The only two fraternities at Swarthmore College, a private liberal arts school in suburban Philadelphia, will close in response to accusations of racist, misogynistic, and other sexually abusive behavior in hazing practices and fraternity life. Recent articles in two campus publications included leaked documents detailing a deeply troubling culture from 2010 to 2016 at the Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi houses. The documents included jokes about sexual assault; derogatory comments about women, minorities, and LGBT people; videos and photos of sexual encounters; and a reference to a “rape attic.”
A campus outcry ensued, including a four-day sit-in by several dozen students at the office of the college’s president. The protesters demanded both fraternities disband and asked the administration to turn the two houses into safe spaces for students instead.
Both fraternities defended their organizations, but ultimately the national Delta Upsilon and Phi Psi organizations voted to shutter their respective chapters at the school. Delta Upsilon’s chapter stated on its Facebook page that members unanimously decided “disbanding our fraternity is in the best interest of the Swarthmore community.”
With the two closures, the liberal arts college joins a growing list of schools where fraternities have closed in recent years in response to student deaths, injuries, and complaints related to extreme hazing practices and other problematic behavior. —L.E.