Student Activists Renew Call To Allow Women Into Fraternities At Yale

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Some students at Yale University say they want to see females allowed in fraternities, claiming it will impact relationships on campus, in the workplace, and later in life.

As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, fraternities and their houses are often associated with privilege, exclusion, and bad behavior.

“There’s a lot of discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault,” student activist Will McGrew said. “Why is that?”

The members of the student group Engender believe it’s because women are routinely excluded from the frat houses. They say Yale is no exception, so they’re encouraging women to participate in the fraternities pre-pledging activities.

“I would hope that women being a part for fraternities would create a better, more positive environment for everyone and would probably lessen sexual assault in their houses,” Brooklyn native and Yale freshman Jojo Attal said.

But some say it’s not just about life on campus.

“It becomes about teaching these young adults how to collaborate with people regardless of their gender in the workplace later on,” Yale junior Natalie Schultz-Henry said.

Political leaders and captains of industry are often members of elite fraternities like the ones on Yale’s campus.

“It would help with networking,” one female student said.

Perhaps the only people not in favor are members of the fraternity, but one brother told CBS2 they were instructed to not comment on the issue. A spokesperson for the organization that represents a number of Yale’s fraternities said in a statement, “We believe a unique community of support is created through single-sex organizations, like fraternities, and they have great value in today’s campus communities. Students who join fraternities find valuable leadership, academic and personal growth opportunities through brotherhood and the fellowship of men. Fraternities have been proven to prompt greater retention to graduation, are linked to higher well being, and in a time where research shows that college students are experience higher levels of loneliness, provide a sense of community and connection.”

A representative of the university says they support all fraternities and sororities on campus, but criteria for who can participate in their activities and become members is determined by each national organization and local chapter.