Students at a private Pennsylvania college are demanding the removal of two fraternities after documents describing problematic behavior were leaked by student media.
Dozens of Swarthmore College students have been conducting sit-ins at the fraternity houses to urge the administration to ban Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon. The two organizations are the only fraternities on campus. There is also one sorority.
Redacted documents published by The Phoenix and Voices describe several instances of racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior from members of Phi Psi. The documents appear to be minutes from meetings, but they read like a 4chan forum. There were several descriptions of sexual encounters. At one point, the author joked about one of the fraternity members getting sexually assaulted by a woman.
“Up until this point, I honestly thought that a male getting sexually assaulted was a hoax. A myth,” the person wrote. “A masquerade fashioned by elitist feminists to legitimize their own troubles.” The author also poked fun at Delta Upsilon for having a “rape tunnel” and “rape attic.”
“Gotta choose one or the other,” read the passage.
The documents also contained racially insensitive commentary. The author joked about “manifest destiny” and described an event titled “Bluntz n’ 40s pregame.”
There is also a Tumblr page dedicated to exposing the fraternities’ behavior. The stories shared by anonymous students had similar themes to those in the meeting minutes. Several young women reported experiencing sexual assault and harassment from fraternity members. Black students described feeling uncomfortable around the frats.
“I have heard members shout the F slur along to songs and the N word,” wrote one student. “The playlists at the frats are often popular Black male hip hop artists and a largely white and non-Black party attendance gives way for drunk performative Black face. The way people dress, appropriate AAVE, attempt to dance and make fun of how they think Black people dance all adds to the mockery of a culture that African Americans created.”
“A friend of mine made out with a Black student while at the frat,” wrote another. “A fraternity member videotaped her, texted it to people, and told her ‘that’s really low of you.’”
Swarthmore President Valerie Smith criticized the behavior in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
“I absolutely condemn the language and actions described in the documents,” Smith said on Monday. “What is contained within those pages is vulgar and deeply offensive to all of us. The racism, misogyny, and homophobia described within them is antithetical to the values of the College and violates the student code of conduct as well as basic decency.”
After days of protest from students, Smith suspended both organizations, and they are not allowed to host events. Phi Psi released a statement blaming the documents on students who have left campus and insisted the organization has taken steps to prevent offensive behavior.
Delta Upsilon has not yet commented.
A suspension and statements aren’t enough for the protesters.
“We don’t think [these fraternities] have a place on campus,” senior Morgin Goldberg told The Philadelphia Tribune.
It is unclear how long the suspensions will last.
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