Pennsylvania college bans fraternities, sororities after allegations of racist, homophobic and misogynistic behavior

Swarthmore College announced Friday that it has banned fraternities and sororities from its campus after two fraternity chapters recently disbanded over allegations of racist, misogynistic and homophobic behavior against past members.

“Fraternities and sororities will no longer exist at the College,” President Valerie Smith said in a statement.

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“The voluntary disbanding of Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon reflects a broader change in student needs and desires. Exclusive, dues-paying social organizations no longer effectively meet the needs of our residential liberal arts environment.”

The announcement came a little over a week after recommendations were filed in a report from the Task Force for Student Social Events and Community Standards, which was charged with examining social life on campus.

“The college should limit parties with alcohol during the first several weeks of the fall semester, and, in particular, we recommend that the practice of allowing a ‘Disorientation’ party be ended,” the report said, adding that the Office of Student Engagement should play a role in “supporting and encouraging a new era of student party hosting.”

Friday’s announcement came in the aftermath of a document dump which contained allegations that members of Swarthmore's Phi Psi chapter made rape jokes and racist comments and engaged in hazing, according to CNN. The documents also reportedly referenced the Delta Upsilon chapter’s “rape attic” and “rape tunnel,” which the fraternity denied existed.

“I recognize that recent campus events and conversations have deeply affected many members of our community, especially survivors of sexual assault,” Smith said in her announcement.

“While the report did not specifically address Title IX policies and practices, the Task Force worked in close collaboration with the Title IX Office, Public Safety, and the Dean's Office in recognition that strong and clear policies on sexual misconduct are essential to a safe and healthy campus social life.” 

The two chapters later voluntarily disbanded.

“I recognize that serious fissures in our community remain open, and I am sorry that this has been such a challenging time,” Smith said. “As we move forward, I call for each of us to examine how we live up to the aspiration of inclusivity. We must try to do so together, without giving up on one another and without giving up on our community.” 

The Kappa Alpha Theta sorority chapter may continue with current members through spring 2022, but is not allowed to recruit or initiate any new members, Smith said.