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Mac & Gaydos

Updated Nov 6, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Co-ed fraternities seen as possible solution to sexual assault

This is the story that YOU wanted to hear us talk about! It received 67 percent of the vote in our Radioactive poll!

There are a lot of things associated with college fraternities: beer pong, secret handshakes, paddles, initiation and brotherhood being a few. But girls? Not even a little bit.

But this is all about to change at one Connecticut liberal arts college, Wesleyan University, where the president is mandating that fraternity brothers accept some “sisters” as well.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth announced this decision in late September, saying it was to increase gender equity. However, he has also mentioned several times in online blog posts the connection between fraternities and sexual assaults, which has been made more clear by the recent national attention on the subject as well as some convincing research.

At Wesleyan specifically, a student survey showed that 47 percent of students said fraternities were less safe party locations than others.

Nationally, about one in four women will be a victim of sexual assault during her college career, according to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
A 2009 study by NASPA, a national student affairs association, showed that 69 percent of college women though sexual assault was a problem on their campus.

In Arizona, several chapters of nationally co-ed fraternities already exist, although they are primarily associated with an area of interest rather than the traditionally all-male fraternities Wesleyan is trying to integrate.

Arizona State University has several including a chapter of Phi Sigma Pi, an honors fraternity. All three Arizona public universities have chapters of Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, a musician fraternity and the service-oriented Alpha Phi Omega.

Including women in all-male fraternities, like Wesleyan, is only just beginning, as to do so, many must violate their national charters.

However, it seems to be a step in the right direction to abolishing the rape culture many believe to be allowed by fraternities

Connor Wilson, a former Beta Theta Pi brother and 2004 graduate from Wesleyan, told NBC News he disagrees with the outrage expressed by other brothers and alumni of fraternities at the university.

“If there’s a chance that male-only societies contribute to misogyny and sexual violence, is that really something we need to perpetuate in the name of tradition?” he said.

Certainly, when comparing rape statistics to the principle of all-male brotherhood, the latter is dwarfed in comparison when it comes to importance.


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