My fourth night at school, I went with some friends to Rugby Road, where the fraternity houses are located. They are built of the same Jeffersonian architecture as the rest of the campus. At once august and moldering, they seemed sinister, to stand for male power at its most malevolent and institutionally condoned. I remember standing there thinking I’d made a terrible mistake. It wasn’t worth it, I decided. The next day I withdrew from the university.
I had a miserable semester back at home, working in a department store and looking for somewhere else to go to school. But the truth was that I wanted to go to Virginia. I went back in the spring, and while few things have had as a profound an effect on my life as my UVA education, my deep mistrust of the fraternities limited the ways I engaged in life on campus and almost robbed me of the education itself.
If you want to improve women’s lives on campus, if you want to give them a fair shot at living and learning as freely as men, the first thing you could do is close down the fraternities. The Yale complaint may finally do what no amount of female outrage and violation has accomplished. It just might shut them down for good.