Swarthmore College has banned Greek life after leaked documents showed one fraternity joked about sexual assault, made anti-LGBTQ remarks and harbored a “rape attic” in its house.
“Fraternities and sororities will no longer exist at the College,” President Valerie Smith said in a statement Friday, adding, “Exclusive, dues-paying social organizations no longer effectively meet the needs of our residential liberal arts environment.”
The decision follows the release of recommendations from the campus’ Task Force for Student Social Events and Community Standards, which warned of “extremely disturbing” misconduct at fraternities, and pushed for the school to stop leasing space to student organizations, calling it “inequitable.”
Smith noted the leases would end, but that Kappa Alpha Theta, the suburban Philadelphia college’s only sorority, will be allowed to continue operating until the end of the spring 2022 semester. However, it is not allowed to bring in new members.
Earlier this month, Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon, the only two fraternities at the school, both voluntarily disbanded shortly after Phi Psi’s leaked documents emerged.
The damning 116 pages labeled “minute meetings” were written between 2013 and 2016 and were given anonymously to two campus publications ― The Phoenix and Voices. According to The Phoenix, the documents “are secondhand recaps of Phi Psi members’ activities.”
The revelations sparked outrage among students who staged a sit-in within the organization’s house last April. Allegations of racism were also leveled against the fraternity at that time.
In a forward-looking end to her statement, Smith asked students “to examine how we live up to the aspiration of inclusivity, listen to one another and reject division.
“Remain in difficult conversations, especially with those with whom we disagree,” she said. “This work will not be easy, but we will all be the better for it.”