Future of Wesleyan's DKE frat in hands of judge

Wesleyan University sued over coed housing po... 03:15

The future of a fraternity at Wesleyan University will be in the hands of a judge Wednesday.

University officials are requiring the frat to admit women and provide housing for them, and frat members are accusing the school of discrimination.

There are just two fraternities and one sorority on campus, reports CBS News' Adriana Diaz. Only 4 percent of the student body participates in Greek life -- and that number could soon be smaller.

The university plans to shut down Delta Kappa Epsilon's frat house because it says members did not comply with a new school directive to include women.

"I think it's a really tragic loss for the campus, but also for my brothers," said the fraternity's vice president, Will Croughan.

The liberal arts school is forcing residential fraternities to go co-ed, after a string of sexual assault charges on campus. In September, Wesleyan President Michael Roth said that if fraternities wanted to keep their on-campus housing, they needed to start admitting women.

In a letter he wrote, "Women as well as men must be full members and well-represented in the body and leadership of the organization."

Later, the university relaxed its request asking that fraternity housing be open to females.

DKE is the only all-male fraternity left on a campus that prides itself on being progressive. Even some of the bathrooms say they're open to anyone regardless of gender identity or expression.

"We are the minority on a campus like this...A lot of us are blue collar guys, you know, we're on sports teams," Croughan said.

"We're not advocating for like fraternities or for white men to not be able to hang out together," sophomore Abby Cunniff said. "We're just saying the structures of fraternities have a lot of resources."

Resources the school wants available to all students.

Cunniff and senior Chloe Murtagh agree.

"Societally, I hope we're almost done with institutions that bar women," Murtagh said.

Cunniff said rooms for six female students has been offered to the university.

DKE began making plans for female residents, but Wesleyan said those plans lacked details and wouldn't be ready before the deadline. DKE's housing privileges for next year were revoked, and the fraternity sued, requesting a temporary injunction enabling it to stay open.

"I think it's kind of unfair that you can't have a house where you celebrate brotherhood," Croughan said.

He said he would go as far as to say the members of the fraternity are being discriminated.

"For the university to say, 'I'm sorry, all resources must be available to all people on campus,' that is not discriminatory, that is alleviating discrimination, that is reducing discrimination," Murtagh said.

"Title IX, which is the federal law governing gender equality on campus, specifically makes an exception for fraternities and sororities. It's a recognition that sort of living arrangement in and of itself isn't discriminatory," attorney Kathleen Eldergill who is representing the fraternity said.

There's also concern that women may not want to live in the frat house, Croughan said.

"Even a lot of the girls that we know ... they're like, 'Well, yeah, we'd love to live with you guys, hang out with you guys, but the bathrooms are gross,"' he said.

The school declined CBS News' request for an interview.

It will submit its final evidence in the case Wednesday.

A Connecticut judge now has 120 days to decide whether this chapter of the 170-year-old fraternity will see one more year.