Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:26 PM
Subject: Litigation Against Psi Upsilon
Late last night we learned that a survivor of a sexual assault had filed a lawsuit against the Psi Upsilon fraternity at Wesleyan and its national organization. We have not spoken publicly about this matter out of concern for the survivor’s privacy. Now that civil proceedings have commenced, on behalf of the university community, I want to express our horror at this shameful assault. Sexual violence will never be tolerated on our campus. Our internal investigation of the incident, which took place last spring at an event held in violation of university regulations, led to the perpetrator’s dismissal from the university and sanctions against the fraternity and individual members of it.
At Wesleyan there are three residential fraternities. Their buildings, housing a total of 67 students, are owned by their respective organizations. While these fraternities have had some autonomy, all have seen increased scrutiny over the past few years. We intend to focus our attention on improving the safety of these spaces. There is already a Title IX Task Force led by the Board of Trustees in coordination with our Vice-President for Equity and Inclusion, which is working to ensure gender equity throughout the Wesleyan educational experience. In addition, we will be gathering information to present to the Board as it considers what role, if any, residential fraternities will have on our campus in the future.
Sexual assaults on college campuses are not, of course, only a fraternity issue. This is a national problem, and it’s important to raise awareness about these heinous crimes. I look forward to working together with all campus constituencies to continue to improve our ability to care for survivors, vigorously pursue perpetrators, and create a positive campus climate in which sexual violence has no place.
Michael S. Roth