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Letter: To achieve transformative justice, the University should strengthen policy around derecognized group activity

To the Editor:

I am writing with regard to The Herald’s article on Brown’s response to derecognized group activity. I would like to challenge the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards to reconsider its guidelines on student affiliation with derecognized groups. If the school is going to respond to drugging and hazing incidents at fraternities like Phi Psi and Sigma Chi with five-year suspensions but not by banning them entirely, what can the University really expect? The OSCC’s new policy states that student affiliation with derecognized groups can now result in reprimand or even expulsion. But if these fraternities can eventually get their Wriston dorms back, the University is naive to think they won’t continue throwing parties and recruiting new members off campus, as Phi Psi (rebranded as Lantern) has. These fraternities have committed serious harm to their members and to other members of the Brown community, so telling their members that their frat can come back after five years is not enough to achieve restorative justice. As Yolanda Castillo-Appollonio, the senior associate dean of students and director of student conduct and community standards, said herself, sending these frats off campus while they wait for reinstatement can pose a greater threat to the community, since they no longer face any official oversight.

In my ideal world, we would find a way to phase out fraternities entirely at Brown. We would by no means be the first university to do so. But even if their members claim there are legitimate reasons to keep them on campus, we must have a better method for reprimanding them than sending them underground for several years and allowing them to come back, entirely unscathed.

Alina Kulman ’21


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