Swarthmore Women’s Field Hockey Players and Alumni Call to Action
The Women’s Field Hockey team of Swarthmore College calls on the College to immediately and permanently revoke the leases given to the fraternities on its campus. As athletes, one of the most fraternity adjacent groups on campus, we feel it is our responsibility to speak out against the violence and harm that has happened in these spaces. We have survivors among us, and it is time for us to stand up for our teammates, friends, and community. Current and past members of our team want to ensure the safety, wellbeing, and happiness of each and every student. This desire 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 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.
The frats have long been associated with athletics on campus, and we recognize our unique positionality within our community. To remain neutral on this topic would only perpetuate the culture of disregarding sexual violence that has pervaded Swarthmore’s administration for so long, and we will not act as contributors to this system of institutional injustice.
We join the Swarthmore Coalition to End Fraternity Violence and demand the College act in the most concrete way to make its students safer. We support and thank the resilient survivors and allies who are undertaking the extremely difficult yet crucial work of organizing. We urge all members of Swarthmore’s Athletic community to reflect upon where they stand in terms of support for O4S, and to ask themselves what systems of injustice they are perpetuating through their silence.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 members of the team:
Heide Van Voorhis
Katherine Ianni ‘17
Julia Thomas ‘16
Audrey Allen ‘16
Jane Blicher ‘18
Clare Perez ‘18
Nikki Phalen ‘18
Laura Hyder ‘16
Ainsley Parrish ‘16
Ursula Monaghan ‘17
Sierra Spencer ‘18
Ellory Laning ‘18
Kat Baryenbruch ‘16