c/o Ava Nederlander, Photo Editor

c/o Ava Nederlander, Photo Editor

The University has reached a settlement in the Kent Literary Club et al. v. Wesleyan University et al. court case. The settlement with the University resulted in the Gamma Phi chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) and the Kent Literary Club (KLC), the fraternity’s alumni chapter, submitting a withdrawal of action on their lawsuit on Tuesday, March 22, ending the case seven years after the lawsuit was initially filed.

DKE and the KLC originally filed the lawsuit against the University in February 2015. According to KLC President Gary Breitbord ’79, the settlement was initiated in December 2021 when the University reached out to DKE. Although the final agreement included a financial settlement from the University to DKE. The Argus was unable to confirm the exact amount of the settlement. 

“Wesleyan reached out to DKE and proposed a mediation to resolve our differences,” Breitbord wrote in an email to The Argus. “In March of 2022, an agreement was reached that included a significant financial settlement to DKE.”

According to University Manager of Media and Public Relations Steve Scarpa, the DKE house, located at 276 High St., will remain off-limits to students. The fraternity remains suspended after having been found in violation of the University’s COVID-19 student agreement and hazing policy in fall 2020, leading to the group’s suspension for a minimum of two years in February 2021. 

The lawsuit by DKE and the KLC originated in 2014 after the University announced that all on-campus residential fraternities would be required to become co-educational, leading to a series of negotiations with DKE. The University eventually removed the DKE house as an authorized student housing option, leading the KLC to file a lawsuit against the University for breach of contract, misrepresentation, and deceptive practices in February 2015.

The case received its first ruling in 2017, when a jury in the Middlesex Superior Court found the University at fault and ordered it to pay almost $800,000 in damages and attorney costs. The University then motioned for review and the case was eventually transferred to the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2019. In March 2021, the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed the original ruling, sending the case back to a trial court for further proceedings.

DKE operated as a non-residential student organization throughout the duration of the lawsuit until the fraternity’s suspension in fall 2020. According to Breitbord, the KLC hopes to restore the DKE house as a co-educational, residential space on campus. 

“Our hope is that the Administration will look favorably on the undergraduates’ request for reinstatement of DKE on campus and will consider using 276 High Street as additional housing for undergraduates,” Breitbord wrote. “We are prepared to invest $5 million in implementing a fully architected, engineered and approved plan including reviews by all relevant City of Middletown departments.”

The new plans for the house include around 36 beds divided equally between men and women, suites with bathrooms and study areas, common areas, and space for a fully functional eating club. 

“We look forward to discussing our plans for renovating the DKE House with the Administration, and once again having DKE and 276 High Street as viable and important parts of campus life,” Breitbord wrote.

President Michael Roth ’78 commented on the withdrawal of action that ended the lawsuit, underscoring the University’s belief in equal housing for all students. 

“We continue to believe what we have always believed: that all Wesleyan students, regardless of identity, should have equal access to, and full participation in, all residential housing,” Roth said. 

No current members of DKE could be reached for comment. 

Jem Shin can be reached at jshin01@wesleyan.edu

Comments are closed