Dear Wesleyan community,
It is beyond long past due that Eclectic openly acknowledges our collective failure as a society to fully and unquestionably support Karmenife and another member, then active members of Eclectic, following their coming forward as survivors of rape and sexual assault. It is with a deep, inexcusable shame that Eclectic is complicit in these atrocious acts of violence, and as such, enabled, reinforced, and perpetuated the culture of rape that pervades our society and our campus at large. Eclectic failed not just these survivors, but to embody what we stand for as a society – a network of love to embrace, celebrate, defend, and develop each and every person’s individuality. In light of these, and other abuses of power, and our own inaction, we must recognize that for many on campus, the Eclectic House has come to be an unsafe, unwelcoming space.
In order to transform Eclectic into what it should, and is intended to be; first and foremost, safe, inclusive, welcoming – we must acknowledge, take responsibility and apologize for the hurt, the rage, and the injustice as a consequence of our failures. It means acknowledging and formally apologizing not just to Karmenife and another member, but to the Wesleyan community; in being complacent and fearing action we caused pain rather than aid.
However, Eclectic must never again fail our community. Passivity, inaction, and apathy shall not pervade Eclectic again. The safety of our members, visitors, and the Wesleyan community is of utmost importance.
Change does not simply happen. We cannot simply say ‘things will change, things will change’ and expect change to come; change takes active energy, drive, and dedication. As such, in beginning to put actions to these words, Eclectic has taken several steps to institutionalize systems within the society to rebuild Eclectic as a safe space. One of our first steps was organizing and making mandatory participation in Bystander Intervention Training in mid-September, a workshop that is now mandatory for each new initiation class. We have amended the Eclectic bylaws to have clear guidelines for penal consequences, including a zero tolerance policy in instances of sexual assault and a process by which members can be banned from the house and stripped of membership. Furthermore, we have created a new position, Social Wellness Chair, the appointee of which will receive training from the Title IX office. This position serves to actively work to ensure the well-being of the society internally. Additionally, in collaboration with the Chair, the society will continue to prioritize reaching out and connecting to differing and vital communities on campus, including but not limited to students of color, low-income and first-generation students, and the queer community.
While we have undoubtedly failed in the past, we continue to believe deeply and strongly in the good Eclectic has brought and has the potential to bring to the Wesleyan community. It is with immense desire and determination we intend to reinvigorate and revive Eclectic as an energetic center of inclusivity, passionate creativity, collaboration, and celebration of individuality.
The Eclectic Society