Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Hostile Sexual Environment" at Yale University

A group of 16 Yale students and alumni feel that there has been a significant increase in the amount of negative sexual activity on campus in the past few years that has resulted in a "hostile sexual environment" at Yale. Some of the most prominent examples of this negative sexual activity include the case of the Delta Kappa Epsilon brothers. As I'm sure many of you have heard, back in October of 2010 DKE pledges went around campus singing, "No means yes! Yes means anal!" Another related case occurred in January of 2008 when Zeta Psi pledges stood in front of the Yale Women's Center with posters that read, "We love Yale sluts." While not all incidents have revolved around the misconduct of fraternities, they seem to be the ones that have received the most public attention. Many feel that the university has not taken these events seriously and that nothing has been done to enforce a change in this behavior. As a result, on March 31, 2011, these students voiced their complaints to the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. The OCR is now going to launch an investigation of Yale University for this hostile sexual environment that is in violation of Title IX.

Seeing as I am not an actual student at this university, I think it's hard to understand exactly what this "hostile sexual environment" feels like for the typical student. However, I can't imagine that being a female on this type of campus would be easy. I find it extremely shocking that a university, especially one as prestigious as Yale, would wait until a suit is filed against them before taking serious action on this issue. It makes me wonder what they were waiting for... did there have to be a certain number of these cases? Did the cases actually have to include some type of physical contact to warrant concern?

Also, why is that these fraternities thought that this was acceptable? Given that the brothers made their pledges say these statements, it is clear that they have some idea as to how inappropriate it was because pledges are always asked to do things that the other members would not want to do. However, why did they not realize that these statements were not just somewhat wrong, but completely wrong?

A link to the article can be found at!5787805/title-ix-suit-filed-against-yale-university-for-hostile-sexual-environment

Elizabeth O'Donnell
NPA volunteer

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