Swarthmore: Loves Fraternities, Hates George W. Bush

When you picture Greek Life in PA schools, you think Penn State, not Swarthmore. Indeed, it probably surprised few when students elected to hold a campus-wide referendum on whether to eliminate fraternities altogether. When the results came in, however, they signaled an overwhelming support for togas, pong, and the like.

With roughly 80 percent of the student population casting a ballot, students rejected proposals to disaffiliate Greek organizations from their national chapters, eliminate, reduce or make fraternity houses into substance-free spaces, or ban Greek life altogether.

The only item that passed was a measure to make frats co-ed. And that may have only succeeded because of the general confusion surrounding its terms. Some voters thought they were voting to allow dudes to join sororities; others thought they were ushering in a new era of transgender rights for fraternities. Either way, the co-ed experiment probably won’t happen, for the ironic reason that they probably stand at odds with one of the other items the school voted against.

“It would jeopardize our relationships with the national fraternity if we were to become a co-ed, gender inclusive fraternity,” said a Delta Upsilon bro. “The student body has agreed … that we should maintain our national affiliation, so that’s something we don’t want to jeopardize.” So, there you have. Literally nothing will change.

In other Swarthmore news, former World Bank chief and very pro-Iraq War Bush administration official Robert Zoellick (Swat, ’75) has withdrawn his invitation to speak at the school’s graduation this year, after student protests made it quite clear he wouldn’t be welcome. In response, a group of students has published a slobbering letter today asking that he come back. (“Moral action comes in many forms and variations.” 45 students have co-signed it as of this afternoon.