The brotherhood at Wesleyan University is about to come to an end.
The Middletown, Connecticut, university announced it will put an end to all-male residential fraternities. The century-plus-old Delta Kappa Epsilon and Psi Upsilon fraternities have three years to become completely co- educational.
“This change is something that Wesleyan and the fraternities have been contemplating for many years, and now the time has come,” reads an email from university President Michael S. Roth and Board of Trustees Chair Joshua Boger.
“The university looks forward to receiving plans from the residential fraternities to co-educate, after which it will work closely with them to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
The move comes after several incidents of drug abuse, freak accidents and rape allegations propelled large numbers of alumni, students and faculty to sign a petition demanding the fraternities loosen their closed ranks and start admitting women.
Things at a fraternity Beta Theta Pi deteriorated so much it was dubbed the "Rape Factory" and banned from campus for a year.
However, the frats aren't immediately setting up shop for women. A Beta Theta Pi spokesperson says they are still in the process of "reviewing the new rules."
"The fraternity is working to better understand the specifics of Wesleyan University's decision to force its fraternities with chapter houses to become co-educational. As that analysis continues, the leadership of Beta Theta Pi seeks to strongly underscore its belief that there is a purposeful place on college campuses for young men to come together and forge the bonds of fraternal brotherhood as they develop academically and prepare for a lifetime of civic duty."
This isn't the first time a university has demanded frats go co-ed. Educational institutes including Trinity College, Middlebury and Colby did away with single-gender fraternities decades prior and say they are all the better for the change.
The fraternity and sorority system began centuries ago when students, who wanted to meet secretly usually for discussions and debates not thought appropriate by the faculty of their schools, got together to create clubs with selected and "privileged" membership.
Nowadays they have become social, professional and honorary groups with tightly controlled membership and activities that range from co-curricular activities to those that verge on the brink of lawlessness with drinking, sexual abuse and hazing.
The change will hopefully improve the sense of community and somewhat develop a balance, much needed across educational institutes of the country.