Staff ed: House 5 offers look into the future

Washington University announced Tuesday morning that the former Phi Delta Theta fraternity house will be designated as a communal living space for black students for the 2018-2019 school year. It should be noted, though, that the University now joins its peer institutions—Cornell University, Brown University, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, to name but a few—who have housing for black students. For the University to fully live up to its highest ideals (and be an elite institution), it should be a leader in making positive changes on its campus instead of playing catch up.

The Student Life Editorial Board hopes that this decision is only the first of many that the University makes to make the school more equitable for all its students. In coming to this decision, Dean of Students Rob Wild and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White were receptive to student input, and we are eager to see more such collaboration between the administration and the student body.

One way to continue that collaboration is for the University to seriously explore the creation of a future living space for members of the Women’s Panhellenic Association. As of now, all nine sororities at Wash. U. are unable to host events in a space they can call their own. As Greek life grows at Washington University, it’s time for the administration to demonstrate its commitments to inclusivity and protection for all members.

To students: Take note. We hope all members of the campus community realize—regardless of whether they are affiliated with a large, organized student group—that by raising their voices, they can make significant change on campus. Notably, the University’s decision comes less than a month after Student Life’s Matthew Wallace specifically advocated for fraternity living spaces to be assigned to “minorities and women” as part of a series of articles regarding the administration.

After initially being asked to poll around to get a general sense of interest in the house, both groups were able to reach the threshold of 30 signatures in a matter of days. The possibilities are out there, and students are interested. These developments highlight that Wash. U. students are passionate about improving our campus community and that they can accomplish great things through collective action.

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