"Hell Week" is a longstanding tradition at Bryn Mawr, a tiny women's liberal arts college in Pennsylvania with fewer than 2,000 students; some students call the event both "fun and meaningful…" and "one of the greatest moments of their undergraduate career." Radnor Dorm celebrates by holding a "debutante ball" where frosh "come out" by being escorted down a staircase and receiving a dorm schedule with tasks to complete.
This semester, events got a bit out of hand. According to this letter from the Dean's Office, some of the community violations that occurred included:
- Requiring first-year students to swear alliance to Radnor over a keg.
- Creating potential for injury by playing wiffle beer (essentially baseball with beer cans and a wiffle bat.)
- Smoking indoors (cigarettes during the trial; a hookah during the party.)
- Requiring first-year students to go outside for "class photo" but in reality dumping water on them. (Unclear if a photo was really taken.)
- Telling first-year students to stand outside, wet and some without shoes, and listen to the Radnor goddess speech.
"It is clear from this long list of violations...that immediate steps must be taken to foster significant culture change in Radnor," the letter states. As a result of the night's activities, all Radnor Dorm Presidents resigned, all current Radnor customs people were relieved of their duties, and every upperclass student in Radnor is required to write a letter of apology to the Radnor first-years.
It's definitely refreshing that there's at least one university administration that's actively committed to changing a culture it feels is problematic. But considering the way fraternities and sororities at other colleges have recently behaved — offensive scavenger hunts, racist and sexist theme parties, etc. — the massive divide in severity seems extreme. Mass resignations for wiffle beer games? Is that necessary? We guess some goddesses don't like getting their hair wet.
(image via Sophias Philai)