Pennsylvania college's fraternities disband amid protests


SWARTHMORE, Pa. (AP) — The only two fraternities at Swarthmore College have opted to disband amid outrage over years-old documents containing derogatory comments about women and the LGBTQ community and jokes about sexual assault.

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.

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 mid-April, two campus publications, The Phoenix and Voices, released internal Phi Psi documents from 2012 to 2016 that they said were anonymously leaked. The redacted documents included jokes about sexual assault; derogatory comments about women, minorities and the LGBT community; videos and photos of sexual encounters where all parties might not have known they were being recorded and a reference to a “rape attic.”

Biden Gets Desperate, Will Use Capitol Police Against Trump in New Campaign Strategy

The authenticity of the documents has not been verified. The college said Wednesday it was reviewing them.

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 said there’s no evidence that any current student took part in the behavior recounted in the documents.

Delta Upsilon said on its Facebook page Tuesday night that disbanding was in the “best interest” of the Swarthmore community, adding: “We hope that our former house will provide a space that is inclusive, safe, and promotes healing.”

In its post, Phi Psi said its members were “appalled and disgusted” by the contents of the documents, “which led us to question our affiliation with an organization whose former members could write such heinous statements.”

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 decided to relinquish their houses, but no decision has been made about future uses of the properties.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City