Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth and Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley distributed the following announcement to the campus community today:
To the Wesleyan Community:
In the beginning of this semester, Wesleyan announced a series of changes aimed to make residential Greek organizations safer and more inclusive. Public Safety now has full access to the houses, and many fraternity members, like other students, are now participating in bystander intervention training and other programs to curb gender-based violence. In addition to these safety measures, in order to become more inclusive all Greek residential organizations are required to present a plan before the end of this semester to become fully co-educational over the next three years. The current undergraduate members of Psi U have made progress on such a plan, and there have been discussions with DKE students and alumni.
Recently a student reported a sexual assault, and the assailant was dismissed from the University. The incident took place after an unregistered pledge event at the Psi U fraternity in the fall of 2011. As has previously been reported, another student was dismissed from the University after being found responsible for sexual assault at a Psi U event in the spring of 2013. In the interest of critical privacy concerns, the University will not share details of these incidents, the second of which is currently the subject of litigation between the survivor and the fraternity.
Although this latest reported incident took place three years ago, when most current residents of the fraternity house were not yet associated with the organization, some sanction of the fraternity is appropriate. Effective immediately, Psi U will be placed on provisional (probationary) program housing status until the end of 2015. The fraternity will not be allowed to hold any social events during this period, and any violation of University regulations by the organization or its members during this time will result in loss of program housing status and the house becoming off-limits to students.
This action is consistent with our policies to support survivors, punish assailants and change the culture so as to eliminate elements that lead to sexual assault. To be clear, sexual assault is not only a problem of Greek organizations; it is a problem on campuses all over the country. Our university has the responsibility to provide a safe residential learning environment where all students can experience the freedom of a transformative education, wherever they live or choose to socialize. We take this responsibility seriously. Therefore, in addition to taking action against individuals found to have perpetrated a violent act, any campus-based organization that has sponsored events that create conditions with a higher risk of violence, including sexual assault, also will be held accountable.
We continue to believe that coeducational Greek life can contribute value to the University and look forward to receiving plans for coeducation from our residential fraternities before the end of the semester. We will continue to work constructively with student organizations, including Greek ones, in our campus-wide efforts to create the safest and most inspiring residential learning environment possible.
Michael S. Roth
Vice President for Student Affairs
(Story updated at 2:28 p.m. Dec. 1, to replace spring with fall)