News & Opinion | May 2, 2019 9:41 am

Swarthmore “Rape Attic” Fraternity Disbands After Campus Controversy

Both fraternities at Swarthmore College announced they would voluntarily disband

An Organizing for Survivors protest at the Phi Psi frat house. (Organizing for Survivors/Facebook)
An Organizing for Survivors protest at the Phi Psi frat house. (Organizing for Survivors/Facebook)

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A pair of fraternities at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania announced they would voluntarily disband following protests after historical documents where members of the Phi Psi fraternity discussed topics including getting date-rape drugs and a “rape attic” were shared by campus publications.

As a result, the branches of Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon at Swarthmore, an elite liberal arts school, have “decided to disband and relinquish their houses,” according to school president Valerie Smith.

Though the leaked documents generally chronicle activity in 2013 (before current Phi Psi members enrolled in college), there are both earlier and later entries.

Protesters, who staged a sit-in at the Phi Psi house following the release of the documents, believe the dangerous fraternity culture that clearly existed in 2013 continues on campus to this day.

In a letter to the community, Smith said there is no evidence any current student participated in the behaviors documented in the leaked documents but an external investigator will still conduct a review.

“Without question, those materials provide a vivid account of deeply disturbing, unacceptable behaviors and practices,” she wrote. “They have brought deep pain to our community, and they are antithetical to all that our community values. They also serve as a reminder that Swarthmore is not immune from the systemic problems that exist throughout society.”

Phi Psi and Delta Upsilon both posted messages on Facebook condemning the content of the documents and calling for healing.