Swarthmore College Students' Sit-In Demands These Fraternities Are Held Accountable
On Monday, students at Swarthmore College, a small private school in Pennsylvania, completed their third day of a sit-in and protest inside the Phi Psi fraternity on campus. Swarthmore College students' sit-in began on April 18, after a pair of student-run organizations released internal documents from the Phi Psi fraternity at Swarthmore. The goal of the sit-in is clear: that the college terminate the building leases for two fraternities (the other one is Delta Upsilon), and reallocate the space for organizations representing women and minority groups.
You can read the full PDF of the released documents here. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the documents from Spring 2013 and Spring 2014 use derogatory language toward women and minorities and joke about sexual assault. In one entry, for example, the author wrote,
Just taking over one building at a time until we possess enough building space to start our own milf sex trafficking ring. God that would be hot. Anyways, it was so packed in Phi after the concert that I was legitimately scared of being accused of sexual harassment for rubbing up against so many tits. Every time I turned around I felt like I just whacked a girl in the cans. Sluts.
In response to the release of the documents, the Swarthmore Phi Psi fraternity published a statement on Facebook, which condemns the language in the documents. It reads in part,
We were made aware of two articles that are being released regarding unofficial internal communications. We wholeheartedly condemn the language of the 2013 and 2014 notes, as they are not representative of who we are today. All our current brothers were in high school and middle school at the time of these unofficial minutes, and none of us would have joined the organization had this been the standard when we arrived at Swarthmore.
Delta Upsilon, whose fraternity is mentioned briefly in the documents, also issued a condemnation of the documents, according to Philadelphia Magazine. As for Swarthmore, the college's president has postponed fraternity activities pending an investigation, and has invited the local police force to support the investigation, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. No one has been charged with any crimes. According to the AP, the documents haven't been verified.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that students are sleeping both inside of the fraternity house and in tents on the fraternity lawn. Some of the students belong to the Coalition to End Fraternity Violence, which was formed in response to the documents. The publication also notes that the students conducting the sit-in have made banners to hang on the Phi Psi building, reading "This house is ours" and "Nothing has changed. Admin knew all along."
If you want to support the Swarthmore students participating in the sit-in, there's actually an option to donate to the PayPal account of the organizing group (Organizing For Survivors), which helps the group pay for food, supplies, and more. You can also keep track of the sit in progress by monitoring the hashtag #humansofthesitin, or following Organizing for Survivors on Twitter.