In Wake of Phi Psi Pledge Poster, Administration Takes Disciplinary Action

According to Marian Firke ‘14, Swarthmore College has taken disciplinary action against Phi Psi after a snapshot of the fraternity’s pledge bid, which contains a mosaic image composed of photos of naked women, circulated around campus. Firke is one of a number of students who have replicated the snapshot and spread it both in campus buildings and online since it was first posted to Facebook Sunday night. The Daily Gazette has not determined if the disciplinary action is directly related to the bid.

“The fraternity has been asked to suspend all of their recruiting and told that they will not be able to host parties until some educational remedies have been enacted,” Firke said.

In an interview with The Huffington Post on Wednesday, Liliana Rodriguez, Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development, described the Dean’s Office’s response. “We are working with the fraternity on a multifaceted remedy that will require training and other measures be successfully completed before the fraternity can resume its recruitment efforts or host social events to ensure that our values are upheld, and that such a situation will not recur,” she is reported as having said.

The Dean’s Office has not, as of Wednesday night, announced the sanctions to the student body at large. However, Dean of Students Liz Braun has issued the following statement: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the fraternity’s use of totally inappropriate imagery, and it will stop now.”

One element of the student response to the pledge bid is an online petition drafted by Firke and three other students. The petition calls for the Student Budget Committee (SBC) to defund fraternity campus parties until the fraternities achieve a 10% female membership and open up their membership to all students regardless of gender identity.

The College’s decision to take action comes independently of the petition, and the imposed sanctions are unrelated to the petition’s demands. Firke said the decision had already been made by the time she approached administrators.

The stipulations in the student petition were derived from the single Greek life referendum that was passed by students last spring under the referendum powers set out by the Student Council constitution. The referendum asked students whether they “support admitting students of all genders to sororities and fraternities.”

Since it passed with a 53% majority, the Dean’s Office has not made clear to students how they interpret the wording of the referendum, nor how binding it is. Students have suggested the referendum could have been intended to imply as much as full gender inclusivity in all Greek organizations, or as little as inclusivity for gender-non-binary students within the current fraternity and sorority structure.

To The Daily Gazette‘s knowledge, the Dean’s Office has not made any overt attempts to enforce the referendum or alter Greek organizations’ admissions policies as a result of it.


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173 comments

  1. 0
    Strunk says:

    Okay, I hate to make a comment that’s actually relevant to the discussion at hand, but here’s something that I’ve been wondering and I would like people to respond to. People on both sides of the issue: WHY do you think the makers of this flyer put pictures of naked women on it? I feel like if we were clearer about our beliefs regarding the intent of the people who made the flyer, it’d be easier to understand each other’s arguments.

    1. 0
      Why? (Alum) says:

      “WHY do you think the makers of this flyer put pictures of naked women on it?”

      I think this flier was made by a couple guys in the early-2000s that liked naked women and thought they would impress some friends with their Photoshop skills. Then, the bids were perpetuated through classes of lazy brothers that really didn’t think much of it. That’s it. That’s why there are naked women on the flier, and that is why we are having this conversation. People reading more into “Why” this exists are really quite silly from my perspective, or I expect have an agenda beyond eradicating sexual misconduct on Swarthmore’s campus.

      Let’s put this in some realistic context. ALL Swarthmore students have hours upon hours of classwork to do, and add to that sports time allocation, which many brothers participate. Who is going to spend either (1) time brothers don’t have or (2) money they don’t have [for anything other than paying rent and providing campus drinks] on designing or ordering a new bid template? I really don’t think this is perpetual objectification of an institution as much as it is perpetual laziness and prioritization of other activities.

      This guy “Peter” is full of shit to think its beyond that. Anyone that has been in the fraternities knows that being classified a brother does not add to your sex appeal, nor are the fraternity parties a mecca of women. This doesn’t take much time to figure out, and the jig would be up prior to the bid arrival. The fraternity brothers are categorically looked down upon at Swarthmore because there have been a few bad eggs and perpetuated stories that create negative stereotypes of the collective group. That doesn’t make these men desirable, it makes them outcasts to an otherwise accepting student body.

      1. 0
        Peter '15 says:

        No. Fraternity brothers are not “outcasts.”

        Also, really?

        I think this flier was made by a couple guys in the early-2000s that liked naked women and thought they would impress some friends with their Photoshop skills. Then, the bids were perpetuated through classes of lazy brothers that really didn’t think much of it. That’s it.

        How could that possibly be a good thing, that brothers have internalized misogyny so much that these bids never were challenged? Also, I’m calling BS on the it’s too time consuming argument:

        Who is going to spend either (1) time brothers don’t have or (2) money they don’t have [for anything other than paying rent and providing campus drinks] on designing or ordering a new bid template?

        It would cost absolutely no money to make new fliers. Anyone could make something better than that in a day. Also, you do not understand what objectification is:

        I really don’t think this is perpetual objectification of an institution as much as it is perpetual laziness and prioritization of other activities.

        So if you oppress women because it is so natural to you that it takes the least effort, that makes it okay? No.

        1. 0
          Why? (Alum) says:

          I was answering the question put forth by “Strunk”. How do you expect to get anywhere when you vehemently attack another person and make assumptions?

          Also, I meant “Peter M.” Oops.

        2. 0
          Ohhh Slammm!!! says:

          “Anyone could make something better than that in a day.”

          Aww snap, the gauntlet has officially been thrown.

          Why?(Alum) did you peep those crazy html skills on Peter ’15? Block quotes and whatnot?

          You better be prepared to Step Up 2: the Streets with your graphic design prowess, or risk complete and utter humiliation at the hands of your peers.

          Don’t worry though, as an alumni of Swarthmore College, I’m sure that your art skills could be called…

          (•_•)
          ( •_•)>⌐■-■
          (⌐■_■)

          …liberal.

    2. 0
      Peter M. says:

      Good question, though I think the answer is obvious.

      It says, “Phi Psi Fraternity Welcomes You to The Pledge Class of 2013.” It’s inviting chosen men to go through the pledging process to become a full member of the fraternity. It’s still advertising the fraternity or offering motivation to the chosen new pledges to go through with the process.

      And the message is simple: join Phi Psi and get more women naked/have sex with more women.

      That seems pretty much undeniable.

      Now should the administration be punishing the frat for a targeted distribution of this flyer to specific men? Absolutely not; there’s no law or rule against it. (Especially as it was not intended nor distributed to be viewed by the general public, I can’t see it as sexual harassment.)

      But if the fraternity and its events have a history of sexual assault, that’s serious, and can completely understand women who might want it to be dissolved as an institution. And activist women at Swarthmore have it in their power to shut it down, very simply: by making it so that the message of that flyer becomes an obvious lie —

      Get Swarthmore women to pledge not to attend Psi Phi’s events as a start.

      Organize a picketing team outside the events to plead with women not to enter.

      Organize a Lysistrata-type response. Get women to pledge to not have any sexual contact of any sort with any man in the fraternity unless and until that man resigns his membership.

      There. I just laid out an activist campaign that could actually work. Make it so that the message of that flyer is 180 degrees from the truth. Make it so that, becoming a member of Psi Phi at Swarthmore means that you will get FEWER women naked than you would if you didn’t join. The fraternity would wither away and die quite quickly. Probably only take a year, two at most.

      Now why isn’t THIS the response of those women opposed to the fraternity? That’s my question.

      1. 0
        Uh, what? says:

        “There. I just laid out an activist campaign that could actually work…Now why isn’t THIS the response of those women opposed to the fraternity?”

        Mansplanation-check!

        In any case, I’ll highlight some of the key issues with the suggestion you’ve raised.

        Contrary to popular belief that Genderfuck is the party at which most assaults occur, it’s actually the Disorientation Party at Phi Psi Lodge-the first part of the year. Good luck convincing new, naive freshmen to boycott the fraternities. Most of them are nervous and just want social acceptance. They’re not a point where they feel that they can boycott a major institution at Swarthmore that’s hosting the first real social event on campus.

        “Get women to pledge to not have any sexual contact of any sort with any man in the fraternity unless and until that man resigns his membership.”

        Oh wow because that’s not objectification. The only way a woman has any power is to have or not have sex. Great. Love this.

        And I’d hate to be the “PC police” or whatever derogatory, defensive term you’ll call me but that’s also super heteronormative. Tadah!

        “Organize a picketing team outside the events to plead with women not to enter.”

        That’s been done. With limited success. But that’s beside the point.

        The fundamental issue here is that it is NOT the students’ responsibility to protect the campus from known rapists and rape factories. That’s the job of the college we (or nice benefactors) pay $60,000 a year to attend. It’s not our responsibility to serve as Public Safety and the Dean’s Office. I’m a full-time student and have big career aspirations. Not only did I deserve NOT to be assaulted by a serial rapist frat brother (and subsequently harassed by the fraternity), but I also deserve to be able to feel like my college is a reasonably safe place. It’s not my job to pretend that I can use the free-market to get rid of serial rapists. And it’s certainly not my duty to convince the majority of campus to care about rape. I don’t care if the majority of students are apathetic towards rape and sexual assault-it’s still the college’s job to address it. I, and everyone else, deserve to feel safe regardless of whether or not the majority of students agree.

        1. 0
          Clarification says:

          “Contrary to popular belief that Genderfuck is the party at which most assaults occur, it’s actually the Disorientation Party at Phi Psi Lodge-the first part of the year. ”

          I thought it was Halloween. Can you support your claims? That’s a pretty important assumption there that really shouldn’t go unsubstantiated…

          1. 0
            Uh, what? says:

            I gleaned that from reading through all the Swatter reports and looking at the crime log in public safety. Admittedly that’s not entirely comprehensive. The crime log in public safety only goes back 6 months and the Swatter didn’t start getting posted until last year. That’s the most information that’s available to the public and the most information that swat will ever disclose.

        2. 0
          Peter M. says:

          I truly am sorry about what happened to you. No-one deserves to be assaulted or harassed, and it is most definitely the job of the College and the State itself to protect you and others and to punish your victimizers.

          Now beyond that first and most important point, you interpret my Lysistrata suggestion as this: “The only way a woman has any power is to have or not have sex.”

          I never said nor implied that “only.” I did say though that it could be ONE way to have power. And in the context of the question Strunk raised, I still think my suggestion makes a lot of sense. The flyer’s message was that joining a fraternity will help a man to get more women naked. It’s no secret that’s a major selling point of fraternities in general. So what if women organized themselves to make that promise as false as can be? I’d call that poetic justice.

          And to be clear: I readily concede that whatever women at Swarthmore do or don’t do in response to a problem of fraternity-related sexual assault cannot diminish the atrocity of that assault.

          1. 0
            Uh, what? says:

            But remember the rape thing? Somehow I think women actively refusing to consent wouldn’t do a whole ton when there’s a big ol rape problem in the frats. And again, that whole campaign turns women into objects for men’s sexual pleasure which is the whole thing that we’re trying to push back against.

            I also do appreciate the concession.

      2. 0
        Peter '15 says:

        You’re making it sound like somehow the rape culture at the frats is the fault of women. It isn’t. At all. It’s 100% the fault of the men in the fraternities, of the administration that allows the fraternities to exist, and of everyone who enables the frats. (But first and foremost the men in the frats.)
        While I’m sure your idea is well-intentioned, it treats women as one homogeneous class of people that somehow is incapable of acting on its own and needs to be organized by a man.

        Get Swarthmore women to pledge not to attend Psi Phi’s events as a start.
        Organize a picketing team outside the events to plead with women not to enter… Get women to pledge to not have any sexual contact of any sort with any man in the fraternity…

        Who is supposed to “get” women to do this? Men, I assume? Do you really think, having never gone to Swat, and having never experienced misogyny, you can just casually sit down and go oh, of course, women of Swarthmore: here is what you guys should do. It’s so easy! Good thing I am here to explain this to you. Or, in your own words:

        There. I just laid out an activist campaign that could actually work.

        The fraternity would wither away and die quite quickly. Probably only take a year, two at most.
        Now why isn’t THIS the response of those women opposed to the fraternity? That’s my question.

        That is the most patronizing thing ever. It’s a lovely ironic note to show how men treat women — even this supposed “activist campaign” relies on controlling women (and specifically, who they choose as partners).

        And furthermore, let me reiterate: this is the sort of thing Title IX requires the college to take action against. By law. As for “I can’t see it as sexual harassment,” well, what a shock that a man that doesn’t even go to Swarthmore doesn’t feel harassed by misogynistic posters there.

        1. 0
          Peter M. says:

          I think it’s pretty clear from my post who could do this — “activist women at Swarthmore.” Only THEY could organize the campaign I suggested.

          I really don’t see how you could pull from my post the idea that somehow it would require men forcing women to do things or not do things.

          And please understand, I’m not victim-blaming here. Whatever women at Swarthmore do or don’t do in response to sexual assault by fraternity members, every instance of sexual assault is the fault of the perptrator and should be condemned by public opinion, and punished not only by the administration but by the full force of the law.

          ————-

          As to the flyer in question, I still don’t see how Title IX would require action to be taken against it

          Now as you point out, I’m not a student at Swarthmore, neither am I a lawyer nor a stockbroker, so I don’t have access to JSTOR, Lexis-Nexis or a Bloomberg terminal, so yep, I’m going to have to go ahead and quote the dreaded WIKIPEDIA (horrors) —

          “…according to an April 2011 letter issued by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, ‘The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students’ right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime.’

          The controversial letter, known colloquially as the ‘Dear Colleague’ letter, states that it is the responsibility of institutions of higher education ‘to take immediate and effective steps to end sexual harassment and sexual violence.'”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_IX#Applicability_and_compliance

          The flyer (not “poster” — this is important) in question is clearly not sexual violence, and it isn’t sexual harassment either.

          If it HAD been posted up by the fraternity for the Swarthmore public at large to see, an argument COULD be made that it constituted sexual harassment, using the analogy of workplaces where centerfolds of naked women have been posted up for all to see.

          That was not the case here however; the flyer (not poster) was distributed ONLY to a targeted group of men — the “Pledge Class of 2013.” It may very well demonstrate sexual objectification, but I can’t see any court of law finding it to be sexual harassment.

          1. 0
            Correction says:

            That’s completely false by every definition of the law. That’s why harassment online, cyberstalking, and cyberbullying are all illegal. A hostile environment can absolutely be created on the internet.

          2. 0
            Peter M. says:

            @ “Correction” —

            Posting questionable material at a workplace or on a campus can constitute sexual harassment.

            Posting stuff on one’s own Facebook or Instagram account can’t. I’m sorry, no matter how much Millennials live through social media, it just can’t.

            If Swarthmore was teaching classes online through Facebook and required students to interact with each other on their Facebook accounts, you might have an argument.

            It hasn’t come to that yet, has it?

          3. 0
            Peter '15 says:

            Only THEY could organize the campaign I suggested.

            That should speak for itself.
            As for Title IX, here is a better resource. I’m not going to go through this again, but briefly: the bids were publicly displayed, and it actually is irrelevant whether or not they were.

    1. 0
      John Flaherty '14 says:

      The Swarthmore Independent repeatedly publishes the most sensationalized and ignorant garbage on campus. This article and many of the others are filled with un-substantiated claims and inane “conclusions” based on conjecture and bullshit.

      The author of this piece is either ignorant or willfully cruel to take shots against Genderf*uck, the Vagina Monologues, and Masturbatory Theater. The Crunkfest comparison, while less hurtful than the the others, doesn’t hold any water, either.

      The writer wails about unjust punishment for a non-offense, but apparently did not take the time to skim through the Student Handbook (linked in the article) section about sexual harassment. And what draconian measure did the administration make that was so egregious? A chastising message from a dean and an education session. A slap on the wrist. Phi Psi will have this all cleared up by the end of October and we can all move on with our lives.

      1. 0
        wewe says:

        Right, I mean who CARES if the fraternities were unjustly punished for something that so far by no articulated standard counts as a serious moral or legal offense unless you want to punish the entire fucking school for a bevy of mundane things that include thought and speech crimes of every conceivable variety. I think it should be noted how willing you are to compromise some pretty fundamental principles of civics simply because a member of an oppressed group claims that she was *offended*, and how such a claim appears to shut down all faculties of rational thought among an otherwise intelligent group. This is not an isolated incident either, but a trend.

        Never mind that not a single person could dredge up any evidence of the alleged link between watching pornography and actually raping people. If you want to talk about “un-substantiated claims and inane conclusions based on conjecture and bullshit”, this witchhunt against hetero porn is like tarring players of video games because OBVIOUSLY playing violent video games desensitizes one to violence and causes one to treat living human beings as mere tools and objects to be subjected to coercision and violence.

        Never mind that the purveyors of faux-outrage are probably wriggling their bodies to the tune of “skeet skeet mothrefukers” the very next weekend night. This is all so sad, and yet so deliciously funny.

        1. 0
          John Flaherty '14 says:

          “Not an isolated incident, but a trend.”

          You can’t make a claim like that without more than one example. When has the administration clamped on our rights? Or when has the administration rolled over for petty “complaints?” Go ahead, I’ll wait. Meanwhile, can we talk about the TREND of story after story after story about people being harassed or assaulted at the frats or by frat brothers?

          You repeat a line of “evidence” which is not being argued. Nobody is saying that a young man looks at this flier and becomes encouraged to commit rape. Instead, this flier is a yet-another example of a long history of misogyny and objectification in fraternities. This misogyny is also responsible for the rampant rape-culture.

          Nobody is on a pornography witch hunt. Nudity is not this issue (see above paragraph).

          “faux-outrage”… not sure what you mean by that. That people are stirring this up out of boredom? I don’t agree, but you are entitled to think that way. Though if that were the case, commenting is only feeding the troll. Which I now have a sneaking suspicion I’ve been doing for this whole conversation…damn it.

          1. 0
            wewe says:

            Pornography IS the issue, because mainstream pornography is pretty much inherently objectifying, and of course it involves women and nudity, so it is basically exactly what we are talking about here.

            Why the hell would I talk about sexual assault cases in the comments section of an article that is expressly about fraternity members choosing to use images of naked women for a flyer? If you want to go after the frats as an institution that contributes to sexual assault (whether it be through official channels or through the court of public opinion), then go ahead and do it already. I’ve said this so many times and I don’t know why I need to continue repeating myself, but spreading pictures of naked women does not qualify as an action that contributes to sexual assault unless you want to punish the entire school for supporting or having anything to do with any form of media from the outside world, in which case literally everyone is guilty. It is extremely dishonest to try to prosecute the frats for something that patently is not wrong in order to punish them for something that you allege they did that actually is wrong. Unless, of course, you mean to say that by virtue of the alleged fact that fraternities contribute to the occurrence of sexual assault, all individual members of fraternities as well as the fraternities themselves should be held to an entirely different standard of morality and legality than the rest of the student body with respect to what is or is not a misogynistic thought crime. Other people can look at porn and it is okay, but fraternity guys definitely cannot because of the history of their institution. This is basically the only honest, rational stance you could take on this issue at this point, so could you please actually be honest with everyone and come out and say this?

            Saying that it’s deeply inherently misogynistic to look at images of naked women is one of the dumbest, most irrational, most hypocritical things I have ever heard. If someone wrote an article denouncing video game-playing as a depravity that engenders violence and disrespect, and called on young men who are at-risk for committing violence to be forced to stop playing video games, then the person who published such an article without a shred of evidence would likely be ridiculed and mocked by the whole school. And yet here we are debating whether frat brothers are culpable for looking at porn simply because you tacitly designate them an at-risk population for committing sexual assaults in the future. And the complete lack of evidence that pornography-viewing actually contributes to rape culture? That doesn’t stop you at all from just inserting an intermediary step and claiming that pornography contributes to misogyny which in turn contributes to rape culture. So, there really is no having a conversation with you. You will say anything it takes in pursuit of your self-righteous agenda. Increasing support for this kind of belief system is the trend I was referring to above. The faux-outrage, by Marian et al, was not out of boredom, for she was not trolling us, but borne out of an attitude that being loud and histrionic about having been offended by something is the best way to get what you want.

      2. 0
        Swarthmore 20X says:

        “The Crunkfest comparison, while less hurtful than the the others, doesn’t hold any water, either.”

        Why doesn’t it? While Crunkfest might not be an institution in of itself, it shows a much larger institutional failure that persists on College Ave. Crunkfest is more “Swattie Mainstream”, as I will call it therefore it gets a pass in the name of “freedom of expression.” Crunkfest is every bit AND MORE the sexual objectification of individuals than that which was shown in Phi Psi’s flier. Further, Crunkfest is more invasive to the Swarthmore public than this flier. I don’t think it needs to be explained that a circle jerk in the middle or Worth Courtyard is out of this world inappropriate for public display. Just for kicks maybe I should publish the scavenger hunt list I have from 2010 laying around in storage. I’ll show it to a couple media outlets, and let’s see the response. My guess is that the story of Crunkfest would far and away eclipse what we have seen here.

        This flier may be an example of a Phi Psi institutional failure, but Swarthmore institutional failures should not be given a pass here. Until people realize that this is a greater issue not unique to the fraternities, its just another bullshit witch hunt.

        1. 0
          John Flaherty '14 says:

          First of all, I agree that Crunkfest is kinda gross. I stopped by freshman year to see what all the fuss was about and peaced out after like five minutes. I live in Worth this year, so that will be fun /sarcasm.

          But you and the Swat Independent are wrong to compare Crunkfest to the fraternities. They are apples and oranges in every way. What do they even have in common? Nudity in the courtyard and nudity in the fliers, I suppose… but nudity is not the issue, it is objectification/rape culture. I don’t even think Crunkfest could be considered “Swattie Mainstream” – most people regard Crunkfest as that weird/gross thing that happens in the spring, and think nothing more of it. The fraternities, meanwhile, pervade campus life; that’s not inherently a bad thing, but it certainly makes them “mainstream.”

          I do not see any evidence that Crunkfest objectifies people – if you have any please provide it. To be clear, people deciding to take their clothes off or deciding to have sex is NOT objectification – that is expression and personal choice. Furthermore my understanding is that Crunkfest is a very sex-positive and open space, while the frats have a long history of slut-shaming, homophobia, etc.

          Obviously, for most people, grainy images of nude and semi-nude women (strangers) is less shocking than seeing your lab partner masturbate in public. But to compare these issues only at a surface level is too narrow-focused. The MOST IMPORTANT factor at play is the history – the fraternities have a history of misogyny, rape, and rape-apology, which this flier perpetuates. Crunkfest is sexy scavenger hunt.

          And finally, the witch hunt: the fraternities have existed for decades at Swarthmore, have long been condoned by the administration and their transgressions swept under the rug. And now, Swarthmore is finally stepping up to punish wrongdoings. That is no way suggests some sort of agenda against the frats. This is not “heterophobia” as that disgusting, clueless woman was quoted in the Swat Independent article. The College is (albeit belatedly) fulfilling its legal and moral obligations to prevent/punish sexual assault on this campus.

          1. 0
            Swarthmore 20X says:

            This is the photo on the rear of a Crunkfest Scavenger hunt list packet provided to contestants.

            WARNING THIS PICTURE IS GRAPHIC (although admittedly grainy)
            http://imageshack.us/a/img43/5893/4xkf.jpg

            You’ll have to understand why I think there might be more similarities than people are willing to admit. I just find it hard that people can condone one and not condone the other. The issue is larger than the fraternities and to use them as the scapegoats is mindbogglingly ignorant considering such an intellectual population of students.

      1. 0
        wewe says:

        Since you seem to feel strongly on this issue, could you answer my question please: do you support banning all instances of objectifying pornography, or only those pornography involving heterosexual men looking at nude or scantily-clad women, or only those of the latter in which the heterosexual men additionally happen to be frat brothers?

  2. 0
    wewe says:

    I know the frat people are not going to like me saying this, but it’s obvious that the major selling point of frats in general is not just brotherhoood per se, but brotherhood in a sense that exudes masculinity and athleticism in large part to sexually appeal to members of the opposite sex. (If it was merely about comaraderie, I think they would just do communal living spaces instead.) It’s funny that so many of you are missing the point that a central component of being in a fraternity is that it has sex appeal and yes it is about sleeping with attractive women. Now if you think this is some gross moral offense, then that’s bad news for you because much of adult media (and adult psychology even) is predicated on generating sex appeal. Yes you did start watching that new TV show because the guy/girl in it was hot. Yes you did buy the latest designer brand of clothing because the commercials featured attractive men/women that appealed to your tastes. Were these all instances of objectification by your loose standards? Yes, they were. But hey the world continues to revolve around the use and acceptance of sexual objectification. It’s almost like it’s something that everyone does, and it’s almost like the whole campus has no problem with watching sexy people on TV shows and commercials and buying their products, and it’s almost like the whole campus goes to Paces and dances to sexually OBSCENE lyrics that objectify people in much more harmful ways. The thought of a bunch of outraged feminists denouncing this picture of nude women, and then going to pub nite to dance to the lyrics of Lil John’s “Get Low” is ridiculously funny to me right now.

    I mean what does objectification even mean to you? It’s so shallow to say that just because people look at pictures that emphasize female bodies that that means the viewers of the pictures are unable to see women as human beings, or are trying to remove agency from women in general. Sometimes I like looking at collages of cute children, does this mean I don’t wish to view children as real people, as people with feelings and personalities and agency as I have? No, it’s just that there’s something about them that I wish to focus on for a brief period of time in a casual way. I don’t think this is inherently wrong and I don’t think this is inherently bad. Most of all I don’t think it can be avoided. Now if you want to say this situation is uniquely bad because of the particular group being objectified, women, and you say that the link between pictures of naked women and rape culture is so obvious, then surely it would be easy for you to produce evidence that a link between porn in general and rape culture is clear and obvious as well. I don’t believe the case is clear at all, so good luck doing that. And even if it was clear, you would have to justify why there is so much outrage at this singular event and not all the other instances of porn-viewing that I’m assuming goes on on campus.

    1. 0
      Alum says:

      You are right, frats are mainly about attracting pretty girls to get drunk and sleep with. Without that aspect they could just do communal living. So frats are necessary for Swarthmore why again?

      1. 0
        wewe says:

        Sure, get rid of the frats, I couldn’t care less. What I do care about is consistency, so if you ban the frats because they objectify women, then you should also ban pornography, television, internet, radio, and advertisements and consumer brands. This isn’t even a slippery slope because all of the above forms of media contain plenty of worse cases of objectification than the case currently being discussed. And if you ban the frats because they are frivolous and don’t serve a strictly academic purpose, then by all means ban parties and drinking too. Please don’t tell me that you’re one of those people who throws a hissy fit at the fact that frat guys like to look at nude women, and then proceeds to dance to a rap song (at a frat party, no less) about the body parts of nude women. Oh gosh who am I kidding, you probably are.

  3. 0
    Wait says:

    Also why are we assuming that the Frat brothers are heterosexual? Aren’t their sexual identity and preferences private matters? Why are we assuming so many things? Who says that they are sexually attracted to these photos. That is a huge assumption. There are so many problematic assumptions being made by people criticizing the flyer, I think.

    1. 0
      Strunk says:

      Your questions are valid but those are questions that should be asked to the people who MADE the flyer, not the people who are criticizing them. Why did they put women on the flyer? Because they assumed the frat brothers would be attracted to them. It seems like you think that assumption is problematic; you should talk to Psi Phi about it.

    2. 0
      Peter '15 says:

      I’m confused as to how those of us criticizing the bids come across as assuming frat brothers are all heterosexual… we’ve literally been putting posters up criticizing the bids as heteronormative.

  4. 0
    Alum with wisdom says:

    Why is ok for sager to host a panel on lube and anal Sex or the grostesque chalkings during coming out week ? For those of you at home, sager weekend has had the highest number sexual assaults year over year compared to other events- but I bet your new over paid dean of diversity inclusion won’t tell you that

    In case you haven’t learned by now things at Swarthmore are only offensive when perpetrated by white straight males.

    So glad I’m done with the PC police

    1. 0
      (really recent) alum says:

      Okay I don’t know when you graduated, but there have been a lot of measures put in place to make the Genderfuck weekend safer. It’s no longer associated with the original “Sager.” It’s held in Sharples rather than the frat area where there’s a lot of dark corners and it’s really easy to lose track of your friends between individual building party spaces. In the past few years, there have been huge numbers of student volunteers, either through groups (women’s rugby has repeatedly stepped up, but I know other groups have too) or as individuals, to act as sober guides to get students back to the dorms, party associates to make sure that everyone at the party is doing okay. I don’t know if we can say for sure that the number of assaults has gone down, but I can say, having attended on both sides of the transition, that the feeling of the party has changed greatly (for the better) since all of these plans were put into effect.

      That’s not the issue here, and I think you know that.

  5. 0
    Sorority Girl says:

    Firke, I am uncertain why an inappropriate flyer prompts the need to allow women into fraternities? There is no correlation between the action and the “punishment” you want to inflict upon a national organization. Let the fraternities, be fraternities. You have a sorority on campus (that probably doesn’t want you any more than the fraternities do.) However, you did at least have an opportunity to join a Greek organization before you decided to ban Greek life entirely, unless you get your way. Since they don’t want you, you’ve decided that no one gets to participate? You will be lucky to find a job, when word gets out about your controversial nature. Good luck to you, your new name is “too hard to get along with others.” PS. You are quoted above as saying “Such a strong response”. . . I don’t think 100 signatures of 1500 in your student body is such a strong response. I think that means that 1400 kids on your campus think this is a ridiculous request that they can’t be bothered with. From a proud NON- Swat Sorority Woman, Married to an Awesome NON-Swat Fraternity Guy

    1. 0
      Wrong. says:

      While I really shouldn’t respond to your incredibly stupid comment, I want to point out that Phi Psi is not nationally affiliated here. Read: you actually don’t know anything about this situation and have decided to put your opinion in regardless.

  6. 0
    Sorority Girl says:

    Firke, I am uncertain why an inappropriate flyer prompts the need to allow women into fraternities? There is no correlation between the action and the “punishment” you want to inflict upon a national organization. Let the fraternities, be fraternities. You have a sorority on campus (that probably doesn’t want you any more than the fraternities do.) However, you did at least have an opportunity to join a Greek organization before you decided to ban Greek life entirely unless you get your way. Since they don’t want you, you’ve decided that no one gets to participate? You will be lucky to find a job, when word gets out about your controversial nature. Good luck to you, as your new name is “too hard to get along with others.” PS. You are quoted above as saying “Such a strong response”. . . I don’t think 100 signatures of 1500 in your student body is such a strong response. I think that means that 1400 kids on your campus think this is a ridiculous request that they can’t be bothered with. From a proud NON- Swat Sorority Woman, Married to an Awesome NON-Swat Fraternity Guy

    1. 0
      John Flaherty '14 says:

      You know what I’m really fucking tired of reading on DG comment threads?

      Every time there is an article on a controversial topic, there is always a bunch of people who feel the need to describe how the subjects of the article are completely unemployable.

      That has absolutely no relevance to this conversation. Even if Marian’s future job prospects are impacted by this event (which they probably aren’t) and even if that impact is negative (which they probably aren’t), why the hell does that matter to you, Sorority Girl?

      It’s patently obvious that you have nothing constructive to add to the conversation, so you are reduced to personal attacks against a college student. Nicely done.

    2. 0
      ... says:

      From a proud Swat NON- Sorority Woman to a proud NON- Swat Sorority Woman, it might be a good idea to understand the contexts and histories of the issues you’re talking about before talking about them.

  7. 0
    Report says:

    Last night, Pub Night featured music that promoted sexual violence and the objectification of women. The song was Get Low by Lil John. This is unacceptable and someone must be held acceptable. This was an act of institutionalized marginalization and as a punishment, the senior class should have their senior weeks taken away. After the wake of what just happen with the Phi Psi bids, I am appalled that something like this could happen again. Has no one learned their lesson?

  8. 0
    Confusion ('11) says:

    Ok, I want to clear something up, quickly. I am slightly confused. I understand that Marian Finke spread the pledge bid around campus. HOWEVER, I am wondering whether the pledge bid was ORIGINALLY a public flyer before Marian’s posting of it, or whether it was originally a private distribution. I just want the full story.

    1. 0
      Marian '14 says:

      I just want to clarify factually that I’m not the only person working on this and that the bids haven’t come to light because I individually “spread them around campus.” The petition was developed with a group of individuals (2 other swatties + input from someone who visits frequently), and the posters were likewise developed and posted by a (larger) group of individuals.

      I have had almost no involvement with spreading the posters themselves; every poster that I put up was taken down by 9:45 AM Monday morning, so if you’ve seen one since then I was not the person who posted that. Because people who spoke out last spring (on both sides!) were faced with a lot of vitriol, others in the group were uncomfortable with having their names so publicly attached to the efforts to publicize the actions of the fraternity. I would hope that any of you who have seen the comments directed at me on the recent Total Frat Move article can understand why people might be wary of having their name out there in the public sphere.

      As to your original question:
      The bids were not originally public flyers, but they became public to campus when a pledge posted an instagram pic of his bid online. While the bids have been used for many years, they have not been common knowledge for large portions of campus. (For instance, one of my very closest friends throughout my time at Swat was a Phi Psi brother, and I had never seen his.) The posting of the photograph online was what actually the main event that made the bids “public” in a way that they had not been previously.

        1. 0
          Peter '15 says:

          Also… could you please elaborate on what you mean by “let females go through pledging”? What exactly does pledging involve that makes it an ordeal, and how is acceptable?

        2. 0
          Peter '15 says:

          Bro, maybe you should stop and think about why no women would want to be in Phi Psi. Maybe the fact that women wouldn’t want to be in Phi Psi says something about the environment there?

        3. 0
          Petition Question says:

          Casual misogyny aside, Kyle raises a good point about the petition.

          If SBC accepts and Phi Psi decides to play ball to get their funding back, how in the world are they going to attract women to join?

          Why would a woman want to join this fucked up rapist club? She would not be welcome there, and would only be allowed in because the bros know they have to. Kinda like in “She’s the Man.” Anyway that would certainly not be safe situation.

    2. 0
      Correction says:

      It was a private bid letter given only to new brothers. One of these new brothers posted it on Instagram/Facebook and someone found it and started redistributing it.

      It was never meant for public eyes.
      This is similar (IMHO) to sending your friend a clip of porn. Sure porn objectifies women but what can you really do.

      1. 0
        alum says:

        are you fucking serious? just because it’s private and not meant to be for the public, the flyer is socially and morally acceptable?

        uh…just because domestic violence is “private” doesnt mean that it’s morally acceptable

        just because sexual assault is “private” doesnt mean that it’s ok.

        get off what you’re smoking because your values are messed up and not at all what Swarthmore should represent.

        1. 0
          Agressive says:

          Yes, because clearly all three of these things are exactly the same. Swearing and assumption of drug use doesn’t make your response more effective.

        2. 0
          wewe says:

          So what you’re saying is that internally distributed heterosexual porn is an egregious moral offense that merits institutional regulation like rape or domestic violence do.

          Is this what you’re actually trying to say? To be clear, are you saying we should ban all porn from campus, or just heterosexual porn? What about dirty thoughts? Should we ban those too? Is thinking about a girl in a dirty way without her “consent” tantamount to violence or rape also?

          1. 0
            wewe says:

            @ Peter

            I put quotes around the word ‘consent’ because I was using it in a semi-sarcastic manner in a novel context in which it is not at all clear what the applied term would even mean.

            I know your first instinct always is outrage-mongering, but next time at least try to get a clarification first.

          2. 0
            wewe says:

            @alum

            First, I am not affiliated with the frats in any way.

            You miss the point. I’m pretty sure that “Correction” was mentioning the private nature of the posters in order to underline the fact that they were privately circulated for internal viewership and hence they were directly harming no one. Thus they are crucially dissimilar to cases of rape and domestic violence, in which someone else’s rights and bodily integrity are directly being infringed upon. If you agree with the administration’s involvement in prohibiting the private viewership or dissemination of lewd or “objectifying” material, then what you have taken issue with is more akin to a speech crime than it is to actual rape or sexual assault. This alone is disturbing to me, but what is also disturbing is that you still haven’t addressed the following question: do you support banning all instances of objectifying pornography, or only those pornography involving heterosexual men looking at nude or scantily-clad women, or only those of the latter in which the heterosexual men additionally happen to be frat brothers?

          3. 0
            Legal says:

            Alum: Your condescending tone in these responses may give you some small amount of satisfaction,but you clearly don’t have an understanding of several things.

            You clearly do not understand the law as it relates to free speech. Swarthmore has made legally an morally binding promises of free speech.The images in question are protected expression, free speech. It doesn’t matter, in a free speech context, that some administrator or even the majority of the campus thinks that such images violate university “values.” There is no “harassment” exception to free speech.

            You also clearly do not understand that should Phi Psi seek legal counsel the Administration would realize very quickly the danger they are in legally by proceeding with any sanctions.

          4. 0
            Weee slip slip slip slip down the slippery slope we go says:

            No porn? HA. CASTRATE ALL MEN. IMPLEMENT TOTALITARIAN REGIME. START THE MIND CONTROL. NO SEXUAL THOUGHTS.

            NO THOUGHTS AT ALL.

            REPARATIONS ARE DUE.

            Feminism doesn’t go far enough.

          5. 0
            alum says:

            You clearly don’t have an understanding of logic. Let me educate you.

            My argument to the previous post: “Just because actions are private, DOES NOT make it morally or socially acceptable.”

            Your interpretation of my argument: “Everything that is private is morally or socially UNACCEPTABLE.”

            Private actions may or may not be morally or socially acceptable just as public actions may or may not be morally or socially acceptable.

            And there are various moral codes that you can apply to determine what is and what is not morally or socially acceptable.

            Unfortunately, our highly-esteemed Phi Psi fraternity espouses a moral code of the objectification of women and idiocy.

            (just seriously guys, stop stabbing yourself in the foot. I don’t see a bright future for Phi Psi.)

    3. 0
      John Flaherty '14 says:

      Based on a similar article in the Phoenix, it seems that one of the students receiving the bid showed it other people. I’ve heard differing reports about whether that student was upset by the image, but regardless some of his friends were. It was posted on facebook and the whole thing blew up when the Phoenix picked it up earlier this week.

    4. 0
      The More You Know says:

      Private distribution, then a moron publicly distributed it via a picture on his Facebook. Then a bunch of people got really upset, and publicly distributed it around campus with added tags condemning the startling 8.5″x11″ piece of paper.

    5. 0
      Allison '16 ( User Karma: 6 ) says:

      Confused ’11 –

      Marian and some other students distributed the bid to campus after I posted in on my facebook wall. The bids were distributed to pledges, but I reposted the photo after a pledge posted a photo of his bid to his Facebook and Instagram, which are pretty public venues.

    6. 0
      Confusion ('11) says:

      For the record, I’m not looking for thumbs up, thumbs down… In fact, I find the thumbs silly for most topics. I REALLY just want the details, out of genuine curiosity and concern.

  9. 0
    Watching from afar says:

    Does anyone else find it laughable that everyone has their panties in a twist over the potential for the administration to “overreach” in response to sexual harassment? Like, the problem at Swarthmore is not that hordes of angry feminists are disappearing frat brothers from campus or that too many men are being punished for sexual crimes or harassment. The problem at Swarthmore is that far too many students (male and female) are raped and sexually assaulted each year and the administration, historically, has done NOTHING (or worse). Swarthmore has a sexually violent side, at minimum a facet that facilitates the sexual objectification of women, and the rush to defend these fliers is unfortunately a symptom of that. Y’all need to get your priorities in order.

  10. 0
    Wait says:

    Wait, can we please stop assuming that the individuals in the mosaic identify as womyn.

    Just because they are female bodied does not mean they identify as womyn. I would appreciate it if the editors went back through and changed that. The trans phobia is rampant throughout this article. Thanks!

    Also why is the word ‘womyn’ underlined in red. This is ridiculous!

    1. 0
      Shutup says:

      Stop just stop. It’s not a real word that’s why.

      And they are phenotypically women so end of story. Whether or not they have a psychological disorder is irrelevant.

  11. 0
    JP says:

    To the person who advised critics of the sexist poster to ‘step outside the Swat Bubble’: no-one outside of Swat can start to fathom how an institution with this reputation even HAS fraternities. And yes, the poster clearly demolishes the elitist argument that frats at Swat are so much better than frats everywhere else.

  12. 0
    Swat community member says:

    Thank you Dean of students Liz Braun for condemning in the strongest possible terms the inappropriate Phi Psi pledge poster. So what are the strongest possible terms? what exactly does that mean? Is this verbal outrage to show the national reading audience that the Swarthmore administration is taking some action? “Training and other measures” at least is something. Right? right. But what exactly? Why won’t the administration speak out about these measures? Having this dirty laundry displayed nationally is not good for Swarthmore’s reputation, it may negatively impact donations, it may drop Swarthmore’s rating, it may influence companies to look elsewhere for employees, some high school graduates may choose to attend another college or university, it is divisive for the student body, it is hurtful and disrespectful to the students who have been harmed by frat members. It may cause stress for members of student communities who have been targeted in a harmful way by the fraternity. It shows that at least some, if not all, Phi Psi members have not learned from past mistakes and it reminds readers, on a national level, that Swarthmore College has not handled its problems! So please, Swarthmore administration, write a letter to the Swarthmore community and tell us exactly how Swarthmore College condemns the fraternity’s continued inappropriate behavior. Be the leaders that you want students to become and Make us proud to be part of a first rate institution!

  13. 0
    question says:

    “Firke is one of a number of students who have replicated the snapshot and spread it both in campus buildings and online since it was first posted to Facebook Sunday night.”

    I thought when I read this that Ms. Firke was the one who distributed the poster for the fraternity. If she thought it was so objectionable, why did she replicate it and spread it all around campus?

    Doesn’t that make her just as culpable as the fraternity for whatever it is they are being punished for, if it is in fact for distributing this poster with women’s pictures on it?

    1. 0
      John Flaherty '14 says:

      It definitely doesn’t make her culpable. She drew awareness to a problem of misogyny that already existed. She was spreading the word to the Swarthmore community so this wouldn’t slip through the cracks.

      While I suppose it’s plausible that somebody could have been affected by the poster who otherwise would have never seen/heard of the image on the bid, it seems to me to make a lot more sense to call Phi Psi out on this in a public fashion so they are forced to respond and fix the problem.

  14. 0
    alum says:

    Seriously, where was reason, where was thought, where was intelligence when this poster was made? Given the debate and discussions and the pain of last year, what have the students of this fraternity learned, especially about the OBJECTIFICATION of women, of people, of humans?

    Anything valuable? About themselves? About society? About life and roles? About a sense of morality? About right and wrong? About what it means to be human? About that people are MORE than just a sum of body parts?

    With a shovel of ignorance and idiocy, Phi Psi is digging its own grave.

    As an alum, I am gravely disappointed.

    Swatties and Swarthmore can be, should be, and MUST be better than this.

    Kudos to the administration for swift disciplinary action. It’s better they grow up now than later.

  15. 0
    Allison '16 ( User Karma: 6 ) says:

    Two Phi Psi brothers were expelled this summer for sexual assault, and they are not the only perpetrators in the fraternity.

    Last year Phi Psi brothers used (Like) Like a Little to harass a queer student.

    A queer man was beaten in Phi Psi while being called a “faggot”.

    But, hey, let’s talk about crazy these feminists are!

  16. 0
    John says:

    The point is that pictures of naked people are fine but if you get lots of pictures and put them in a collage to create mental pictures, you have committed an egregious sexual sin, objectification, which happens when an act of free speech could possibly be interpreted as treating people like objects. So the frat poster clearly objectifies women because folks can possibly interpret that as saying that all women are only sexual objects. The key to finding out if something objectifies women is to ask yourself, “Could this POSSIBLY be interpreted by ANYONE as a manifesto declaring that women are sexual objects?” If the answer is yes, then that objectifies women. It’s pretty simple, really.

    1. 0
      Amused Alum says:

      Bzzz. Wrong.

      Is the nudity in question there for any purpose other than “hurrdurr look at the boobies”?

      Are the women in the pictures reduced only to sexual images?

      If “no” on Q1 and “yes” on Q2, you just might be a misogynist!

      This is such an incredibly simple concept. I know you’re smarter than this. Come on now.

  17. 0
    quad says:

    Jeez, people, get a grip on reality. When I read about the nudity week going on at Brown, and yet the femi’s are getting themselves all worked up over a poster? Puleeeze! Hate to break it to you femi’s but, yes, guys do objectify woman’s bodies. It’s called “instinct”, it’s how we mate and procreate. Or did you all not learn this in what, grade school now? No objectification, no interest…no mating..no love, fun, or babies. And the same for women objectifying a mans body. Same for gays, and the rest of the gang.Oh, and I absolutely love this title!! “Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development”. I’m sorry, it means well, and is all the rage in this society, but just seems like something from a bad sci fy show or something. Like 1984…

    1. 0
      Strunk says:

      You seem to be confused about the definition of the word “objectify”. “Objectify” is a verb meaning “to degrade to the status of a mere object.” I don’t know about you, but when I want to have sex, I generally would prefer to have it with a person, not an object (though an object will often do in a pinch).

    2. 0
      Love you Too! says:

      We appreciate the time and effort you put into your post. Clearly you have wide-ranging well-researched opinions.

      Excellent point about instinct. We’re all basically animals, anyway, so we should just give into it already and quit pretending that we are capable of anything higher. That is why I, as a straight male, have a harem of women to bear my children. They take care of the little ones while I hunt down wild animals.

      Oh and I especially love the cute nickname for feminists – “feminazis” was sort of a mouthful anyway.

      And an interesting insight to Nineteen Eighty-Four. Since Orwell wrote about the dangers of totalitarianism, the novel seems at first glance to not have much in common your comparison to treating people of all backgrounds fairly. Which is that that position is for. But hey, you’re the literary expert.

    3. 0
      no u says:

      I can’t speak for all the “gays,” but I don’t have to objectify people to find them sexy. I’m sorry to hear that is how it works being a hetero. I didn’t realize you guys had to oppress each other to mate, that’s harsh. I’m sorry your behaviors are entirely ruled by “instincts” — I had always assumed things like morals or civilization or rational thought were larger guiding forces, but apparently as a gay I’m ignorant.

      What’re you so scared of, misogynistic homophobe?

    4. 0
      a says:

      Jesus Christ please take a psych class, literally any psych class, read anything talking about psychology made later than 1977 and not on animal planet I beg of you.

  18. 0
    Amused Alum says:

    Y’all in this comment thread, are, for the most part, disappointingly ignorant. There is clearly a difference between nudity as self-motivated form of expression (i.e. plays that contain nudity), and a poster that literally uses sexualized parts of women’s bodies to create an advertisement for a men’s group. I know y’all know that. Being willfully obtuse is not cute on anyone.

    Gosh, Swatties, I expected better from you.

      1. 0
        Amused Alum says:

        Not-so-subtle racism!! How quaint!

        I’m white, btw, sorry if that alters the premise of your intellectually stimulating and well-reasoned rebuttal to my post.

      2. 0
        Strunk says:

        “Y’all” is an excellent word and there is no reason whatsoever to mock its use, except possibly classism and/or racism.

        Yep, that’s my contribution to this conversation. Strunk out.

  19. 0
    D*mn, I feel like a woman! says:

    Let’s stick it to these gluttons! Calling all Theta sissies; let’s have our templates be glam shots of the lacrosse team goating the camera! That’ll show ’em!

    Except for Ian L.

  20. 0
    Peter M. says:

    That is one professor’s definition of sexual objectification. But it seems that Swarthmore’s written policies (see above) at most condemn sexual assault or harassment, not objectification.

    I can accept that the pledge poster was an expression of objectification, that it was in bad taste, and that you have every right to condemn it in the court of public opinion.

    But what right does the administration currently have to punish sexual objectification? By what rule? By what standard? That’s the question here.

  21. 0
    Peter M. says:

    The question yet unanswered, and I suspect unanswerable, is by what rule or by what standard has punishment been meted out?

    This looks a little ridiculous as it stands. This is “revolutionary justice” outside the confines of the concept of law as we understand it; revolutionary justice against perceived class enemies.

    I wonder what would happen if, say, a small collective of art students who happened to be male wanted to put on an exhibition of figure studies of the female form. Would that be punished as well? It very well might be at Swarthmore today.

    The weather’s turning cold again which reminds us that last year’s winter was declared a “winter of discontent” by Pres. Chopp. Will every winter be one? To mangle a metaphor, as long as Swarthmore and places like it remain hothouses of academic left-wing theory, it’s discontent as far as the eye can see.

    I went to a similar place some twenty years ago, and it’s all so familiar. There and then, the drama centered more around racial politics than around sex-and-gender, but little has changed.

    Swarthmore students strike me in general to be, on average, relative paragons of intelligence, sincerity, studiousness, reasonableness, tolerance, and even decorum.

    Clearly, though, there’s something wrong with the best and the brightest classes in this country when their formative four years at college are filled with incidents of “revolutionary justice”, brave new etiquette that requires people not merely to respect others’ choices of personal pronouns but to inquire pre-emptively as to that choice, and campus police blotters inundated with charges of sexual assault that allegedly occurred years ago conducted by unknown perpetrators who have long since graduated.

    1. 0
      Again says:

      Title IX requires colleges to deal with this. There is a precedent, and in fact it is a law.

      Honestly, why is it that men think they can declare something not misogynistic? I am a man, and I have the decency to understand that things that don’t hurt me personally can hurt other people.

      I hear a lot of name calling, and some nice scare quotes around “revolutionary justice” — which isn’t a term I’ve heard anyone using here, by the way, so stop acting like it’s what we are calling this. That’s dishonest.

      And oh, I’m sorry that when you spend your spare time reading through our campus’ blotter for fun, you have to hear people whining about being assaulted. They really should stop shoving their survivor privilege in your face.

      Grow up. You’re not doing anyone any favors by shoving your opinion into this discussion. You aren’t a student here. As far as I can tell, you never have been. Don’t pretend to understand the experiences of people you haven’t even talked to. Go back to hating on the people who, in a “similar place some twenty years ago” dared to talk about race. At least that bigotry has some relevance to your own life.

      1. 0
        Peter M. says:

        To clarify, I wasn’t implying at all that supporters of the discipline in question were calling this “revolutionary justice.” — that was a reference to revolutionary tribunals which meted out punishments without reference to any written laws, such as in Maoist China during the Cultural Revolution.

        As to the Swatter, all I find curious is the great number of reports of sexual assault/harassment coming in since last spring of incidents which allegedly occurred YEARS ago, even not uncommonly 3rd-party hearsay reports of incidents which happened years ago. It’s only natural to suspect that there may be some kind of effort ongoing to up the statistics for tactical purposes.

        I must admit I’m a little surprised at your personal vitriol, which makes it far from obvious who has most of the growing up to do.

        1. 0
          Again says:

          Well, now that makes sense. Comparing feminists to Maoists — that’s basically fair. This is essentially the same thing.
          Implying that survivors are faking it for “tactical purposes” — that’s also totally reasonable.
          Excuse my being angry at your attempt to silence people in a community you aren’t even a part of.

    2. 0
      Swat community member says:

      Peter M, thank you for sharing your stroll down memory lane. It is enlightening to hear that some twenty years ago “the drama centered more around racial politics” than it does now. Maybe the “best and brightest classes” have made progress with that so now we have moved forward, apparently leaving you behind with your small minded, insensitive, and inappropriate thoughts concerning sex and gender.

      1. 0
        Peter M. says:

        Careful, you’re treading very close to Right Deviationism when you speculate that progress has been made in racial politics so that now “we have moved forward.”

        The reason my campus experience was more dominated by racial rather than sexual politics was simply because at that time on my campus, it was the leaders of the key African-American protest group who were the most energetic organizers and the best speakers in the activist community. Perhaps at Swarthmore today it is the feminist leaders who shine. It probably also helps that, no matter how socio-economically privileged a study body is, on questions of sexual politics, at least half of the students count as the members of the oppressed class.

  22. 0
    Sad sad people says:

    The people who are leading this “righteous” charge against Greek life should hop off their holier-than-thou pedestals and reevaluate their own lives. You are a sad sad bunch. I look forward to the day when you try to step outside the Swat bubble and your idealistic world comes tumbling down. You get too much enjoyment from merely attacking a group on campus who, from what I can tell, couldn’t care less about you.

    Good luck. I wish you the worst.

  23. 0
    Sara '12 says:

    I suppose I shouldn’t be so shocked that so many commenters don’t understand the difference between things like art, reporting, and self-expression and such a clear case of objectification where it totally doesn’t matter that these women are, you know, people, where they’re just naked, dehumanized, ~sexy~ building blocks.

    Stop propping up your knee-jerk whining with a false slippery slope.

  24. 0
    Correction says:

    And when Halloween and Genderf*ck rolls around I’m just going to stop all the half naked ladies roaming around Sharples because according to swat fems that is clear misogyny and sexism on display. As if these half naked Swatties or half naked models and actresses didn’t chose themselves to parade around half naked….. It’s only right.

    1. 0
      Strunk says:

      Yes. For one, it would no longer be a statement about the fraternity’s attitude towards women, but also half-naked men make most things better.

  25. 0
    K says:

    What standard is Dean Braun/Swarthmore using to punish this fraternity? Is it a standard that nudity is a violation? If so, plays with nudity must also result in punishment. Is it a standard that vulgarity is punishable? Then The Phoenix must be closed down as many of their articles have been vulgar. If the standard is the one broadly drawn by the DOJ/OCR Montana letter this past spring and referenced by Alum above, then Genderf**k must no longer take place as that could promote a discriminatory/hostile environment in some students minds. I could go on….Possibly Dean Braun/the College has a standard that they are enforcing but have yet to articulate it. Can the DG please ask them to articulate this standard?

    1. 0
      A whole herd says:

      I think the bigger elephant is that everyone is ignoring the comments on this article, which a lot of people have seen by now:

      http://totalfratmove.com/phi-psi-chapter-hands-out-bids-featuring-nude-girls-offends-clothed-girls/

      Here are just a couple of the comments, so that you don’t have to give TFM more page views:

      “Marian Firke deserves to be face raped so hard that she will be incapable of spewing any more of this bullshit.”

      “Somebody needs to send their pledges over to fuck the bitch out of Marian Firke”

  26. 0
    Parry says:

    I wonder if people would have cared or responded at all if the sorority had distributed a similar mosaic of half-naked men in semi-sexual poses.

    My guess is probably not at all.

    Further, is the issue here the sexuality of the images, or the fact that they were entirely of women? How would things have been different if the frat had included pictures of naked and half-naked men in addition to the women, or if the women in the pictures were neither naked nor posing suggestively.

    This whole controversy seems incredibly arbitrary to me. Wouldn’t our attentions be better spent doing other things, like posting angry replies to DG comments like this one?

    1. 0
      Strunk says:

      BREAKING NEWS: Sexism affects men and women differently so something that’s sexist against women is not necessarily sexist against men! whoah mind blown

    2. 0
      John Flaherty '14 says:

      You’re kinda missing the point – this is all about context. There are a ton of great posts on here that can make this point better than I can, but I’ll try:

      Phi Psi is a group for men only, and historically male-only groups like fraternities have used and controlled women and their bodies. This bid is the latest in a long line of misogynistic expressions used by men to assert their dominance in our society – and such assertions of dominance have led to everything from hurt feelings to depression to rape to murder of women. And that’s really not OK.

      Regardless of the specific, particular impact of this poster, it exists in and contributes to the continuing marginalization of women. This is also why a poster of nude men on a sorority bid would not have the same impact – the history is not there to back it up.

    1. 0
      Missing the point... says:

      I didn’t call her a ‘b****’! I only told her she was a ‘b-word’!

      The point isn’t how naked the women are (and they are naked), or how well you can see them. The point is that this collage shows that that Phi Psi objectivizes women, and it isn’t just a few bad apples. Rather, this is institutionalized sexism that has been going on for years. The fact that this has been hidden until now is extra concerning, because it shows that Phi Psi members on some level must know that the campus would disapprove of this behavior, and they respond not by stopping the behavior but by concealing it.
      Furthermore, how Phi Psi has responded is troubling. They did not offer an apology until it became clear that they couldn’t hide this by ripping down our posters any more (not that they have stopped tearing down our posters). Furthermore, Phi Psi has not condemned in anyway, the disgusting, violent, and hateful comments on Total Frat Move. As far as I know, TFM has no regular readership on our campus. Nonetheless, it behooves Phi Psi to take a stand and show that it is different from other fraternities by defending people from the hateful comments on TFM.

      1. 0
        Ferb says:

        I for one am a little puzzled as to why this semester is the first time the bids have become a point of contention. Contrary to what Missing the point… is suggesting, I don’t think Phi Psi has taken steps to conceal the bids since in past years I’ve definitely seen them tacked to people’s doors in full view of the public.
        I’m curious about what sort of apology Missing the point… would have preferred. It seems to me that Phi Psi drafted a formal apology in which they took responsibility for their actions and did not try to deflect blame away from themselves and published it in the most widely-read student publication where it would reach the largest possible audience.

        1. 0
          ... says:

          But they only published this apology because they had to; their misogyny was exposed and this was basically just their PR response. The only reason they published their response in the Phoenix is because they knew there would be negative publicity about them in the same issue. The apology was damage control, and no response makes this okay. Had Phi Psi, out of the blue, brought up this issue and apologized for it, maybe I’d respect the apology. But they didn’t and I don’t.

          I want to add they are trying to hide their behavior; they keep tearing down our posters and issued no apology before our poster campaign–even though we had made clear this was no okay.

        2. 0
          alum '12 says:

          YES THANK YOU THIS IS THE ENTIRE THING. EVERYONE SHOULD READ WHAT FERB SAID.
          Phi Psi has not changed its practices, which is a bad thing because their institutionalized sexism has gone unchecked even after next year.
          BUT, it is interesting that those people who hate fraternities are only noticing now.

  27. 0
    Huzilla says:

    Clearly, this flyer was made in poor taste. That being said, how can one face “disciplinary action” without breaking a rule? Even if one was to agree that this is sexism, sexism isn’t against the rules, is it?

    To be clear, I am not advocating that the flyer is not problematic. I am questioning what role the “administration” should have in monitoring the way a club communicates with its members. To me, asking for SBC to defund the frats, or the administration to host “sensitivity talks” is like an elementary school kid tattleing to his teacher when a classmate won’t share. If what a student group does is shameful, let us (as a Swarthmore community) shame them.

    If you disagree, please respond. I know that there are others who disagree with this point of view and I’d like to hear you out. Sure, the flyer is dumb. But what rule did it break?

    1. 0
      Huzilla says:

      I would like to thank those who have responded to my initial comments in the past week. I think that many members of the community have raised many good points that I had not considered and I’d like to thank them for respectfully disagreeing and continuing this dialogue.

      Recently, a letter from the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education was brought to my attention from a fellow alum. I would like to share it here because it raises many of the same questions I asked in a more eloquent manner. Many members of the community have said that the flyers are an example of sexual harassment. This letter brings forward the school’s official policy on free speech in regards to harassment from the student hand book.

      http://www.pdf.investintech.com/preview/acf6e288-36bc-11e3-8163-003048d80846/index.html

      From the student handbook: “[B]efore any expression can be considered for possible formal grievance procedures, it must be clear that no substantial free expression interests are threatened by bringing a formal charge of harassing expression. This strict criterion for possible formal grievance procedures must be imposed to ensure that the College does nothing that would tend to diminish free expression or compromise principles of academic freedom in the vigorous and often contentious examination and criticism of ideas, works of art, and political activity that marks Swarthmore College”

      I think it’s fair that nobody considers the flyer “principle of academic freedom” or contentious examination.. of ideas”. But banning naked pictures seems to clearly diminish free expression. If the school is doing so because it is sexual harassment, isn’t it better to make it clear that they are doing so? Why not make it clear to the entire community that this is sexual harassment, if it is and explain exactly why the administration believes it to be so?

      TL;DR Offending someone is not enough to constitute sexual harassment. Examples of other sexually offensive language was given. If the pictures are sexual harassment, I think the administration needs to let the entire community know why.

      I welcome disagreeing comments. Thank you.

      1. 0
        Huzilla says:

        I’d like to add that Dean Braun was quoted as saying “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the fraternity’s use of totally inappropriate imagery, and it will stop now.”

        To me, this makes the administration’s reaction to this seem like the view this picture as a matter of decency rather than harassment.

    2. 0
      Rules, regulations, and accountability says:

      Part A: The “rules”

      Talking about the “rules” is not the way to address sexism and discrimination. As the institutions that order our lives and hold the authority to address instances of inequality and discrimination, the institutions that we are a part of are undoubtedly important.

      But we must also recognize that our institutions and rules do not exist outside the realm of human operation, formed in a void of objective “truth” and “right”; our institutions are the product of the society from which they arise. As such, they are inescapably human in their elements. Sexism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, classism: all of these are as much embedded in our institutions as they are embedded in our society. Critiquing and addressing the “right” and “wrong” of our institutions and our “rules” is as much a part of the process of creating an open community as critiquing the products (i.e. the Phi Psi bid) of discriminatory discourses and practices.

      The rules as they exist are a product of the operation of power, including the operation of sexist, heteronormative, cisnormative, racist, etc. deployments of power. If the Phi Psi didn’t break a “rule,” that’s a failure of the rules.

      Part B: Discipline and accountability

      If the administration does not hold Phi Psi accountable for discriminatory and sexist acts, who will? By the nature of the type of authority we trust as legitimate within our culture, the highest level of authority within our community lies within the institution of the administration.

      Shaming the fraternities may cause one or two members to stop and think, but it will not bring about the type of institutional change that will help members of our community understand and respect each other. Shame will not stop those who violate others’ sense of self with their own ignorance; education, discussion, and diversity training will. The administration has the authority and responsibility to create a safe environment for those discussions and mitigate the difference in power between the victimizers and the victims.

      (And yes, I realize the power of using the words “victimizers” and “victims”; the images were violent and violating in that they objectify women’s bodies for the consumption of heteronormative culture.)

      We need higher accountability that will ensure that students on this campus are safe, that those who are victims of this type of action are not the ones who have to shoulder the responsibility of teaching their victimizers. Ensuring everyone is safe and heard—and not just people who are of a certain sex or gender or color—should be the goal of the administration of this institution.

      Will we ever reach a point where such a utopic place exists? Probably not. Is the outside world worse? Yes. Should that stop us from trying to understand each other and build a stronger, better community where more people understand and respect each other? No.

      1. 0
        hold up says:

        “Should that stop us from trying to understand each other and build a stronger, better community where more people understand and respect each other? No.”

        Ok please try and come up with just one example of people “trying to understand” and “respect” the frat brothers and frat culture at swarthmore.

        1. 0
          John Flaherty '14 says:

          “Respect” for a person/group is not the same thing as accepting everything that that person/group does.

          The community does not “disrespect” the brothers or Greek Culture, but is instead reacting against the very-real negative effects that brothers and bro-culture has brought to us.

          Nobody arbitrarily decided to start bullying fraternity brothers – they are calling brothers out for inappropriate actions.

          Look I’m not anti-frat/sorority; I think people are free to spend their free time however they like. But when that free time distracts, upsets, or violates other people (which Greek Life at Swarthmore definitely has), questions need to be asked and the perpetrators needs to be held responsible for their actions.

        2. 0
          Lolz says:

          The frats don’t get to derail this conversation a second time.

          Last spring when so many people felt victimized and unsafe by the frats due to homophobic and racist comments actions of the brothers and (TRIGGER WARNING) due to being raped or assaulted by brothers or in the fraternities, somehow the conversation turned into how the FRATS were the victims. The Frats put a gag order on their members–literally shutting down the possibilities for conversation–and then, when they did talk, claimed the same type of oppression that they impose on others.

          Such beliefs and actions show a serious misunderstanding of power and a willful blindness to the effects of the frats’ actions on others. Instead of co-opting the conversation, it’s time for the frats to understand the other side. Let’s not lose sight of the picture: members of the fraternities committed transgressions against the members of this community. Members of the frats claimed they would change and weren’t like other frats. Members of the frats utterly violated what little trust the community had left by reneging on their word and printing the strongest material evidence yet of their sexism (the bids) and distributing them.

          It’s on the frats to apologize. It’s on the frats to understand and come to the table. You’ve had your word about the frat community and brotherhood and somehow that just doesn’t seem as important to me as creating safe spaces where people aren’t (TRIGGER WARNING) raped or assaulted, violated with images of bodies similar to theirs being stripped of agency and humanity, or subjected to homophobic and racist slurs and actions.

          Take a page out of the book of Phi Psi’s leadership. Really read over and try to understand what they’re trying to do. Comments like this make me wonder how successful they’ll be at reform, but I can hope.

          We’ll talk AFTER your diversity training.

          1. 0
            To Strunk says:

            TRIGGER WARNING

            As a survivor, this is actually something that I’ve thought about a lot. Because the phrase “trigger warning” is used most often when discussing “rape” and “assault”, it has almost become a synonym in my mind, and has all the same connotations and can evoke the same type of reaction. Therefore, no matter where in the text it is, whether at the top or just before the words, the words “trigger warning” are inevitably going to be triggering, though perhaps not quite to the same degree as “rape” or “assault”.

            Using the words “trigger warning” in no way obscures that the text is going to mention rape or assault. In my opinion, there currently is no way to give warning while obscuring what the warning is about. Believing that is possible is the equivalent of believing that the act of telling someone in the ocean that a wave is about to crash over them will somehow avert the wave. It simply doesn’t work that way. Rather, in my experience, “trigger warning” gives me a moment to brace myself for the impending, inevitable wave and gives me the chance to back out before I’m in over my head–but it certainly doesn’t stop me from being triggered. The only way to avoid being triggered is to get out of the ocean itself, whether “the ocean” is conversations about sexism or assault or simply living in the real world. There is, in reality, very little means for escape.

            Therefore, I prefer the trigger warning before the words so that if I do want to utilize the warning, I can at least read the rest of the text while knowing which parts to skip.

            This is only my opinion as one survivor, though. Of course there are a variety of experiences and opinions on this matter, and others who would undoubtedly agree with you.

          2. 0
            Strunk says:

            This is completely derailing the conversation on my part, but I think it’s a better idea to put your trigger warnings at the top of your comment. Putting “TRIGGER WARNING” in the middle of what you’re saying doesn’t really do anything to obscure the fact that you’re about to use the word “rape”, so it’s not really helpful in my opinion.

          3. 0
            amen says:

            YES. THIS.

            the conversations about greek life from last year never should have been dropped. student council and dean’s office, i’m looking at you.

    3. 0
      Maria ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Okay, yes I think you bring up a good point that the specific rule broken here is unclear. HOWEVER consider the context. Last year there was an entire referendum on Greek life, built partially off of real, violent, *unlawful* actions committed by some members of frats (and most certainly some non-frat members). People were legitimately trying to eliminated Greek life from our campus for this. There was a lot of anger and a lot of tears around “rape culture” on campus and in Greek life, which I don’t think was ever refuted even if we agree that a lot of frat members are decent people and mean no harm. Etcetera.

      Given all of this, wouldn’t you expect that leaders of Greek life would be particularly conscious and careful about what messages they are putting out right now? The sorority seems to be walking on eggshells — shouldn’t the frats be, also? If last year/spring was supposed to be some sort of turning point where we all start to be more aware of sexual assault and oppression on campus and develop better preventative measures, this is EXACTLY the sort of thing the administration should be coming down on to change campus dynamics. If we can agree that this is unacceptable (for me, the link between this poster — especially coming from an all-male fraternity with known instances of sexual assaults — and rape culture is EXTREMELY evident), then it shouldn’t matter whether there is already a written rule. New rules can be written. At the very least there should be some very, very serious conversations.

      This, of course, isn’t to say that if the context weren’t so sensitive, this poster would then be fine and acceptable. This is really disgusting no matter what angle you are coming from. I’m surprised the comments thus far are taking it so lightly.

      1. 0
        link says:

        I find it hard to believe that the link between this poster and rape culture is that strong. I can certainly imagine receiving this poster and not being offended at all. On the other hand I would certainly not be down with any of my friends describing scenarios in which it was bordeline sexual assault or worse. Maybe, maybe you could argue that the poster is a strong indication of an existent rape culture. However, even if that’s true it’s simply a symptom and not causing it by any means. Asking for disciplinary punishment for this act in it of itself seems the wrong way to go about it. If this poster is such a serious problem then it is only because of its ability to serve as a red flag that the frats haven’t moved away from their rape culture. It would be more reasonable to use this incident as a jumping off point for further dialogue/shaming rather than administrative punishment. The current approach just emphasises not to put up the poster, so that future generations of frat members will hide such red flags better.

        1. 0
          Robin Carpenter says:

          Since you brought your own opinion into the debate I don’t feel that I am presenting an out of context ad hominem attack when I say that if YOU don’t find the poster offensive, YOU might also have to do some soul-searching when it comes to how you view women in our society.

          As to your main point about it (maybe) being a symptom of a larger problem, I agree, it surely is. But how do you suggest going about treating the larger ‘infection’ if this individual incident is not addressed here and now? You would like further dialogue? With an organization that has thus far refused to change policies (this poster has been in use for at least 4 years) in light of massive student opinion that behavior needs to change? Clearly fostering healthy dialogue has not yet been effective.

        2. 0
          Jumping Off Point says:

          You’re totally right that this should be treated as a SYMPTOM of a rape culture, rather than as a rape culture unto itself. You’re also right that this should be a jumping off point–and the admin response to employ educational programs (rather than just suspending frat activity, levying a fine, or other arbitrary and non-educational sanctions) is the next step in a dialogue about what healthy and consensual sexuality can be about. And the cool part? After the education is done, Phi Psi will once again have parties, and the rest of campus will be able to see and evaluate what their actions say about themselves as a group.

    4. 0
      Policy says:

      From the Sexual Assault and Harassment Policy:

      Sexual harassment also includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex/gender or sex/gender-stereotyping, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

      A single, isolated incident of sexual harassment alone may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to create a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical.

      Sexual harassment can take many forms. Sexual harassment:

      May be blatant and intentional and involve an overt action, a threat or reprisal, or may be subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated.
      Does NOT have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents.
      May be committed by anyone, regardless of gender, age, position, or authority. While there is often a power differential between two persons, perhaps due to differences in age, social, educational, or employment relationships, harassment can occur in any context.
      May be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance, or someone with whom the complainant has an intimate or sexual relationship.
      May be committed by or against an individual or may be a result of the actions of an organization or group.
      May occur by or against an individual of any sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
      May occur in the classroom, in the workplace, in residential settings, over electronic media (including the internet, telephone, and text), or in any other setting.
      May be a one-time event or part of a pattern of behavior.
      May be committed in the presence of others or when the parties are alone.
      May affect the complainant and/or third parties who witness or observe harassment.

      1. 0
        How is this under debate? says:

        Really, why are people downvoting this? Do you not agree that this is the policy? Well it actually is, that’s just a fact. Or, rather, do you disagree with the policy? Any arguments, or just angry thoughts?

      2. 0
        Just wondering says:

        How does copying and pasting the overreaching,kafkaesque University Of Montana letter address Huzilla’s free speech question? Beside the fact that the Department of Education is on a collision course with the Bill of Rights on this ridiculous mandate.

        1. 0
          Private institution says:

          Pedantic legalistic argument, in response to a pedantic and narrow-minded response: Swat isn’t a public sphere. Just like a private club can ban you from bringing a firearm with you into that space, private organizations can create their own standards for conduct and speech. Don’t like the rules, don’t join the club.

          Also I’m pretty sure that what you’re replying to is taken straight from Swat’s website…

    5. 0
      Alum says:

      I can’t speak to whether sexism is “against the rules,” as I haven’t looked at the most recent handbook. However, the school has a duty under Title IX to respond to situations that create a discriminatory/hostile environment on campus, and sexism certainly contributes to a hostile environment for women (and men, really).

      1. 0
        Huzilla says:

        Thanks for the reply Alum. It seems like what you are saying is that “administration” should discipline the fraternities because the flyers were sexist. What makes them sexist? Is it because they were pornographic?

        If so, is it the school’s duty then, under Title IX, to monitor the distribution of all pornographic content on campus? As other members of the community have pointed out, porn sites are not blocked on the internet at Swarthmore. Also, other student groups have used pornographic imagery for political purposes. While nobody is comparing political justice to frat initiation, shouldn’t all student groups be allowed to use porn to shock members of the Swat community to action whether it be a keg stand at a party or to support gay marriage and other queer identities?

        I’d also like to point out that the Halloween party is coming up and members of our community will be likely be dressed not unlike the pictures used in the invitation. Do you feel comfortable with allowing school administrators deciding which costumes are sexist and which are not? To me this is a matter of free speech and I don’t want the administration anywhere near it. Let’s let all student groups and individuals have free speech on campus on criticizing them (as people have already done to the frats) when they are wrong.

        1. 0
          Allison '16 ( User Karma: 6 ) says:

          The bids were circulated after a pledge posted them to his Facebook and Instagram. It’s hard to argue that it’s still like being “sexist in your room alone” when you broadcast it your 800+ friends.

        2. 0
          Alum says:

          Actually, that’s not what I was saying–thanks for trying, though! What I said, what I meant, was that the school has a duty to respond. I’m not a Title IX expert nor am I a college administrator so I haven’t thought through exactly what the response ought to look like…and in my response I wasn’t advocating for any response in particular. Perhaps the answer includes discipline, but not necessarily.

          If I were an administrator part of that process would certainly include giving the frat opportunity to be heard and to present their side of the story. What were they trying to convey with the flier? I actually don’t think that “discipline” as such is the most effective option here. I think that Swarthmore (and the world, but unfortunately we can only deal with Swarthmore here) has a serious cultural problem. Disciplining a frat that’s operating in that context, for an action that’s pretty commonplace within that context, seems like (a) the easy way out for the administration and (b) it wouldn’t have much impact beyond stoking resentment, division, and anger. If a discipline doesn’t help elucidate why the image was offensive, why it seems inordinately stupid and insensitive given all the recent rape controversies surrounding the frats, and how objectification is linked to misogyny, then what’s the point?

          To respond to your point about pornography, context matters. You’re setting up a straw man with the argument about “using porn to shock members of the community.” I doubt I’m wrong in the assumption that that wasn’t the intent here. As numerous other commenters have pointed out, the idea that (presumed) heterosexual men enjoy looking at pornographic images is hardly shocking. And are you seriously comparing “shocking the Swat community into a keg stand” and “shocking the Swat community into respecting queer identities,” or are you just trolling me at this point? I’m straight and was not involved in queer groups at Swat, so I’m really not the best person to speak to this, but I would posit that there’s a significant difference between asserting queer sexuality – a sexuality that has been historically oppressed through violence, denied, erased, denigrated and demeaned – with using images of naked women to invite men into a space that is known for being rapey. It’s not that nudity is, in and of itself, sexist or offensive. I wouldn’t argue that there aren’t certain circumstances where the lines may be more blurred, but in the examples you’ve set up, the distinction seems rather obvious to me.

          And to your last point–I’m of two minds on the Halloween party situation. Speaking only for myself here–not other feminists or anyone else. Part of me feels as though the school ought not be hosting these parties at all. They aren’t safe. They’re a distraction. They promote sexist stereotypes and heterosexist stereotypes. The school seems stupid to allow them, considering the liability alone, not to mention the potential harm to students. At minimum, though, if the school is going to permit these parties to take place using school funds and on school property, I suppose that the school would be wrong to advertise it as a “sexy halloween party” or something. I think a more apt comparison than the one you’ve drawn would be if the organizers were distributing fliers with sexualized images on them as invitations.

        3. 0
          ... says:

          the bids were given to specific individuals who were already involved in the pledging process. I’m not saying it wasn’t sexist or offensive, but it wasn’t distributed to the entire campus, so yeah its pretty much like “watching porn, sexist or otherwise, in their room alone.”

        4. 0
          well... says:

          to be fair… the offensive bids were not meant to be seen by the swarthmore community, but were intended for the individuals who had expressed interest in joining phi psi. so yeah its kind of like being sexist in the privacy of your room alone.

        5. 0
          alum '12 says:

          Let’s remember that these pledge bids were not meant for the public, so they are more of a private, “in your bedroom” kind of sexism, which is wrong morally, but again, does not make a hostile environment.

  28. 0
    Rumors says:

    Apparently Phi Psi is no longer allowed to play any music with sexual, violent, or morally corrupting lyrics. And the movie committee is not allowed to show any movies with nudity. Don’t even think about wearing a bikini to your swim test. To increase transparency among sexual deviants, ITS is considering an opt-in program (ala the UK) that allows porn access on Swatnet, but one’s name will be placed on a giant board outside Shane Lounge.

  29. 0
    Swarthmore 20X says:

    Considering people put chalkings of vaginas/penises on the pathways and Krunkfest exists at Swarthmore, handing out a poster of what basically contains softcore porn to a few 18 year olds hardly seems egregious.

    Are they going to start blocking YouPorn on the campus network too?

    1. 0
      The bids are misogynistic. No ifs, ands, or but[t]s. says:

      Posts like this are missing the point.

      The objectification of these women’s bodies and the choice of revealing one’s body is the crucial difference between images that promote a sex-positive and accepting environment and one that promotes sexism and misogyny. Empowerment doesn’t come from nakedness. Nakedness doesn’t equate empowerment. Empowerment comes from the reunification of my self, my will, and my body—the right to do with my body what I want to do and not what heteronormative culture tells me to do.

      The current arguments that equate naked female bodies with empowerment and clothed female bodies with disempowerment are creating a dangerous dichotomy that ignores and misunderstands the historical policing of women’s bodies. For centuries, women’s bodies were controlled through the policing of what women could and could not do with them: stay clothed, cover up, strip naked, pose here, do this, do that.

      Being naked of one’s own will reintegrates control of one’s own body with one’s own sense of self through one’s own self-determination. Using images of women’s bodies to create a mosaic of a heteronormative institution strips the women within the images (and, symbolically, other women) of their agency and humanity. When Phi Psi uses images of women’s naked bodies as a part of their logo they are taking an important victory away from American women (the reintegration of one’s sense of self-determination with one’s body through control of its display) and returning to a historical power structure in which men control women’s bodies and wills.

      Which, by extension, is why no—it wouldn’t be better if half naked men were also on the flier. That’s still missing the point because it ignores the historical trajectory of control over women’s bodies that this type of misogynistic action grew out of.

      I feel threatened by those images. I feel violated. I feel unsafe seeing them. And I know I’m not alone. Such images take a body like mine, strips it of its human elements, and opens it up for the consumption of people who would use me as a means to an end rather than an end in myself.

      Let’s call Phi Psi’s actions what they are: sexist and misogynistic. No ifs, ands, or but[t]s.

    2. 0
      Josh says:

      It’s not simply that there were naked images on the flyer. Consider the fact that images of women’s bodies were shrunk to a small scale and used to make up the greek letters that symbolize Phi Psi — this constitutes an objectification even if you disagree with the argument regarding nudity. It is very difficult to make the argument that using women’s bodies — historically the sites of virtually every kind of power struggle imaginable — to construct a logo for a men’s-only fraternity with a strong tradition of homophobia/misogyny/racism is NOT objectifying and in turn misogynistic in this case. You can try but you’ll look ridiculous.

      This isn’t an anti-nudity campaign. That completely misses the point.

  30. 0
    Rope Tunnel says:

    Given the circumstances, myself and Monsieur Attique found it only suitable to amend our nomenclatures. We hope you’ll accept our sincerest wishes that you find solace in this ineffably altruistic act, and perhaps even do us the kindness of permitting us to pet the horses you are all so fond of riding on.

    Ciao for now,
    RT

    1. 0
      Yumi '16 says:

      Question for the editors:

      Would it be possible to get an official comment moderation policy posted somewhere? I know you’ve referred to one in comments before, but I can’t remember where and don’t know where else to look.

      Since I’m not sure about the specifics of your policy, I’m not sure if it lets you delete comments like this one, but if it doesn’t… maybe a change is in order? Assuming that this is in fact the same compassionate and forward-thinking individual who was commenting under the name “Rape Tunnel” last semester, this is a rape joke with no other content. I have a hard time seeing what it’s adding to the conversation, and letting comments like this through seems like it has the potential to push people who are triggered by this sort of thing out of a converation where their voices are very much needed.

      Thanks.

      1. 0
        Strunk says:

        If comments were only allowed on the Gazette when they added value to the conversation, I’d be very sad. Because then I wouldn’t be allowed to comment here at all.

        1. 0
          Yumi '16 says:

          I’m not asking for anything that doesn’t “add value” to be deleted – that sounds like a difficult or impossible standard to apply fairly, and just doesn’t seem necessary. But I would like a little more clarity on what the comment moderation policy actually is (since as far as I can tell, there already is one – I just don’t know what it does or why), and if there’s going to be comment moderation on these threads, I’d like for it to get rid of the rape jokes. I’ve made an argument for why they’re harmful and would be interested to hear what anyone thinks we gain by leaving them up. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

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