Student leaders at Washington University in St. Louis want school officials to evict the “disproportionately wealthy and white” men in campus fraternities and give their buildings to “historically marginalized” groups.
Writing in Student Life for himself and almost 50 leaders of WashU student organizations, Student Union President whines that while campus fraternities have a total of nine houses on campus, while underrepresented organizations have but three.
Miao (left), a triple major in political science, sociology, and women, gender, and sexuality studies, contends the fraternities “have done nothing to earn the space they occupy.”
What’s more, when the fraternities were first established, blacks were not yet allowed to enroll at WashU and fraternities across the country had routinely barred minorities — even using so-called “Aryan clauses.”
But worst of all, there’s ample evidence fraternities are bastions of “alcoholism, hazing and sexual assault”:
Research has shown that fraternity housing is responsible for so many of the harms that Greek Life perpetuates on WashU’s campus […] By granting a small group of men exclusive access to a residential space for their members at a central location on campus, paired with little to no accountability for interpersonal violence or conduct violations, fraternity houses enable toxic masculinity, rape culture and violence to fester.
Miao and Co. wonder why, for example, an a cappella group doesn’t have their own house. And student identity organizations can use the fraternity buildings “to explore their identities, build community and be surrounded by peers who have shared lived experiences.”
We are calling for Washington University to terminate their housing contracts with IFC fraternities, and publicly commit to reallocating fraternity houses as affinity space for Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, MENA, low-income, international, LGBTQIA+, female, Muslim, Jewish and differently-abled students. Students from diverse backgrounds have long been tokenized by WashU, without receiving the necessary material institutional support to ensure our voices are uplifted.
Among those signing off on Miao’s letter are the president of WashU’s Women & Non-Binary Multi-cultural Association, the directors of Latinxpresión, a facilitator with Transcending Gender, the president of Teaching Racial Understanding Through Honesty, and the president of Burning Kumquat.
IMAGE: YouTube screencap; Linkedin.com screencap