Co-ed fraternities won’t solve inequality

PAIGE LISTON | | Opinion Columnist

On Sept. 22, Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, announced that on-campus fraternities must accept men as well as women as full members.

Going forward, I don’t see this idea working out.

The school believes the decision to admit women into the fraternities will lead to a decrease in sexual violence and drug and alcohol abuse, according to a CBS New York article.

Zach Siegfried, a new member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at Butler University, said joining a fraternity is based on brotherhood. He thinks allowing women to join fraternities would take away from that special bonding experience.

“I think it is a bad idea because separate brotherhood and sisterhood bonds are so important,” said Siegfried. “Fraternities and sororities have been working just fine for hundreds of years, so there’s really no point in changing that.”

I agree with Siegfried. It is important to be able to grow as an individual among people that have the same goals as you. That is an important aspect of joining the sorority or fraternity of your choice—you are making the decision to surround yourself with people you feel comfortable with.

If fraternities started admitting women, I think there would be a loss of comfort. It is only natural for men to act differently when women come into the picture and vice versa.

Delta Gamma president Evie Schultz said she thinks it is beneficial that Wesleyan is trying to be inclusive, but this might not be the best way to go about doing that.

“I value having female friends and a sisterhood, so I’m sure men do, too,” said Schultz. “Bringing girls into a fraternity would be a completely different dynamic, and I don’t see it working out.”

If this happened on Butler’s campus, I think it would be too difficult for students to adjust. Everyone is use to the idea of separation when it comes to fraternities and sororities because it has been that way forever.

Although I see why Wesleyan might want to make Greek life more integrated, that all-important feeling of brotherhood or sisterhood comradery would be lost.

Butler’s Director of Greek Life Becky Druetzler said organizations would need time to adjust to a change this significant. Even then, the intentions behind forcing fraternities to accept women could cause unforeseen problems.

“To go from saying we will help men or women to saying we will help people is quite a big change, but it takes a while for an organization to change,” said Druetzler. “It is more of a process to accomplish your end goals than just changing who is involved with the organization.”

Although making fraternities co-ed would be an adjustment, Druetzler does not think it is completely wrong.

“Some would say that this would negatively impact the brotherhood of a fraternity because they feel they have no choice in the matter, but if you look at professional organizations on Butler’s campus that are co-ed, students do seem to be thriving in that environment,” she said.

Ultimately, I do not think that allowing women to join a men’s fraternity will be a good idea. On Butler’s campus, Greek fraternities focus on promoting brotherhood bonds for life, and I think it would be a difficult and possibly problematic adjustment if women were thrown into the mix.