Resident Assistants Call to Action: Revoke Fraternity Leases
The Resident Assistants (RAs) of Swarthmore College call on the College to immediately and permanently revoke the leases given to the fraternities on its campus. As RAs, we are given the responsibility of ensuring the safety, wellbeing, and happiness of each and every student. This responsibility is incompatible with the existence of fraternity housing.
The documents detailing past and current actions, conversations, photos, videos, events, and incidences in the fraternity houses, in the words of Dean of Students Jim Terhune, describe “vulgar and offensive language used and behavior [… that] contradicts the stated values of our community and is in direct violation of our policies.” The well-documented evidence of homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, classism, ableism, and sexual violence that has occurred in and around fraternities and the houses they lease leave no room for interpretation. The culture that would allow such behavior is toxic to a healthy, safe community – and yet the College has failed to remove the symbolic and literal nexus of that culture for many years. The time to do so is now.
If Swarthmore College truly believes in the mission of Resident Assistants, and wishes to foster a campus life that might be free of such harm, it cannot wait to act any longer. It must revoke the leases on these spaces so that our campus may begin to heal from the harm done historically and with every passing day. That will do more to ensure the safety, wellbeing, and happiness of students on this campus than any individual Resident Assistant could alone. As role models and cultivators of an inclusive and welcoming community, we have a responsibility to hold the administration accountable for their lack of action against the fraternities. We join the Swarthmore Coalition to End Fraternity Violence and demand the College act in the most concrete way to make its students safer. To join the Coalition, please click on the following link, which allows you to submit a letter to the College calling on them to revoke the leases.
Sincerely, the following Resident Assistants:
Dakota L. Gibbs