Dear Brothers,

After all this time, I can still remember my first walk down College Row, with its architecture and traces of Wesleyan’s storied past. I was with my mother and we were lagging toward the back of a campus tour on arrival day. We listened to the young woman at the front telling of the history and the names of the buildings and we looked in silence at the high steeples and the clock tower and the falling leaves. I was quietly anticipating my mother’s flight and the start of a new chapter in my life. She was worried, to be sure, about her eldest son starting on his new journey. I’m sure she had high hopes for my freshman year, hopes that I would call her enough and fit in at this place. You know, mom stuff.

But what I remember most about that first walk down High Street is not the proud and anxious look on my mother’s face or the anticipation of my college experience. It is, and always will be, the row of old fraternity houses opposite North College. It is the intimidating columns of Eclectic, the high walled bushes around Beta, the Psi U castle, and the blocks of grey stone with the golden letters above the door at the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) house.

A lot has changed since that walk with my mother. Beta lost its national charter and there is a “For Sale” sign in front of the house. Psi U, a co-educated organization, was taken off of program housing after an alleged, unresolved drug charge but has been approved for program housing in the 2016-17 school year. Eclectic is turning into Music House. After meeting some amazing people and going through the rewarding process, I became a brother of Delta Kappa Epsilon. Now, during a year when I expected to be living with you in our house, I am living in the Butterfields, and we are scattered all over campus. It would be easier to take if I thought our organization did anything illegal or, at least, morally reprehensible.

But we haven’t. You know we haven’t.

This is why we have a pending lawsuit against Wesleyan University. This is why we are fighting. There must be a case made for the return of DKE on this campus because if there isn’t at least an argument, a hard look at our administration made on behalf of our Brotherhood, then I no longer believe this community is truly fostering acceptance, inclusiveness, and righteous dissent.

I wish we could look at this from a personal level and get beyond the guise of gender equity and social inequality. You know, I’m the son of two U.S. Army Veterans and grew up on military bases from Hawaii, to New Jersey, to Minnesota. My parents were brought up by modest means, joined the armed forces, and trusted me to navigate the world without a financial safety net to fall back on. They encouraged me to use my intellect to guide me places that would challenge my views of the world. To put it frankly, Wesleyan has challenged me to every corner and crevice of my soul. It has made me question everything from my academic prowess to my social interactions. This place has made me a better, more thoughtful and generous person. I’ve attributed this development to the battle of balancing academics, athletics, and my fraternity experience. You see, the support system that fraternities offer are what made them attractive to me in the first place. Whether I’m having a hard time in the classroom, in my sport, or in any parts of my life, I know I have friends rooting for me and that want to see me succeed. Thank you.

Isn’t that what we’re all after? Don’t we all want a positive experience, a place to fit in, and lifelong friends? I have worked hard and overcome personal obstacles to be here. It’s ultimately devastating to be told that our affiliation with DKE is a sign of “privilege” and “bigotry.” I truly believe that my affiliation with Greek letters does not define who I am. My character, and how I act in this community, should define me amongst my peers. Our campus’s open conflict with DKE has made me aware of how far some are willing to go to meet their personal ends without regard for the feelings and wishes of others in this community.

The slights against our fraternity have been shocking. In the fall of 2014, Wesleyan mandated that all fraternities move toward becoming fully co-educated by 2017.  The University claimed a desire to promote gender equity, inclusive access to social spaces, and reduced risk of sexual assault. When DKE leadership submitted a preliminary plan for coeducation, the administration shot it down; given the mandate, it was quickly deemed inadequate. Another attempt by DKE alumni was made shortly after. It was also shot down. Then, an extensive 10-15 page proposal, including renovation plans to make the house more attractive to female students, drew out rooms for women and access to each common space in the house. The proposal was denied due to a lack of details regarding our commitment and overall plan to get women to live in the house. These details included our talks to add the Sisters of Rho Epsilon at the DKE house.

A Connecticut judge asked Dean Mike Whaley last spring, “Tell me why you could accept the general outline [of Psi Upsilon] and why DKE’s plan of some 10 or 15 pages wasn’t accepted. I’m getting the sense that you asked them to do much more than you asked Psi U to do.”

Dean Whaley responded, “I did not know when I received [DKE’s plan] if, in fact, there had been any conversations between DKE and Rho Epsilon [Pi], and that organization figured pretty prominently in their plan moving forward.” Whaley continued, “I was concerned that it didn’t seem like any of those details had been worked out.”

The short time table allotted to get our housing plan approved is one thing, but getting women to want to live in our house is quite another. Dean Whaley did not attempt to help us with those details. Finalizing the plans for such details will take time. Time was one thing the University did not grant us.

Beyond having our program housing status revoked, we are not even allowed on the premise of 276 High Street without the threat of suspension and expulsion. This is due to a clause in the student handbook, coincidently added in July 2015, that reads “Wesleyan students are also prohibited from using any other property that the University informs students are off-limits for health, safety or conduct reasons at the university’s discretion.” Read this carefully. Your University has reserved the right to tell you where you can or cannot go. With this logic, a case could be made for putting Vines On Church on a “blacklist,” with the University telling you it’s dangerous because you could get alcohol poisoning or it enables underage consumption. It’s sad that fraternities have been the collateral damage in Mr. Roth’s plight to enforce “diversity, inclusivity, and gender equality.” The hypocrisy is in the marginalization of the students who actively participate in Greek Life and rely on it for support and housing.

After all is said and done, I hope this administration knows the kind of men this fraternity has, and the assets we are on this campus. We come from diverse backgrounds, play different sports, excel in multiple disciplines, and, in the end, found common ground at 276 High Street. We have flaws, we are human, and we are doing our best. We support each other through the good and the bad. To my brothers, past and present, don’t lose faith. Don’t forget about the old stone house and the golden letters. We go to court in the fall. I have a feeling we’ll be back.

 

Respectfully yours,
Jordan L. Jancze
Gamma Phi ’18

Jancze is a member of the class of 2018. 

  • disqus_LJH92ylDNO

    Were any men at the period party? There, I’ve made my case.

  • AZ193

    The fraternity owns the house and the property from my understanding.
    It is not owned by the University so they classified it as exclusionary
    to shut it down. When the fraternity responded with proposals to be
    more inclusive they were denied. The actions taken here set a precedent
    in which the administration is able to implement their ideals in places
    they don’t actually own. It makes for a really interesting case, one
    in which the administration would have to prove that the fraternity is
    actively biased against certain individuals for their cause to hold
    water. Is this the case?

  • why

    white men are truly the blight of humanity

    • Mike Donnelly

      “KIIIIIILLLLLLLLLL WHIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTEEEEYYYYY!!!!!!”

      Al Donnelly 4 Governor

  • grape

    In an article trying to prove why you guys are willing to include women you address the letter, “Dear Brothers.” How ignorant are you guys? Need a place to celebrate brotherhood? Literally step outside. This country has been celebrating “brotherhood” since before it was created. You guys are the least marginalized group of people in the world.

    Also, “I wish we could look at this from a personal level and get beyond the guise of gender equity and social inequality.” DKE fantasy worlds sound absolutely terrifying.

    • Ctanley

      Wait, are you saying that I (a genderqueer female) can’t be brothers with my closest friend from childhood (who is a transwoman)? Hold on, are you ACTUALLY saying that gender is the normative and “correct” qualifier for relationship identifiers? FULL STOP. Oppressive and hateful beliefs like that are setting us back decades. Horrible and maddening. People like me and my brother will be marginalized forever with people like you spewing your hate. Ugh.

      • w w

        I think this person was trying to say that “brother” can be an exclusionary word to some people and if the letter is meant to welcome everyone to the discussion, a different non-gendered non-frat associated term word would be more effective.

      • disqus_LJH92ylDNO

        I’m a Latinx and my partner is a Jewx. Our cat is a Manx. Why can’t we be DKEs?

    • DavidL

      oh, brother.

  • Guest

    When an author states the promotion of diversity, inclusivity and gender equality causes “collateral damage,” that author is walking the wrong side of the street.

  • Frats are evil

    Just wondering, why do you need a space to express your brotherhood? Why can you only maintain your brotherhood if all your brothers live under the same house? And is the use of the DKE house really about brotherhood, or is it just an exclusionary club in which to party? Beta became known as a “rape factory” on campus. If you could tell me the cultural difference between the “rape factory” and DKE, maybe I’d reconsider my position on the frat.

    • TPJ

      you are generalizing that frats are evil, and assuming that frats rape in general. You have no idea what you are talking about unless you have ever been a part of a group of close friends that just want a place to hang out and in college its Greek. Be a apart of it or not, dont be hater, then you need to hate all clubs in college. My question is why does the LGBT community want their own house cant they express themselves in other places on campus. Nope they are a just like the Greek just a group of individuals with the same interests that want to hang out and not get judged.

      • guest

        it has been demonstrated by multiple studies that frat members are 3x more likely to rape someone than men not in frats, so its not the case this person is just “assuming” or “generalizing”

      • Devils Advocate

        It has been demonstrated by multiple studies that black men are 9x more likely to rape someone than white men. Do you see how sick your comments are now. You cannot judge a group of people because of a few bad apples.

      • Learn the facts

        A Wesleyan study showed that since 2010: there have been more rapes per capita in the Butts, Hewitt, and Wood frame houses, than in Greek housing. So you a propagating a patently false myth.

  • gross

    Sorry but when you talk about your “Brotherhood” with a capital “B,” you sound a lot like a fascist…

    • Ernst Rohm

      Careful, your brownshirt is showing.

  • Not Convinced

    I’m okay with all this. Greek life is exclusionary and dangerous, despite the sense of camaraderie put forward by the author. What possible arguments can trump that fact? The best schools should be at the forefront of dismantling these institutions, and I hope Wesleyan continues this.

    • k.d. lang’s mangina

      Using that same logic, being a student at Wesleyan is dangerous and exclusionary, despite the feel good “togetherness” and social empowerment promulgated by the student body. Wesleyan University is dangerous, given the student body’s proclivity towards consuming (oftentimes dangerous) illegal drugs. The University is also highly exclusionary, being that it has a low acceptance rate and high academic standards that are generally (though not always) unattainable to those of a lower socio-economic strata. Shall we also hope that the University turn on itself and works to dismantle its own beacons of danger and exclusion? Many individuals marginalized and injured by the University would support that.

      • Not Convinced

        But Wes offers a high-quality education, whereas Greek Life offers keg stands and sneers towards outsiders, despite claims to the contrary. The first delivers great value to society and the second delivers none. NASA and country clubs are both exclusionary also, but there’s an objective difference between meritocracy and favoritism.

        Should schools in Wesleyan’s class continue to curb drug use? Absolutely. Should fraternities and sororities end their promulgation of the status quo, overwhelmingly privileged memberships, nepotism, keg stands, parties designed to prey on the inebriated, and hazing? They never will. Good thing public opinion is turning against them.

      • Paul

        Wes may offer a high-quality education, but being a student of the University is still entirely a matter of privilege. Every single student at the University is privileged beyond belief. Attending a top university is a privilege, and it gives the attendee a privilege that will stay with them for the rest of their life. And being a Wes student is exclusionary. Wes students are excluding peers every day. They exclude the other 80% of students who didn’t get accepted to the University (and the tens of millions of others who couldn’t hope to ever be accepted by misfortune of their lot in life) every day simply by existing and going to class.

        Meritocracy? You and I both know that that is a joke at elite schools. Elite schools are as “meritocratic” as good ol’ boy big business and politics. And is it really meritocratic when the admitted student has attended the best schools, had access to the most influential extracurriculars, had the most supportive family, and in general had advantage after advantage in their upbringing? That sounds like privilege to me.

        Maybe the Wesleyan students who rail on and on about these “exclusive” clubs and “inequality” should step back and check their own privilege. Because pretending like it doesn’t exist stinks to high heaven.

      • guest

        what

      • guest

        lol

  • to my brothers, past +present

    Your “preliminary plan for coeducation” was SEPARATE LOCKED ENTRANCES AND EXITS FOR MEN AND WOMEN lmao. I’m happy for you and your Brotherhood but hey, I don’t live in a house with my brother, and we’re still family. If your bond is that strong you can deal with it too. You don’t have to live in a big castle with all of your friends???

  • usedtohatefrats

    wow excellent article. there’s a lot of yelling on both sides, but this article presents reasonable and sensible ideas.

  • Pissed off Alumni

    Psi U should come out with an article explaining their experiences with this system. I’d be willing to bet they would expose shady dealings by the administration as well.

  • Lee G.

    Well said Jordan. There are so many positive experiences that come from Greek life when executed properly. It is well worth the fight to convince the Wesleyan admin that they are being short sighted…

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