Yale University is under investigation for violating Title IX. It's not because its sports programs aren't equal, or because fraternities outnumber sororities -- it's much worse. Title IX states that any university getting federal funding cannot discriminate on the basis of sex. Sixteen Yale students have come forward with an official complaint stating that Yale is a sexually hostile environment. The Office of Civil Rights has launched an inquiry to determine whether the allegations are true, and if so, if female students therefore cannot participate as fully in campus life as men do.
If Yale is found to be in violation, its federal funding, which was around $510 million last year, will be abolished.
After reading the students' complaint, Yale University officials should be embarrassed. These are some serious allegations that show Yale's non-response to sexual misconduct on campus is not only disheartening, but despicable.
The students' complaint lists high-profile events on campus that took place over the last seven years. To list a few:
- Pledges of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity marched through the part of campus where freshman live chanting, "No means yes, and yes means anal!" They also yelled, "My name is Jack, I'm a necrophiliac, I fuck dead women, and fill them with my semen!" The frat boys cheered them on.
- An email was sent out ranking freshman women on how many beers it would take to sleep with them: Sober, five beers, ten beers, and blackout.
- Fraternity boys went to the Yale Women's Center after midnight one night and yelled, "Dick! Dick! Dick!" then posted a picture of themselves on Facebook holding a sign that read: We Love Yale Sluts.
- Yale participates in the national "Take Back the Night" rally for combating sexual violence. The women were heckled by passersby and t-shirts women made during a healing process talking about their rape were stolen.
In some of the above cases, the university disciplined those involved, but never issued anything stronger than a reprimand. Female students lodged complaints after each event, but were never satisfied with the resultant action. And I can totally see why.
Yale, as do many exclusive universities of higher learning, has a reputation for being a boys' club full of entitled students with notions of grandeur and aristocracy. Hollywood has picked up on this generalization, and many movies have portrayed male characters at Ivy League schools as sexist assholes in polo shirts and loafers. If the investigation proves that Yale was in fact in violation of Title IX, maybe the depictions weren't so far off.
The Office of Civil Rights will determine if the incidents listed above, paired with countless others, have indeed hindered the female student experience on campus. In my opinion, I can't see how they wouldn't.
I'm not as upset about the fact that male students on campus acted this way, I'm more upset about how the university didn't act. Their silence and brush-it-under-the-table politics have only perpetuated, if not completely allowed, such behavior toward women. The students have a case, and I hope it's heard. I'm horrified.
What are your thoughts on this case?
Photo via Pascal/Flickr