With the University’s program housing situation seeming to be in a constant state of flux, Psi Upsilon’s return to their program house this year brings back some familiarity.
“I’m very excited for Psi U to re-establish itself on campus as a co-educated space,” wrote President of Psi Upsilon Ben Velaise ’18 in an email to The Argus. “This will be the first time in over a century that woman members of our organization will be living in the house and I can’t wait to see how the space evolves in an increasingly inclusive and open direction.”
Equality is a major theme for the revamped fraternity. With women now living at 242 High Street as members of the organization, this will usher the fraternity and its house into a new era.
“Being able to reclaim the house in the hopes of creating an inclusive space that has historically been exclusive and even scary for so many people is a super exciting process to be a part of,” said Carly Gilmore ’19.
To move back into their house, Psi U members met with Vice President of Student Affairs Michael Whaley and Dean Rick Culliton in December 2015.
“During the meeting, they outlined their plans for ensuring that members living in the house were adhering to Wesleyan policies and also discussed their continuing progress toward coeducation of their organization,” Whaley wrote in an email to The Argus. “Since their suspension from program housing was for one year and satisfied that they were making changes to address our concerns, we signaled to [the Office of Residential Life, or ResLife] that they would be able to return to program housing for 2016-17.”
Velaise further described the plans.
“The new conduct ResLife has asked program houses to comply with apply to our organization just as they would any other program house,” Velaise wrote in an email to The Argus. “We will continue to serve the Wesleyan community according to our mission statement and values.”
According to Director of ResLife Frances Koerting, Psi U also submitted a written plan in the spring, which was approved by Whaley and Culliton.
“I am happy that Psi U was able to return to program housing this year, not only for the sake of the members living in the house, but for the contribution they make to student life on campus,” Koerting said.
Similarly, Whaley expressed excitement about the contributions that Psi U will make to the campus community this year as a result of their return to program housing.
“Psi U remained active and engaged throughout all of last year despite not being in their house,” Whaley wrote. “I’m looking forward to seeing what they will accomplish now that they have their space back.”
Psi Upsilon’s committed stance to creating a safe space stems from previous incidents that forced the house to become closed. On Aug. 3 of last year, University President Michael Roth announced the plan to suspend Psi U’s housing status for the 2015-16 academic year due to allegations of illegal drug activity occurring in the house. As a result, the fraternity still held events and participated in rush, but members could not live in the house.
“I am really excited to be living in Psi U as a woman this year, and have already heard so many great conversations and ideas about how to continue changing our organization,” Gilmore said.
Velaise emphasized the importance of making sure that Psi U stays open and inclusive to the community.
“As we reopen our doors to the campus community, it is our hope that all Wesleyan students feel welcome in our halls,” Velaise wrote. “To this end, we encourage any and all campus groups to approach us with ideas for events, student-group collaborations, performances, and anything else the Wesleyan community may have to offer our campus.”