Wesleyan University may not have a reputation as one of the frattiest colleges in the country; even so the liberal arts school’s frat daddies—much like the Port Chester Whooping Crane—are set to be an endangered species. The university announced on Monday the school’s fraternities will no longer be allowed to be male-only and must begin admitting women to become “fully co-educational.”
The change in policy, which will be phased in over three years, affects only on-campus, or residential, fraternities at Wesleyan. All of the school’s sororities are off-campus. “[The new policy] requires its residential Greek organizations to have both male and female members and to have each gender ‘well represented’ in their organizational leadership to quality for housing on campus and the use of university spaces,” the Associated Press reports.
“The decision comes after two high-profile lawsuits alleging rape in fraternity houses and after the Wesleyan University student government called on the administration last spring to force fraternities to go coed or give up their houses,” the Hartford Courant reports. “Less than one hundred students live at the university's [two] residential fraternities. Earlier this month, Wesleyan declared a third residential fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, off-limits to all students, when a student was seriously injured when she fell from a third-floor window.”
Peter Smithhisler, the head of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, played the First Amendment card in pushing back on the decision, telling the AP “he believes that any school that dictates what type of organizations students can join is ‘inhibiting fundamental principles of freedom of expression and freedom of association upon which our country is premised and upon which it functions.’ ”