As Swarthmore students return from March break, many are discussing the deplorable behavior at the SAE fraternity at the University of Oklahoma. For those unaware of the incident, a video surfaced of members of the fraternity chanting racial slurs. Other SAE chapters have also been accused of racial misconduct. If these accusations are true, the SAE fraternity should take action, and those fraternity members who have done wrong should be held accountable.
The Swarthmore community can take pride that Swarthmore’s Delta Upsilon has set a model that should be followed by fraternities across the country. We would venture to say very few groups on campus contribute as much to the larger community as the Delta Upsilon fraternity. While many on campus associate us primarily with our role in facilitating the social scene, our impact is much broader than just that. The following are a few examples of our recent and upcoming campus initiatives:
Every year, we work with Maurice Eldridge ’61 to help to sign students up for the Red Cross blood drive. Thanks to impressive participation from the college community, our members are routinely able to fill all slots.
For the past two years, Delta Upsilon members have volunteered at All Riders Up, a local non-profit in Garnet Valley. ARU is owned by a Swarthmore alum and provides horseback riding lessons for the physically and mentally disabled. DU is now recruiting other members of the Swarthmore community to join in the trips to ARU.
In the Fall, we organized a Dodgeball Tournament to raise funds for Philabundance, a non-profit that serves meals to families in need. Fortunately, the tournament provided over 1,600 meals. We are now organizing a spring three-on-three basketball tournament, to be held March 27, and hopefully will raise around $1000 for All Riders Up.
Every fall, we volunteer at the Swarthmore Friends Meeting House to help them prepare their annual Jumble Sale. We also assist them with landscaping and join them in playground-cleaning to create a safe space for their children to play.
To commemorate Women’s History Month, DU has invited Jamie Stiehm (Swarthmore ’83) to speak about Swarthmore alumna Alice Paul and the women’s suffrage movement. This event will will take place in the AP dorm lounge on March 23. (Starts at 7, refreshments provided!)
Delta Upsilon has also taken important steps to combat sexual assault. Currently, we are partnering with the Title IX House in promoting the screening of Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In. The Mask You Live In illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men. We also work with Nina Harris and Josh Ellow in annual workshops on sexual assault prevention, bystander intervention, and drug and alcohol safety.
A core tenet of Delta Upsilon is to “build better men.” Not only do our members help the community with positive conduct, but we also hold our members accountable for any misconduct. Our members are not perfect, but we are here to learn, just as all college students are. We believe that the actions of our organization clearly demonstrate our impact on the campus community.
Delta Upsilon will continue to do our part to make Swarthmore a vibrant, socially responsible, intellectually engaging, and, above all, safe space for all students. While we appreciate the support we receive from many on campus, we are frustrated that some members of the community choose to turn a blind eye to our positive actions, relying instead on assumptions that, since we post Greek letters on our house, we are no different from groups such as Oklahoma’s SAE. When we are mocked for, to quote from a recent poster circulated on campus, “turning young boys into perverted men brothers,” it alienates us from the Swarthmore community. We can come nearer to our shared goal of a civil and open community if more at Swarthmore emulate our example and support our positive actions.
Nat Frum is a member of Delta Upsilon. Brian Kaissi serves as Vice President and Scoop Ruxin as President.