Two Swarthmore College Fraternities Disband After Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Two fraternities at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania have voluntarily disbanded after being suspended following leaked documents where former fraternity members discussed sexual misconduct. The documents were first published by The Phoenix, Swarthmore’s campus newspaper. The documents, which are described as “minutes,” were allegedly written by former Phi Psi fraternity members between 2013 and 2016. The authors described activities that contained racist and homophobic comments, and also discussed sexual misconduct. In one instance, the documents used racist language to discuss a member’s sexual interaction with a Black woman, according to The Phoenix. The documents also discuss a woman who was filmed engaging in a sexual act with consent, and a “rape tunnel and a rape attic” in the Delta Upsilon (DU), another fraternity on campus, according to Voices.

Following news of the allegations, both fraternities announced on Tuesday that they have disbanded. In a statement on Facebook, the Phi Psi fraternity said they were “appalled and disgusted” by the documents and “cannot in good conscience” continue to be members of the organization. “We condemn sexual violence, racism, homophobia, misogyny, and discrimination in all of its forms, and we will continue as individuals to work to create a campus where these issues are eradicated completely,” the organization wrote. “We hope that our decision will help the campus achieve transformative justice for those who have been harmed and promote institutional healing.” The documents were anonymously sent to both publications, and reportedly included pictures of fraternity members "kissing, groping, and touching women," according to Voices. In one passage of the documents, the Phi Psi fraternity made jokes about sexual assault. Delta Upsilon announced its decision to disband on Facebook. “Over the last few weeks, Swarthmore Delta Upsilon has listened to the concerns and feelings of the campus community. After much discussion, the members of Delta Upsilon have unanimously decided that disbanding our fraternity is in the best interest of the Swarthmore community,” the fraternity wrote. “We hope that our former house will provide a space that is inclusive, safe, and promotes healing.” Swarthmore College President Valerie Smith released a statement following the fraternities' decision to disband, stating the college “respect these students’ decision to take this action.” Smith said the college will continue to investigate but said there is “no evidence that any current student participated in the behaviors documented in the unofficial ‘minutes.’” “Without question, those materials provide a vivid account of deeply disturbing, unacceptable behaviors and practices. They have brought deep pain to our community, and they are antithetical to all that our community values,” the statement read. “They also serve as a reminder that Swarthmore is not immune from the systemic problems that exist throughout society.” “We remain committed to fully investigating any allegations of sexual misconduct and violations of the student code of conduct that we receive from students or any member of the community. If you have information about an assault or other inappropriate behavior, please report it so we can investigate,” the statement continued.

About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.