prevail within the organization. Further, if the community had concrete ideas as to how they can strengthen this process, I’m sure they would welcome the discussion. It’s easy to stand in the crowd and say I don’t believe you, but that’s little different and certainly no more productive than demanding a Hawaiian birth certificate.

  7. 0
    S says:

    Can we stop referring to the term “rape culture”? There is no set of values in fraternities (nor in any Swarthmore organization) that promotes rape. Rape is an action committed by an individual and is not something representative of an organization that individual happens to be a member of.

    1. 0
      Sara '12 says:

      Ok, so whether or not it is perpetuated by any particular organization, rape culture is a real thing.

      A thing that should be taken seriously and which should not go in scare quotes. A thing that *can potentially* be perpetuated by institutions and organizations.

      I haven’t had a chance to read this carefully, but this looks like an excellent primer.

      1. 0
        Sara '12 says:

        I should add that rape culture does not need to be intentionally supported to be perpetuated. It can work in subtle ways, especially given its long history and normalization.

    2. 0
      Hope Brinn '15 says:

      I do not feel comfortable abolishing the use of the term rape culture. Rape culture is a set of attitudes and values that normalizes sexual violence. One of the debates about the fraternities right now is whether there is a rape culture and if so what structural changes can be made to abolish that. I think it’s important to keep this discussion moving forward as it is a large concern around this campus. I stated in the post before that individuals at Swarthmore are concerned about rape culture in the frats. As a result, I think it would be dangerous to abolish the use of the term in our discussions.

      If you want more information on rape culture, you take a look at this article:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture

  8. 0
    Brendan Work says:

    Respectfully, try not to be such so blisteringly self-righteous. DU is in my experience an open and introspective brotherhood and we aim to improve with at least as much good faith as any other campus group, including (especially) the administration. If training, outreach, and repeated public flagellation aren’t enough, what do you have in mind? Do you really not believe there’s not a private and parallel DU email thread at least nine times long as this one?

  9. 0
    you can do better says:

    “We apologize to all individuals who have felt their personal comfort or safety compromised in the house, or with any of our brothers.”

    Great, now spell it out: in your public apology, and in yesterday’s public meeting, you failed to put into words the problem you’re trying to address. That is, the repeated incidents of homophobia, racism, sexual assault, and hate speech that members of DU (and Phi Psi) have committed, and for the fact that your organizations have failed to take action against them and even cover for the brothers responsible. These incidents are not mere instances of ” ‘feeling’ your personal comfort or safety compromised.” You cannot shunt these off to “drinking and party culture” pervading “the campus at large” that your brotherhood merely participates in. The harmful behaviors the latest public discussion has brought to light are endemic to the fraternities as they exist at Swarthmore now and perhaps categorically as institutions.

    Let us not let a list of rather conciliatory gestures suffice as penance. Going to the blood drive is external to the frat house and unrelated to the problems in question, and so does not address them. As for working for the SMART and DART Teams: you cannot teach others until you show you can teach your own.

    In this op-ed, and yesterday’s discussion, you have repeatedly insisted on further discussion and dialogue–about what? You need to own up to the specific problems of your institution in order to begin addressing them. While this public apology is an ok first step, until you admit “we have a problem with aggression, homophobia, racism, and exclusivity,” by simply calling for suggestions and discussion, you have fallen short of a pointed effort to address your institutions’ _known_ flaws. And unless DU and Phi Psi demonstrate specific means to correct these, and do so quickly, they will fail to justify their continued presence on this campus.

    1. 0
      agreed, however says:

      I think that the frats do need to take steps to improve. However, I don’t see that the brothers have enough power on their own to really address these incidents. From what I have heard thus far, Banning people or reporting incidents secondhand doesn’t get anything done, and generally, from what I’ve been hearing, the Frats have had difficulty addressing the incidents because they don’t really know much about them–rather than a total lack of conscience on their part, I think this is more of an issue about Swarthmore not having the right avenues to report these people or take action against them (if the victim desires this to be the case).

      Also, on a pessimistic note, you’re acting like we’re coming from a position of power when attacking the fraternities. This is totally wrong. The fact that we can even voice these opinions is a privilege afforded to us by the administration, so it would be best to respect that. I think that attacking the fraternities isn’t a constructive way to go about this, and only results in more defensive statements like the one that we just read. If you really want them to take action, you’re going to have to hold their hands and make it happen together, rather than jumping all over students, who are swatties like us, and I know the grand majority are just as appalled by the incidents occurring in and around their houses as the rest of us.

      To phi psi and DU, though, It should be clear by now that this kind of statement is obviously cosmetic, and that despite all the efforts of the brothers, this isn’t the time to be referencing past good deeds. I thank you for the idea of sober brothers in the houses. I would suggest Kappa Alpha Theta send sober females to both houses as well, playing off the good advice Hope gave that it’s not necessarily comforting to have a male brother walk you home.

      Hopefully further discussion leads both PhiPsi and DU to seek better solutions alongside the administration, who clearly have stated with the addition of Theta that they believe greek life belongs at swarthmore. It is definitely within their role here to make sure that those institutions do not compromise the safety of their students.

        1. 0
          2010 says:

          Short answer yes. Many people have been banned from DU for a variety of reasons, include inappropriate sexual conduct, as well as problems with drinking or other social issues. Generally these have been non-brothers or potential pledges. When issues have arisen with brothers themselves, whether its with academics, alcohol, sexual conduct, fights, etc, DU generally acts to support that person in getting help. I think its general knowledge that simply removing someone does not solve the problem at hand. There have been several brothers who have been encouraged or even mandated to seek external counseling or support by the brothers. As I think is understandable, these issues and the following treatments are not generally publicized because of privacy issues. This is no different than any other organization on campus or anywhere else. i think problems with the atmosphere on campus arise when people assume that one person is representative of the group as a whole, in which case you might as well say Swarthmore as an entity promotes a rape culture because there appears to be many valid issues with rape, assault, harassment, etc on campus being committed by students, whether they are brothers of one of the fraternities or not. Picking and choosing the group to attack because of national stereotypes is just that, stereotyping. I recommend for the people who do hate on fraternity brothers that they actually go down some time during the day and talk to a few of them. You’d be surprised how good of people they really are.

          1. 0
            getting tired of repeating myself says:

            “I recommend for the people who do hate on fraternity brothers that they actually go down some time during the day and talk to a few of them. You’d be surprised how good of people they really are.”

            Can we stop acting like people have a problem with some frat brothers because they don’t know them well enough? I know everything I need to know about the brother I dislike: he assaulted my friends. I don’t owe him a visit so he can prove to me that he’s not a horrible human. I will continue to stay the hell away because I fear for my safety.

        2. 0
          Grad '09 says:

          In response to “curious”– if I remember right, in my time there, DU banned some dude from the tennis team for kicking their windows and a couple of basketball players for snatching their beer. I think there was also a soccer player or two they banned over relationships with some brother’s girlfriend.

          To be fair, I don’t remember any allegations of sexual violence at the frats being public when I was there, so maybe there were bans over those, too. So it’s entirely possible those happened and they just weren’t all that public…

          1. 0
            Alex Ginsberg says:

            Both brothers and non-brothers have been banned from the fraternity for poor behavior over the last 10 years. I don’t know the details of the incidents in the last 4 years, but while I was in school we had to deal with several incidents. In one case, we removed a pledge from the process because we heard several reports of him intimidating women. In that time, we also put several brothers on probation, requiring them to attend alcohol and psychological counseling for 6 months before being allowed to be in the house for a party. I’ve heard of several similar situations while on the alumni board.

            In my time, there were half a dozen non-brothers that we banned permanently (and more for shorter periods of time) because they either caused a fight or harassed a girl. Granted, we (as in the fraternity officers) likely missed instances of sexual misconduct by both brothers and non-brothers, and the incidents we addressed were those that we either saw or were reported to us by friends outside the fraternity. It’s extremely difficult to get good information about misconduct at the frats (or any party), let alone catch it in action. That’s why we started the sober brothers policy and required fraternity specific SMART training. Clearly, there’s more that can be done, but it’s disingenuous and short-sighted to suggest (which you’re not) that abolishing the fraternities or opening their houses to the public will solve the problem.

          2. 0
            Phi Psi 20X says:

            I thought there was a student that was stripped of his brotherhood due to allegations of either sexual assault or sexual harassment during my tenure. However, DU would need to confirm to be sure.

    2. 0
      J says:

      So let the discussions continue and let solutions emerge from constructive dialogue. If a solution cannot be found, then fine — hold a vote if it must come to that.

      Instead of simply arguing that this op-ed is “not enough,” why not suggest potential steps that you would like the fraternities to take? This op-ed was clearly not intended to be a be-all end-all by any means. If anything, I this article demonstrates that DU is already taking a step forward and is open to change. As a Phi Psi brother, I feel we can say the same for ourselves. Try to remember that we are all working toward a common solution, so claiming that x or y is “not enough” is not very constructive without any feedback. With regards to your last point, I feel this article expresses, in all fairness, the acknowledgement of serious issues and a pledge to move forward openmindedly. I don’t know what more you are looking for than has already been posed here in DU admitting they “have a problem with aggression, homophobia, racism, and exclusivity,” than to strip them of their dignity.

      I don’t hesitate to say that there are very real problems with the fraternities that need to be addressed through reform. But, that said, to continue to bash away without providing constructive feedback is uncalled for and moves us all further from a resolution.

      I pose the question again: what steps would you like to see Phi Psi and DU take, moving forward, to ultimately reform the image of the fraternities on campus into that of open, safe spaces?

  10. 0
    Julia M. '13 says:

    Hi Hope,
    At last year’s Genderfuck party, then Not Yet Sisters assisted DU in acting as “sober siblings” throughout the entire night. For every escortee, there was one sober brother and one sober sister to help an individual back to his/her dorm room. I don’t see why Kappa Alpha Theta can’t become involved more permanently in this kind of initiative on the weekends. I understand that there could still be issues with having one male escort involved, but perhaps there can be a second sister on call each weekend to help out if that is the case. While I admit that no plan is perfect, I see a lot of value in trying to get something like this launched. With that said, any ideas on how to improve this initiative are entirely welcome and encouraged.
    Best,
    Julia

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      Hope Brinn '15 says:

      Thanks for your response Julia! I can’t speak for everyone but I can say that I would feel much safer having two people serve as escorts and having at least one of those people be female. That sounds good to me!

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    Hope Brinn '15 says:

    I really appreciate you all making this statement. I genuinely believe that we’re all ready to try to make progress surrounding these issues. One thing I’d like to point out is that I’m not really sure how helpful having brothers escort people back to their rooms at night. If there are concerns about rape culture in DU, then I don’t think that this would be an appropriate way to try to counter that necessarily. Most people who are concerned about frat brothers raping them would not feel comfortable having a brother walk them back to their room alone at night when they’re likely drunk. That’s an extremely vulnerable position. That said, I see the intent which I know is good, I’m just not sure if it’s executed in the best way.

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      Peter Amadeo '15 says:

      I would like to start off by saying that Hope and I often have very different opinions — especially on the topic of Greek Life. However, I do agree with her on this topic. If you look at this situation from the perspective of someone who has been or fears being sexually assaulted at the fraternities, it is not much of a comfort to offer them a sober brother as an escort. I completely understand the intent of DU’s proposal, and I find it to be a very noble offer to abstain from consuming any substances in order to help someone later on, but it does not come across as helpful to those who may feel unsafe.
      From what I can understand of the debate over the Greek life at Swarthmore, most of it boils down to the fact that many people are having difficulty seeing and truly understanding the positions of the opposition. At the beginning of the Op-Ed, the author said that the brothers are, “earnestly trying to empathize,” which is fantastic, but it is not that simple. Just as those who oppose the fraternities cannot truly understand a brother’s perspective, the brothers cannot truly understand the perspective of those who feel unsafe. I believe that this is a perfect example of this issue. It seems that, although the idea has good intentions, the brothers of DU cannot fully understand those who feel unsafe. Hope is simply pointing out this disconnect in perspectives, which I think is perfectly valid. She was not attacking the intent or even the author of this Op-Ed, she was simply pointing out an alternative perspective which should never be discredited.

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      Joseph Hagedorn '15 says:

      In the past, such as last year’s Genderfuck at which both you and I volunteered, the policy was that a pair of students, one male, one female, would escort party-goers together.

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        Hope Brinn '15 says:

        I do remember Genderfuck working like that. From the op-ed, I was unclear if this policy would be the same given that only brothers were mentioned.

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