Prof exempts 'black fraternities' from call to abolish frats
A professor at Occidental College who is well-known for calling for the “abolition” of college fraternities recently noted that “black fraternities” should be an exception.
Lisa Wade, a sociology professor at Occidental College, argued in May that fraternities should be abolished because they “hoard power” for “wealthy white men,” and because of the dangerous party culture they promote.
“Let me be clear: Abolition is the only answer. All social fraternities—alongside the sycophantic sorority life that they exploit—must go,” Wade wrote for TIME [emphasis in original].
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On Monday, NYC-based musician Jason Minnis tweeted at Wade to express concern about her push to ban fraternities, saying, “I dont [sic] see how you can square being an ally to POC in white spaces with banning historically black fraternities & sororities in said spaces.”
In response, Wade softened her view towards black fraternities and sororities, arguing that black fraternities could be an exception because “POC-serving frats are MUCH less problematic than historically white ones.”
Black fraternities sometimes “don’t look like [traditional] frats,” Wade argued, adding that they occasionally don’t have a “house,” and sometimes “women join,” thereby making them distinct from white fraternities.
Instead of abolishing black fraternities, Wade proposed that they could “persist as one of the many orgs on campus aimed at creating space and support for marginalized/traditionally excluded students,” adding that she hopes there is a “concerted effort” to protect these POC fraternities in the move to abolish all other fraternities.
Minnis tweeted back that “without the support of my NPHC fraternity #PHIBETASIGMA and black Greek life as a [whole] there is no way I would have made it.”
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As Campus Reform reported last week, Wade’s views on masculinity may also help explain her perspective on fraternities.
“The problem is not toxic masculinity; it’s that masculinity is toxic,” Wade wrote in an essay for Public Books, adding that masculinity is “simply not compatible with liberty and justice for all.”
Wade is best-known for her book American Hookup (2017), a feminist deep-dive into the sex lives of college students, which has been praised by numerous media outlets including The New York Times and The Huffington Post.
According to her CV, Wade is an influential academic who has given dozens of lectures on topics including “how feminism can save relationships,” “hookup culture on college campuses,” and “the role of the public intellectual.” She has also won awards from the American Sociological Association and a Teaching Prize from Occidental College.
Campus Reform reached out to Lisa Wade for comment, but she did not respond in time for publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen