Hazing, rape and racism: Swarthmore College fraternities disband after leaked documents reveal homophobic, misogynistic behavior
Student protestors toom part in a sit-in at the Phi Psi fraternity in response to the racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior against former members
Two fraternity chapters from Swarthmore College have said that they are shutting down in response to the allegations of racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior against former members that have emerged in the past few weeks. The disturbing stories were all included in documents from 2013 to 2016 that were leaked to two campus publications.
One of the publications, "Phi Psi Historical Archive", included accounts of rape jokes and racist tropes among the pages of meeting minutes from the fraternity as well as scavenger hunt lists. The documents also contained crude descriptions of sexual encounters as well as hazing, and references to another fraternity's "rape attic" and "rape tunnel", CNN reported.
The authenticity of the documents has not been verified. The college said Wednesday it was reviewing them.
Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi announced their decisions in separate Facebook posts Tuesday night.
"We cannot in good conscience be members of an organization with such a painful history," Phi Psi said in its statement. The Delta Upsilon fraternity said in its statement that "disbanding our fraternity is in the best interest of the Swarthmore community".
Dozens of student protesters at Swarthmore, a highly selective, private liberal arts college in suburban Philadelphia, had occupied the on-campus Phi Psi house during a four-day sit-in, calling for both fraternities to be shut down and the buildings put to other uses. Swarthmore had suspended fraternity activity while it investigated. Its lone sorority wasn't affected.
In an open letter posted Wednesday on the college's website, Swarthmore President Valerie Smith wrote that "we respect these students' decision" to disband the fraternities, "and we appreciate their strong condemnation" of the behavior described in the leaked documents.
Smith also condemned what she called "unsubstantiated attacks directed at individual students or student groups ... as too many students have recently endured," taking aim at social media posts and "attempts to exclude students from open campus events based on their affiliations." She also said there's no evidence that any current student took part in the behavior recounted in the documents.
Protestors said in a statement on Tuesday night: "DU and Phi Psi have disbanded in a testament to the power of survivor-led student organizing and direct action. They made the right decision, even as the College refused to. Our work is not finished yet."
Both houses are on campus and are owned by the college. The Phi Psi house was primarily used for parties and other social activities. The college said Wednesday that both fraternities had relinquished the house, but it no decision has been made about future uses of the properties.
With AP inputs.