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What’s Up With All These Fraternities Winning High-Profile Court Cases Lately?

wesleyan university dke delta kappa epsilon court case

Last week, it was announced that University of Virginia Phi Psi would be awarded $1.65 million from Rolling Stone as a result of the magazine’s publication of lie-filled shitshow “A Rape on Campus,” which was published back in 2014 and defamed the everliving fuck out of the UVA Phi Kappa Psi chapter and some of its members (as well as UVA’s administration). A rare courthouse win for a fraternity in 2017. Skip to 10:16 below on the most recent episode of the Inside TFM Podcast to hear us talk about it:

Then, just two days later, ANOTHA ONE!

From Hartford Courant:

A jury Thursday sided with Delta Kappa Epsilon in its claim against Wesleyan University over the closure of the DKE fraternity house on High Street in 2015.

The six-member jury spent about six hours deliberating Wednesday and Thursday before finding that Wesleyan violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, made negligent misrepresentations and interfered with the fraternity’s business relationships.

The jury awarded damages of $386,000 to the Kent Literary Club, DKE’s Wesleyan alumni chapter. The verdict does not automatically reopen the fraternity house, but allows DKE to seek “equitable relief” in court to argue for reinstating the fraternity’s housing status.

To those of you who haven’t been following the Wesleyan DKE case, this probably just seems like a fraternity suing for being wrongfully shut down. While that’s true — and precedent-setting in its own right, considering it’s now clearly possible for other fraternities to follow suit if they so choose — the full reason behind why they sued Wesleyan, and the fact that they won, is much more impactful for Greek life.

The fraternity sued Wesleyan in 2015 after administrators revoked DKE’s program housing status when it claimed the chapter did not submit an adequate plan to meet a requirement for fraternities to admit women. DKE members have not been allowed to live in the house at 276 High St. since the start of the 2015-16 school year.

This is a massive victory for fraternities. It’s been a long-held belief within the Greek community that the death of the traditional fraternity/sorority system would come about from the forced admittance of persons into chapters with no input from the chapters themselves, essentially turning these intentionally private groups into very public ones. While this is very arguably unconstitutional (the First Amendment protects freedom of peaceful assembly), no precedent-setting case has actively countered the idea of coed integration until now. And while yes, the precedent has technically only been set in the state of Connecticut in this particular circumstance, it gives fraternities in other states a firm leg on which to stand should they be unfairly shut down under similar circumstances.

What do you guys think of all this fraternity winning lately?

[via Hartford Courant]

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Jared Borislow

Jared Borislow (né The DeVry Guy) is a Senior Writer for Grandex Inc and a 2015 graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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