Two Swarthmore College fraternities disband after documents reveal references to ‘rape attic’
SWARTHMORE, Delaware County — Two fraternities at Swarthmore College have disbanded after former members’ racist, misogynistic, and homophobic behavior was revealed in internal documents, according to the New York Post.
Some former members referenced sexual assault and a “rape attic,” the Post reported.
Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon have agreed to disband and give up their houses at the suburban Philadelphia liberal arts school, according to president Valerie Smith. The decision was made after documents from 2013-16 were released anonymously last month to two campus publications.
“Still, as a community, we have much healing to do,” Smith said in a statement early Wednesday. “We have heard heartbreaking stories from students who feel unwelcome to the point of wanting to transfer out of our community. Those stories have come from across the spectrum of our student body – from student protesters to fraternity members.”
The leaked documents revealed Phi Psi engaged in “deeply disturbing, unacceptable behaviors and practices at the college, Smith said, including racist, sexist, and homophobic comments, graphic depictions of sexual encounters and references to Delta Upsilon’s “rape tunnel” and “rape attic,” the Post reports.
There is no evidence that any currents students participated in the alleged behaviors, according to Smith. But an internal investigator will look into it, she added.
The two fraternities confirmed the decisions to disband in separate statements.
“The content of the documents released is unacceptable, and we understand the long-term impact of the documents on our fraternity’s culture as a toxic element that cannot continue to exist on Swarthmore’s campus,” Phi Psi’s statement read. “We cannot in good conscience be members of an organization with such a painful history. Unfortunately, the wounds are too deep to repair, and the best course of action for all those involved is to disband the fraternity completely and give up the fraternity house.”
The development follows a sit-in at Phi Psi’s house that began Saturday as students demanded that the fraternity be shut down after the documents surfaced in April.
One student who took part in the protest told the New York Times that she was sexually assaulted by a member of Phi Psi when she was a freshman and that the presence of the “rape attic” was not a secret on campus. Goldberg, 22, said she also warned administrators at least 20 times about locked rooms at the fraternity houses.
“I’ve told the fraternity liaison,” senior Morgin Goldberg said. “I’ve told the dean of conduct, I’ve told the old dean of students, I’ve told the new dean of students, I’ve told the president.”