After the nearly week-long Coalition Against Fraternity Violence sit-in garnered widespread news attention and galvanized the campus and the nation, Phi Psi and DU announced on the evening of Tuesday, April 30, their decision to disband. President Smith, in an email to the campus community later that night, emphasized the healing process that the community must go through now in the wake of student action and the bitter strife between anti-frat activists and members of the fraternities and their supporters.
President Smith followed-up this email with an additional announcement a few days later, meant to concretize and jump-start this healing process. Standing at the entrance of the still under construction Biology Engineering and Psychology building (BEP), she enthusiastically revealed that the fraternities (rejoined by administration behind the scenes) will be relocated to the brand-new building upon its completion.
“I appreciate and celebrate the dedication and effort that student activists put into voicing their concerns and fighting for their beliefs,” said Smith. “They clearly demonstrated how adamant they were that the Phi Psi and DU houses should belong to all students, not just a small privileged group. As a result of their tireless efforts, we have decided to reallocate these spaces for underprivileged and marginalized communities of students. We hope that this demonstration of restorative and transformative justice will serve as a small yet significant step towards making this campus more equitable and safe,” she said.
Smith’s announcement soon turned to the building at hand.
“In that same spirit of restorative and transformative justice, directly inspired by these valiant student activists, we have decided to reallocate the BEP for use by fraternities,” Smith said. “Transformative justice is not just about restoring what has been lost, but directly addressing those who have been wronged. This form of justice commands us to investigate closely, to study the areas of deficiency in which lacking or discriminatory circumstances harmed a certain group. We must then establish new spaces that address these issues directly,” she explained.
“The fraternity houses are, in terms of interior design, less than ideal.” Smith said. “The floor is covered in a congealed beer, the walls are covered in dust, the couches are covered in dried semen, and the refrigerators are covered in mold. These facilities are outdated. They have remained mostly unchanged for over a century. Brothers have been subjected to these poor conditions for far too long. This is clearly a continuing injustice that we had to address,” she said.
President Smith continued by explaining how this reallocation of the BEP directly addresses this harm that was done.
“The BEP is our newest, most modern facility. The floors are not sticky from years of alcohol spills, and the refrigerators are not a biohazard. There are huge windows and skylights that let in plenty of natural light, an environment which will aid in the drinking of the beer of the same name,” Smith said. “The location is also much better, being close to Sci Quad and less than a minute’s walk from every academic building.”
Refraining momentarily from lauding the new facilities, Smith questioned the original mission of the activists.
“To be honest, I’m really not sure why they were so passionate and particular with their demands that those two specific houses be reallocated. To be honest, they are probably some of the worst structures on this entire campus. Really seems like they could have done better, like they got the short end of the stick,” she said. “Oh well.”
Other facilities will also be changed to accomodate this process of transformative justice. The records of the Friends Historical Library will be gutted and replaced with an exhaustive directory of (redacted) Phi Psi minutes.
To make room for the new fraternities in the BEP, the biology, engineering, and psychology departments will be moved to Olde Club. Theatrical productions there will continue on the weekends.