Following allegations of racial discrimination at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon party held Oct. 30, Dwight Hall has withdrawn its endorsement of the “Movember” campaign — originally supported by Dwight Hall in coordination with SAE, Chi Psi, Sigma Nu and Delta Kappa Epsilon — and cut ties with all fraternities on campus for the remainder of the semester.
“After learning of the allegations about Friday night’s events, the Dwight Hall Student Executive Committee decided to end its own publicity for the Movember campaign and to suspend its relationship with fraternities at this time,” Shea Jennings ’16 and Jonathan Yu ’16, co-coordinators of the Dwight Hall Student Executive Committee, told the News in a statement.
According to the statement, Dwight Hall had already recommended that individual fraternities handle their own publicity for the Movember campaign — a monthlong initiative aimed at promoting men’s health, including raising money for prostate cancer and other health-related issues — before the alleged SAE incident occurred, citing an apparent lack of enthusiasm from the fraternities. However, in light of the recent SAE allegations, Dwight Hall decided to formally end its own publicity as well and to suspend its relationship with Yale’s fraternities.
The suspension of the relationship reaches beyond the Movember fundraiser. SAE President Grant Mueller ’17 said fraternities will no longer have access to other volunteer opportunities previously available through Dwight Hall. He added that the relationship between the organizations will be reassessed at the beginning of next semester.
Chi Psi President Taylor Rogers ’17 said the fundraiser was only one part of a larger effort to expand collaboration between the Greek community and Dwight Hall in order to facilitate an increased impact on the New Haven community. While Rogers said he does not think the decision to cut off ties with all of the fraternities is necessarily fair, he added that he places no fault on Dwight Hall. The sad part for him, Rogers said, is that Dwight Hall’s decision is understandable.
“It disheartens me that our group, which has no part in any of this, is being punished, and the money that was going to be raised is not going to be raised anymore,” Rogers said. “I also understand, though, that [fraternities] are an entire community, and we represent something … and right now we longer have that support.”
The SAE incident has prompted larger discussions about Greek life at Yale, as several different Greek organizations have considered their role in promoting a diverse and inclusive campus.
Yale’s four sororities, which are not directly affected by the Dwight Hall announcement, have been taking steps to address the current situation and contribute to the creation of a more inclusive and safe space at Yale. The Yale Panhellenic Council, a representative government that coordinates formal recruitment for the sororities, alongside the presidents of the sororities — Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Phi — is hosting a discussion for women within the Panhellenic community on Tuesday night.
“The conversation on campus the last couple of days reminds us that we as a sorority have a responsibility to promote inclusivity,” said Mary DuBois ’17, president-elect of Theta. “Theta is taking this issue seriously and we are seeking an active role in bettering the campus climate.”
DuBois added that Theta sent members of its executive board to the open forum at the Afro-American Cultural Center that took place last Wednesday. The sorority will also hold a conversation about diversity and inclusivity within the sorority and welcomes possible collaboration with other campus organizations.
According to an internal Pi Phi email obtained by the News, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Pi Phi cancelled a mixer that was originally scheduled for this past Saturday. The fraternity decided not to host any events “in light of the recent scrutiny of Greek life,” the email said.
Fraternities have also been working to promote change within their own organizations. In addition to attending the same forum at the Af-Am House, Rogers said he recently sent an email to leaders of the Greek community soliciting interest in the possibility of an interfraternity council. Such a collaboration, which does not currently exist, would help fraternity leaders recognize and address flaws in the current fraternity system, he said. Similarly, Mueller said SAE is currently awaiting administrative approval to host an open forum to address the issues of race, socioeconomic status and sexuality relating to Greek organizations on campus.
Still, in light of recent events in response to SAE’s alleged “white girls only” party, Mueller said the campus climate has grown increasingly tense. On Friday, he flew home to Houston, Texas, because he did not feel safe on campus. He returned last night. Mueller said he was spat on by a male student and added that he did not attend any of his classes last week because many of his classmates were the same people who confronted him during the forum held at the Af-Am House last week. Mueller said Dean of Student Engagement Burgwell Howard, Mueller’s residential college dean and several other administrators told him it may be best for him to be removed from the situation.
In the meantime, Dwight Hall has stood firm on its decision, with leaders emphasizing that the organization does not condone racism, misogyny or any other form of discrimination.
“As a student-led organization that works to further social justice, we are committed to hearing and validating the voices of marginalized members of our community,” read the end of the Dwight Hall statement announcing the suspension of fraternity partnerships. “We welcome the opportunity to work with any individual or group that shares this commitment and is willing to demonstrate it through words and actions.”
Founded in 1886, Dwight Hall is the country’s largest campus-based and student-run service organization.