Delta Upsilon Backs Sorority Proposal

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

The members of Delta Upsilon (DU) are in full support of sororities on campus.

We believe that welcoming a sorority to our campus community would be a great way to increase the diversity of student groups. A sorority provides women on campus a wonderful opportunity to join both nationally and internationally affiliated groups, creating the possibility to network with influential people all over the world. Speaking from Swarthmore Delta Upsilon’s experience, Swat DU members have made countless contacts with both Swat DU and international DU members.

Some of the most powerful people in the world have been members of the Greek community. DU’s alumni body includes Nobel Prize winners, authors, CEOs, and political figures. Adding a sorority could potentially add to Swat’s legacy, as existing Greek organizations on campus have and continue to do. Delta Upsilon’s motto is “Building Better Men,” a motto which influences each member. We believe another group which would produce better people through camaraderie and mutual support could only be a good thing.

Swat has become a very different place since sororities were removed from the campus community. The Greek organizations on campus, which may have had shortcomings in the area of diversity and inclusion in the past, have become some of the most diverse and welcoming groups on campus. Swat DU currently includes members from all over the world as well as the United States, with a wide array of economic, religious and cultural backgrounds. We believe that a sorority on campus would not have the same issues that sororities have historically faced.

We have had many great experiences working with campus groups in the past. Some of the work we have done recently includes working with Swat Survivors in hosting speakers interested in educating the community on issues of sexual assault prevention, as well as the Clothesline Project and our involvement with LaSS in hosting social events on campus. We have found working with campus groups to be a very rewarding experience and would look forward to working with a sorority to better the community.

Sean Mangus ’13 is the Vice President of Membership Education of Swarthmore Delta Upsilon.
Tramane Hall ’12 is the Vice President of External Relations of Swarthmore Delta Upsilon.


  1. DU Members;
    You outline the things you do and “continue to do” as the following:
    – Establish camaraderie and brotherhood among members.
    – Connect with a large and prestigious networking base.
    – Get involved with women groups on campus.
    I think freshman year I once got my hand stenciled by a DU brother on Parrish Beach in support for a movement to stop sexual assault. I think once I saw an Utz cheese puffs container with a sign soliciting donations to a charity one of the time I walked into the house. So I’m not saying that DU is absent from any kind of interface with the community at large. I’m just calling shenanigans: when I see a charity fundraiser in the weekend events or a big sheet hanging off the balcony of Sharples advertising support for anything other than getting drunk, then I’ll be willing to take this response as a serious representation of your image on campus.

  2. Hey ZW’12,

    Just this year, the members of DU have helped organize the Blood Drive, attended a SAFER Campus workshop with Swat Survivors to help prevent sexual assault, and networked with a range of alumni both in New York and at Swarthmore during this weekend’s Alumni event. Since your time here, the brothers have never failed to participate in the Clothesline Project and handprint pledge, and we will be doing so again this spring. In addition, each brother has a mandatory community service event each semester – last spring, about 15 brothers and I went to a local food bank to help pack and separate food for several hours on a Sunday afternoon. Finally, the leaders of LaSS came to the house last week to discuss a combined party, which will be taking place in the spring.

    But you’re right, we do also have parties. And unlike Fraternities at other schools, our parties are not exclusive and we don’t charge. We are free and open to the entire campus, and many students take us up on our offer to come and socialize, even if it is just a few times a semester. Isn’t that community involvement in itself? You ask for a notification in the weekend events or a sharples banner. Maybe you’re right, maybe we should have announced the blood drive (I know I got plenty of emails from Maurice). The SAFER campus event was closed and by signup only. You will see DU actively working with the Clothesline Project in the spring, with or without a banner (though there usually is one).

    I guess I’ll just end with a question. Would it help the camps community if we were more vocal about our involvement, or would it come off as shoving it in your face?

    -DU Brother

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response. No, I don’t think it would be shoving it in my face at all. In fact, I’m really inspired by DU’s participation in SAFER Campus, not charging for parties, and the food bank donation. Maybe you guys are the type of people who just do good without feeling a need to shout it from the rooftops (or hang it on a sheet, to use my snarky metaphor.) That’s commendable to boot.

      Hm. Your question gives me a lot of food for thought. I think it has more to do with execution than intention: take, for example, the blood drive. Come to think of it, I do remember DU brothers tabling for the blood drive. But, the reason I remember is because I’m not allowed to give blood, and that institutional exclusion combined with the [really quite necessary] amount of active selling involved in tabling felt a little harassing. So of course it’s good to try to get people to give blood, even if I can’t be one of them; but it’s a matter of execution rather than intent.

      One last reiteration: I might be at fault for having my snark get in the way of my message, but what I was saying was this: I don’t think DU should shy away from the fact that among other things, y’all also create a space for the campus to socialize with or without alcohol involved. To define yourself in a way that omits that, I think, looks like hiding something shameful when it doesn’t have to me.

      • Hi ZW 12′

        I think there was a few unfortunate misunderstandings in writing your unnecessary and misinformed comment. The statement that Swarthmore Delta Upsilon put forward for the Gazette was in regards to the sorority issue on campus, not to “define” ourselves. I’m sorry that this was not made clear. If you would like a list of community activities, would like to help Swarthmore Delta Upsilon in its community activities, or would like a list of the many things that possibly define Swarthmore Delta Upsilon just shoot me an email (smangus1) and I would love to send that your way!

        Also, we did not outline how we “Get involved with women groups on campus”. We highlighted some of the ways be interact with groups on campus. A rereading of our statement should make that more clear. One of the two groups we mentioned was a women’s group, LaSS, the other being Swat Survivors which I don’t think is exclusively a women’s group. We only hope to work with a possible sorority in addition to the other many groups we work with.

        I hope your comment was not written through a lens of needless resentment, only through misunderstanding. As other brothers have pointed out, Swarthmore Delta Upsilon works very hard to better the community.

        • Ok, I’ll shove my head in the lion’s mouth a little further, because I really want you to understand me and I want to understand you.

          First off: I wrote before that my snark MIGHT have gotten in the way of my message, but clearly it did. I apologize, and hope you can put that aside and read through it. I read DU Brother’s post and thought to myself, “Oh! I forgot about those things! This changes my attitude. Let me backtrack a little.”

          Second off: you might not give a dictionary definition of what your organization is, but you totally define your organization through your outlining of what a sorority could have to offer Swarthmore. Passages where I think you do this include:
          1) Speaking from Swarthmore Delta Upsilon’s experience, Swat DU members have made countless contacts with both Swat DU and international DU members.
          2) Delta Upsilon’s motto is “Building Better Men,” a motto which influences each member. We believe another group which would produce better people through camaraderie and mutual support could only be a good thing.
          3) Swat DU currently includes members from all over the world as well as the United States, with a wide array of economic, religious and cultural backgrounds.
          4) We have had many great experiences working with campus groups in the past.
          I don’t think I’m off base to say that the rhetorical tack you’re taking is “DU does these good things, and represents these good things. Sororities could do the same.” By using that approach, you’re implicitly defining yourself. It’s like saying, “DON’T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT!” and then rebuffing elephant-conjurers by saying, “well I told you not to think of an elephant…” That’s George Lakoff (2005) talking though, not me.

          3) As I think I illustrated in my response to DU Brother, once I know about the kind of things that you guys do in terms of outreach, I’m really impressed by it all (even when I can’t participate à la blood drives.) What I’ve said, and will gladly say again, is this: why is it a bad thing to say, “Yeah, among these other things, we offer a social space for people to unwind and [god forbid] let loose?” I mean, you certainly mop up after the rest of us after throwing a party, and pay enough dues to make sure we all can drink for free. Thanks for that! That’s awesome! Why shove that shamefully under the table?

          π) Let me apologize again: I think I wrote a response in the heat of the moment that certainly read as resentment. I’m sorry I wrote that response in a such a way. I don’t resent anyone in DU, except for that one time I and a friend got booted of the Beirut list, but that’s miniscule so I don’t want to count it. Now by the same token, I don’t appreciate you calling my views unnecessary. I don’t appreciate you calling me misinformed, when all I’ve done was read what you wrote. You’re a VP for education: I’m going to hold you responsible for educating the campus at large about what you’re organization does because it seems as if you’ve taken up that role a) in your job, and b) in this post. Maybe I’m misreading your title, and if so I apologize. I just think you’re lumping me into the belligerent queer kid who hates all things that might be mainstream, when I don’t feel like I belong there.

          TL;DR: 1) sorry for my snark earlier, 2) definitions don’t just live in the dictionary, 3) drinking needn’t be shameful, π) take me seriously, please.

    • Totally unrelated, but the SAFER Campus event wasn’t closed – just we only had 50 spots and I purposefully asked DU and Phi Psi first (along with other related groups like WRC, SwatFems, ASAP, CLP, SWOCC and SMART) if they had interest because I figured it would be more up their alley. Together, the 2 groups took 29 spots and 46 were taken in total by those groups. And unfortunately, my campus-wide e-mail to advertise the last 4 spots never got out, so it was mistakenly closed.

  3. Hey Sean, it sounds like you and the brothers do some great stuff for Swarthmore and that you yourself feel badly for the women who don’t get access to all this great stuff (not to mention the many trans and genderfucked students at Swat who wouldn’t necessarily feel at home in either a frat or a sorority). So why not just toss aside that silly gender exclusivity component and just accept pledges regardless of gender? It’s not like your recruitment numbers are staggeringly high, and womyn are just as capable of running a blood drive, fighting sexual assault and playing beer pong all the live long day. What is it about gender exclusivity (besides maintaining the patriarchy) that enhances your Greek experience? You point out yourself that your parties are free and open to the community, in what way is the remainder so masculine that girls just couldn’t handle it? Or is it just that they have girl cooties? You can dismiss me as a snotty alum with too much time on their hands (lord knows I am one), but I think if you actually could articulate some value for your little ‘no girls allowed’ schtick, people might actually get why this is important to you.

    • To me this is really the heart of the issue but I’d guess brothers aren’t too into the idea, and I’d hate to be part of a frat that is being forced to accept me. So what should the ladies do?

    • Delta Upsilon as an organization is a lot bigger than just our chapter here at Swarthmore. While I am not certain of this, I think we would have to lose our status as a member of the national group in order to accept females.

    • YESSS. Thank you. Why can’t we have it all? While I think the institution of Greek life is wack in its enforcement of gender binaries, what if Swat -ity-fucked the status quo of the sorority/fraternity institution? ‘kay, Swatties, let’s think of names.

  4. Hey Nina, you are absolutely correct about the ladies. If Swarthmore is going to continue to have male-only fraternities, it should also accommodate women-only greek organizations as well. Given the miniscule size of Swarthmore’s ‘nightlife’, I can see how women might feel that in order to ‘go out’ they have to enter spaces that aren’t entirely comfortable.

    As to the brothers not being into my idea, I don’t know if we can actually say that. Maybe the majority of them would be happy to open up our frats into co-ed, service-oriented, firstyear-disorienting force for truth, justice and drinking irresponsibly…er, American way! (same diff)

  5. Alum

    I don’t feel the message board of a copy of a statement about sororities is an appropriate forum to discuss the many questions you have. I would love to explain my position on the issues you brought up. Send me an email (smangus1) because unfortunately I don’t even know your name. Swarthmore Delta Upsilon is in favor of sororities on campus for the reasons listed in the statement.

    In regards to the community not having access to the benefits of DU, I want to reiterate that we would love for others to be involved in our community events. Again anyone with questions about these events please shoot me an email.

    I hope your statement was not made from an unfortunate misunderstanding of the wonderful group of men that makes up swarthmore delta upsilon. If you have any issues with our brotherhood I suggest you reach out and try to better get to know us so we can better answer your questions.

    • I’m glad you’re taking an active role in this conversation but you would do well to emulate Tramane’s tone and level of sensitivity. Reading his comments give me the warm fuzzies; yours give me more of the cold pricklies or something.

      • Tone?

        I appreciate your feedback however unconventional it was and am glad you appreciate my active role in the conversation. I will try and not give you the cold prickles or something and channel Tramane’s tone and sensitivity. If there is anything else I can do to accommodate you, or any other anonymous posters let me know! 🙂

  6. Hey all,

    I just wanted to make the note that the SAFER event was in conjunction with the SMART team and not necessarily SwatSurvivors (which I always write as one word, if I may add). It just so happened that I am on the SMART team as well as the facilitator for SwatSurvivors [and am still trying to spread word about SwatSurvivors as a resource] so I understand the confusion. Just wanted to point out that slight mis-representation!

  7. Sean, instead of giving out my contact info, I’ll pare it down to one question: in which ways does excluding women from membership enhance the fraternity experience? (For the sake of metaphysics, let’s assume that losing national affiliation wouldn’t be an issue.)

    • Alum,

      Like I was saying earlier, I don’t find this the appropriate forum to discuss your anonymous questions, please shoot me an email. I’ll assume that by not contacting me personally you are not interested in my answers or positions on the issue. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

      • Sean,

        I understand that you want to have a conversation with someone who isn’t anonymous, but would you consider having this on the board for the edification of others? I’m interested in hearing your answer to Alum’s question!

        I think it would be beneficial to the community at large for this discussion to happen publicly. If you’d rather not engage in this forum, I’ll totally respect that, but I sincerely hope you will!

  8. Vienna

    Thank you for yor comment, I appreciate you understanding and respect! The anonymity does frustrate me. I feel it is ineffective and unfortunate for a person to to not voice their opinions as themselves. I definitely recognize that the public may be interested in mine and my brothers poisons on the questions and issues raised. I would love to give my answers and position publicly, and agree it could benefit the community, just not on a message board. Possibly in a group discussion format etc? I really do appreciate your comment and understanding though!

    • Sean,

      I see your point, but, unfortunately, the problems with anonymity and the internet are legion.

      I also understand your reluctance to engage on a message board, but I’m concerned that there won’t be another forum for this for a while, and if you don’t clarify your positions, people will continue running with their conceptions about the frats, whatever those may be. Thank you for your response!

  9. I’m not entirely sure why the discussion of co-ed fraternities isn’t considered appropriate for a discussion on equal access to greek life on campus. From what I have read so far, it seems like a major component of the discussion on sororities concerns the idea that those who do not identify as “male” do not have the same access to 1) greek life and 2) (wet) social spaces on campus. While sororities are one way to address this issue (at least the part that has to do with granting women access), and may end up being a good one, they are not the only way. I think that allowing a discussion of all the possibilities to address this hole in Swarthmore’s social scene would be extremely productive, and would allow the community to work towards a solution together.

    Essentially, this discussion has always been about more than sororities, or at least it began that way. I don’t think we should try to limit it now.

  10. I find it very interesting that DU brothers have identified themselves as such (with or without names) and are actively contributing to this conversation all over these comment sections, but Phi Psi brothers have not. Is this just coincidence, or is there a reason it’s happening that way?

  11. Alum,

    It is not reasonable to ask us to give up our status as an international fraternity in order to accept female. A lot of people have worked very hard for the status which is also the foundation of many stuff built on top of that. And us DU Brothers are responsible for it. I can understand how it might not appear that way to you but it is not as simple as you think. In addition, as a DU member, one of the values I treasure most is the tradition we have and I believe that tradition plays a very important role in Greek Life in general not just DU. So removing the tradition of DU is pretty much removing the fundamental element of Greek Life. I though you were talking about diverse Greek Life but your method would remove DU as a Greek Institute on campus. I am sorry but if you are talking about co-ed fraternities, start one if that is what you want. Also, please talk somewhere else because this is an article stating our position about SORORITIES.

    • TTT-

      I think that I’m a little confused here, although I hope I’m not being deliberately obtuse. Given the avenues of discussion currently available on this campus, where do you think this conversation should be? This article is the one that most explicitly links the fraternities to the proposed sorority. Alum articulated some questions about the role of frats and about the possibility of being open to people of all genders. Since the existence of the fraternities has been advanced as a justification for the sorority, I feel that it’s not illogical for people to question the role of frats during this discussion.

      This may be a statement about your position on sororities, but I think the fact that you, as a fraternity, have made a statement at all rather opens you up to criticism or consideration from the community.

      Also, would you mind speaking just really briefly about the connection between the Swat chapter of DU and the national organization? As I understand it, the break between Phi Kappa Psi and the Swarthmore fraternity we know as Phi Psi came about as a result of restrictive membership practices, specifically discrimination against black and Jewish students (source: Phi Psi website). Do you think a similar thing could be possible for DU, since you appear to agree that the relationship to the international organization is a primary barrier to accepting women or trans* people? I’m not being flippant; I hope to hear from you.

  12. “The Greek organizations on campus, which may have had shortcomings in the area of diversity and inclusion in the past, have become some of the most diverse and welcoming groups on campus. Swat DU currently includes members from all over the world as well as the United States, with a wide array of economic, religious and cultural backgrounds.”

    I am unsure if this was addressed earlier in this thread or on other articles, but I have heard that members of the fraternities must pay a $500 fee each semester that they are involved in the fraternity, costs of which go mostly toward leasing and maintaining the house. Is this true? And if so, then what is the situation with brothers who cannot afford to pay the $1,000 each year?

    This is a question that would likely extend to a sorority if it were created on campus. It’s been revealed that one of the biggest reasons the sorority proponents want a sorority is that they want their own wet party space. The absolute lack of free space on campus aside, if the sorority were to get its own house or space, would it also charge its members semesterly fees? And is this possibly a source of exclusivity against pledges who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds?

  13. Dues are less than $1000/year (closer to $500/year) and the alumni corporation makes arrangements with brothers who are not able to pay.

    One of the assumptions that seems to be floating around is that fraternities and sororities (whether they are gendered, co-ed, or whatever) can just “become” out of nowhere; that a policy change to make DU or Phi-Psi co-ed would actually result in a functional co-ed fraternity and that since, in some people’s opinions, this would be more equitable and open, it should be the policy.

    That’s not how groups are formed at Swarthmore or anywhere else, and it’s definitely not how fraternity groups are formed at any college. Rather, the groups operate in some fashion for a period of time, usually gaining affiliation with a local, national or international organization before going through the gauntlet of hurdles universities put in place in their fraternity chartering process. The reason why LASS feels there should be a sorority is because they have been operating as such for the past 6 years, only without a dedicated space of their own. They want to share in the benefits they perceive DU and Phi-Psi are receiving by owning lodges on campus (I’d argue they aren’t considering the risks associated).

    Whether or not a co-ed fraternity is possible or fair is moot when no group is operating as such currently and thus has no grounds to apply for status as a fraternity (whatever that even means at Swarthmore). Groups that might be considered close to a co-ed fraternity are exclusionary in their own ways (I’m thinking I-20, SASS, SQU).

    I can sympathize with Sean’s hesitance to get into a conversation of the justness of a co-ed solution, because there are few arguments against the fairness of a co-ed group being added to the Greek life. However, it does not follow that because it’s fair to add a co-ed fraternity it is also fair to get rid of the current fraternities. I think the DU & Phi-Psi brothers would be willing to support such a group in principle but that it’s being brought up here as a replacement to their groups. I don’t think anyone on this forum has convincingly argued for the fairness of dismantling DU or Phi-Psi and replacing them with a new co-ed frat (because it would be dismantling, not just opening them up, for many reasons – national affiliation just the first)

    The tremendous amount of work, money and stress that the guys in DU & Phi-Psi have put into maintaining the fraternities over the past decades and years (and I can speak to the great job the DU boys have done) shouldn’t be discounted as unworthy of consideration in this discussion, nor should the bonds the brothers have developed or the relationship that alumni have with the chapters.

    • Hey DU Alum,
      Just wanted to make one point,
      LaSS would love a space. LaSS does not want a sorority. We don’t not one either, as a group. We are a group of women with different opinions on the issue and we’d appreciate not being automatically lumped with the sorority supporters, particularly if you are going to say LaSS isn’t thinking through a plan that is not, in fact, our plan. We are not the ones spearheading this movement, we just happen to be the closest thing that exists to a sorority right now.

  14. Fair enough; it isn’t LaSS pursuing a sorority. The point still stands, and it wasn’t that LaSS or the other groups haven’t thought through a plan, it’s that a “plan” is not enough to be considered ready to charter a sorority.

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