Since the announcement last September that residential fraternities must become fully co-educational over the next three years, Greek life on campus has changed in several significant ways.
The decision to mandate coeducation of residential fraternities came after several months of deliberations among students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Board of Trustees. While the three all-male residential fraternities were given three years in which to become fully co-educational, the deadline to present an initial co-education plan was the end of fall semester. That deadline was extended more than a month for DKE and Beta. Still, plans had to be in place before program housing selection in early February.
Last semester, Psi U provided a plan to co-educate, beginning with the recruitment of women this spring, and it reports that women have indicated strong interest in joining. Although women may choose to move in to the Psi U house for the fall of 2015, the fraternity plans to conduct renovations of the building in summer 2016 to make it more appealing to live there.
Nonresidential Greek organizations continue to meet at Wesleyan, and Alpha Delta Phi, a co-educated residential organization, continues to thrive here.
Beta’s house remains closed after an accident this fall. The fraternity was invited to make a proposal regarding increased safety and co-education but has since been disbanded by its national organization. Some members have proposed the creation of a co-educated society, but those discussions are very preliminary.
According to Michael Whaley, vice president for student affairs, the plan submitted by DKE, as well as subsequent communication from the organization, did not include a timeline or detail for its proposed approach to partner with a sorority to achieve co-education; nor did it adequately assure the university that female residents would have full and equal access to common areas of the house. The fraternity repeatedly failed to take meaningful steps or make reasonable commitments toward residential co-education; indeed representatives of the fraternity consistently rejected the goal of co-education.
On Feb. 6, the day before the housing selection was to begin, there was still no acceptable plan in place, and as a consequence, DKE’s annual program housing agreement was terminated for the next academic year. Whaley informed the fraternity that it should start working with the university immediately to formulate an acceptable plan.
Now the fraternity has filed a lawsuit seeking a court order prohibiting the university from terminating the housing agreement, and a court date of March 9 has been set. University officials have stated that the suit is without merit and that Wesleyan will vigorously defend itself.