Wesleyan University’s residential fraternities must start admitting women within three years, the Connecticut institution’s president and the chairman of its Board of Trustees wrote in an email to the campus on Monday.
“Our residential Greek organizations inspire loyalty, community, and independence,” wrote the president, Michael S. Roth, and Joshua Boger, the board chairman. “That’s why all our students should be eligible to join them.”
The change is not sudden. In April a group of students and faculty members called for the change, citing what they described as fraternities’ role in fueling campus sexual assaults. The university’s all-male fraternities—and an alleged sexual assault that took place at one of them—were featured prominently in a February article in The Atlantic entitled “The Dark Power of Fraternities.”
Some alumni and other observers have taken to Twitter to hail the change:
While I’m not, like, stoked about the existence of Greek life overall, I think Wesleyan made 100% the right move re: co-educating frats.
— Ella Dawson (@brosandprose) September 22, 2014
I know this will be a big change to @wesleyan_u. And I think in many ways it’s for the better. Frats became too unsafe and untrustworthy.
— Hannah Berkman (@berkwerk) September 22, 2014
So proud to be a @wesleyan_u alum today. Decision to co-educate frats good first step towards safer campus for all.
— Danny Blinderman (@Blindmandb) September 22, 2014
Some of the university’s peer institutions have also eliminated all-male fraternities. Trinity College, in Connecticut, decided in 2012 to make its fraternities coed, citing a rise in drug and alcohol abuse at the Greek organizations.