I, for one, am glad that the fraternity brothers of Wesleyan are finally standing up for themselves legally. We need to see more of disadvantaged groups like Delta Kappa Epsilon using their extensive network of rich alumni and expensive lawyers to seek legal recourse against non-profit institutions like Wesleyan. Finally, someone is breaking new ground in the struggle against universities’ unfair attempts to leave behind past histories of structural violence and oppression. We dream of returning to an era when no one would bat an eye at all-male organizations dominating the primary social spaces on a campus, a time when everyone knew that rape was committed by strangers and short skirts meant “YES!”
Indeed, I applaud the fine young men of Wesleyan’s fraternity system for their tireless efforts to these ends over the last year or so, even in the face of extreme opposition in the form of anti-rape messages projected on buildings, panels on the experiences of women at Wesleyan, survivors of sexual assault telling their stories out loud, and all those pesky women who believe they have a right to enjoy social life on campus as equals to men. I’d like to highlight some of my favorite of these brave activist endeavors.
When there were Wesleyan Student Assembly meetings on proposed changes to Greek life policies triggered by the so-called “epidemic” of sexual assault at Wesleyan, the fraternity brothers of Wesleyan valiantly came to their own defense at each and every meeting. Their snickers and eye rolls as assault survivors gave their testimony really made a statement, as did their habit of getting there early enough to take all the chairs and force all of the female activists (sexual assault survivors included) to sit on the ground so that they could barely be seen or heard.
In another moving activist statement last Fall, a banner was seen flying over campus much like a bald eagle, the classic American symbol of freedom. It read, “Wes picks our bros? Fascism. Look it up.” The efficacy of this effort was no doubt proven by my sudden urge to look up what the word meant. I always thought it referred to the authoritarian governments of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco, but turns out it just means that a university would like all of its living spaces to be inclusive of all genders.
I mean, seriously, how can we expect these men to just sit back while they are discriminated against at the very university their parents pay sixty thousand dollars a year for them to attend? We have Open House, Woman of Color House, Womanist House, Asian/Asian American House, La Casa and even Malcolm X House! What really is the difference between houses in which white men can live but choose not to and houses that women have no choice to live in at all?
DKE, godspeed in your war against the all-encompassing injustice of no longer being allowed to live in a mansion with the other guys on your sports team!