SOLIS Board Call to Action

The SOLIS (Swarthmore Organization for Low Income Students) Board calls on the College to immediately and permanently revoke the leases given to the fraternities on its campus. Fraternities are inherently exclusive spaces, and given the content of the leaked files from the past weeks, we have even more confirmation that we, as low-income students, are not welcomed in those spaces. People who live in poverty, as many students of low-income families do, are statistically at a greater risk of sexual violence. We have personal experiences of the harms that sexual violence causes in our communities, and we refuse to be silent as the fraternities create violence on our campus here at Swarthmore. We stand to protect low-income students and all students from the harm created by the fraternities.

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 our whole 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 protecting all students 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. 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.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 SOLIS Board 2018-2019