The following is a statement that was sent to the AC Voice editorial board by an Amherst College DKE spokesperson:
As members of Amherst’s chapter of DKE, we are embarrassed by and sorry for a historical chapter document that includes several old but unacceptable entries, and we apologize for their inclusion. These offensive entries were a few of the many that have been left in for decades without review. Still, given how grossly they contradict the values of our contemporary members, we should have removed them. We hope our fellow students will forgive us and recognize that our actions, not these dated entries, are what truly represent us.
The “laws” in question are not rules by which members of the fraternity abide. For several decades, the outgoing members have been allowed to add entries, often inside references, to the sheets. This has become tradition, and these items have no modern day relevance or governing influence. The fraternity has never exercised editorial control over old entries. No entries have ever been removed.
The eighteenth entry refers to a rumor that we cannot confirm from the early 1980’s, before coed on-campus fraternities were banned at Amherst and years before DKE was newly established under different leadership. Allegedly, a member of the fraternity told one female prospect – not all – that she would have to perform oral sex on him in order to join the fraternity. The story goes that she refused and was admitted into the fraternity. This story is an isolated incident and does not reflect any standard practice at the time. Equally humiliating is the “hein train” comment. It is over two decades old and reflects the opinion of one disgruntled member at the time. Entries eighteen and thirty, like all “laws,” were left in the sheets because no one bothered to remove them.
These dated comments do not reflect our views in any way whatsoever. Moreover, they do not reflect the complete shift in our attitudes and composition today. A brief look at the more recent “laws” reveals inanity, silliness, and even bizarreness – but none of the sexism of the few entries described above. In fact, we have referenced the old “laws” to show new members how much our group has evolved.
But this is not an excuse. In short, we are sorry. We apologize for not having the sense to strike, rather than ignore, those few entries that clearly defy basic decency or respect for our peers. We were wrong to let those entries sit in the sheets, and we apologize to all women of our College and to all those who regard these entries as degrading or triggering. We did not envision these becoming more than old, irrelevant phrases, and that was irresponsible of us. For this, we are sorry.
We are most distressed by the doubt this creates about our institution and the ACVoice assertion that these entries disprove our respect for women and survivors. Much like Amherst College has held on to certain outdated traditions, we failed to remove old entries because of an uncritical deference to the tradition of leaving the sheets intact. These entries do not speak to our actions as individuals or as an organization. We ask that our fellow students judge us by our actions, individual and collective, and not by the words of a few members decades ago that we failed to strike.