Dear Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council,
Recently, myself and many other student activists have become concerned with some specific gender and sexuality issues on this campus, particularly regarding social climate. These concerns were revealed to be common among Bucknell students during the Bucknell Student Government’s 2014 Campus Climate Panel. We are aware that discussions are taking place to pinpoint positive changes that can be made to make this campus a safer and more accepting place. I, and other student/faculty activists, would like to raise an issue that we believe is relevant to these discussions.
Several participants in the Campus Climate Panel have raised concerns regarding the practice of “ratios.” That is, the practice of requiring first–year (or unaffiliated) men to bring a certain number of women to downtown parties in order to gain admittance. It is understood that several fraternity organizations have ventured away from exercising this practice, and we hope that this will be the continuing trend moving forward.
Our concern is that the system in place not only objectifies women, excludes men, and promotes heteronormativity, but that this system also equates women to a sort of currency. We are afraid that first–year men may develop the mindset that women are the “payment” expected of them in order to gain access to the social atmosphere of Bucknell, or face exclusion as a consequence of their failure to “provide” women as a commodity. Meanwhile, we also fear that some fraternity brothers may inadvertently become conditioned to view these women as some kind of “reward” for providing social atmosphere to students outside of their organization. We see such mindsets as incredibly dangerous, especially in connection with the attitudes of sexual assault perpetrators. We believe that as a campus community, we must take decisive steps against this culture of objectification and commodification of women, and in order to do that we must pinpoint specific practices, such as ratios, which need to be modified.
What we are asking of you as leaders in the Greek community is to actively discourage ratios, and any social practice based on commodification and gender exclusion. We ask that you take an active stance within your individual organizations, and within the broader Greek community, in order to encourage positive changes in these social practices.
Overall, we seek to create a safer and more accepting campus environment where sexual assault and gender/sexuality discrimination is not such a prevalent plague to our community. Only as a collective group of conscious individuals and members of the greater Bucknell community can we influence a positive change in our social culture.
I thank you in advance for your receptiveness, and look forward to continuing dialogue in order to create positive changes to our campus environment.
Justin Eyster ’17, unaffiliated
Francisco Alvarez ’15, Lambda Chi Alpha
Aida Woldegiorgis ’16, unaffiliated
Lindsey Ruff ’16, Alpha Delta Pi