NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A group of Yale students says the era of gender discrimination needs to end and that allowing females into male-dominated fraternities is a start.
They formed the group Engender and believe women should have the same social and economic opportunities as men. Their first fight is allowing women into male-only fraternities on Yale’s campus.
Executive Board Member of Engender, Gabriel Roy, says they’re not asking for radical change.
“If you have been following the ‘Me Too’ movement then you know what happens when men who are in positions of power abuse that power and fraternities are no different,” Roy told News 8.
In the wake of discussions they spurred about gender integration within Greek life, several fraternities cancelled recruitment activities over the weekend.
“People are saying time is up for male dominated institutions,” Roy continued.
Executive Board Member, Ry Walker, said just because it’s tradition doesn’t make it right.
“You wouldn’t create spaces like this today if we were just starting,” Walker said.
A Senior Associate Dean at Yale University, Burgwell Howard, says it’s not his position or that of the school on who should or shouldn’t attend a rush or recruitment event saying, “We continue to support all manner of fraternity and sorority life on our campus- whether they are all-male, all-female or co-ed. The criteria for who participates in their processes is up to their national organizations and local chapters.”
Yale students expressed their views with News 8.
“I think it’s a great idea and always to be more inclusive is something Yale values,” student Kelly Speltz said. “I think we always have to be reassessing what we’re doing and making sure what we’re doing is the best for the campus and not just because it’s the way things have always been done.”
“At the end of the day they have sororities too,” Marcus Reneau said. “You want that separate space, but you don’t want it to be uncomfortable for anyone.”
A spokesperson for the North-American Inter-fraternity conference fired back at Engender with the position they’re not following Yale’s own regulations for student activities saying:
“It would be disingenuous for those not eligible to join an organization to participate in recruitment events.”
Executive Board Member, Arese Uwuoruya, says their fight is just beginning.
“It’s about getting people to rethink the tradition,” Uwuoruya said.
Engender also believes that by creating gender inclusive social settings, our society can help combat sexual harassment, which they say disproportionately affects women.