Time Magazine reports that The Department of Education and Yale have come to agreement on a resolution from complaints related to an incident in October of 2010. The agreement calls for enhanced education, awareness and prevention on issues related to sexual harassment. It also includes an improved grievance process, and enhanced communication on campus. This article from Time also provides some background on this case, and other campus approaches to addressing sexual assault and climate.
The complaints to the Department of Education resulted from Yale’s response to an incident involving pledges from the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter at Yale. The DKE new members where marching around campus and involved in “sexually explicit chanting.” Their actions were captured on video and posted to YouTube (here is a news report from a group called TheYoungTurks that includes the original video.) The DOE investigation focused on a “sexually hostile environment” existing on campus.
This incident was also partially responsible for the distribution of a “Dear Colleagues” letter from the Civil Rights Division within the Department of Education outling a school’s responsibilities in dealing with issues of sexual harassment and climate. It is worth a read for any working in any level of education.
In May of 2011, Yale announced that Delta Kappa Epsilon had been banned from campus for a minimum of five years as a result of this incident. However, since DKE is not a registered or recognized student organization, the ban has very little impact on the chapter’s operations. The Yale chapter of DKE was established in 1844. It is the founding chapter of DKE, and President George Bush and President George W. Bush are alumni of the chapter. The Yale chapter remains listed as active by the international organization, and the chapter’s website is active (although much of the material is blocked). With this background, it is not surprising that the international organization chose to continue to support the chapter (the details of its probation are not public).
This is another demonstration of how organizational group-think can push a situation into a national news story. Our fraternities need to recognize that the simple thought of doing something like this is reprehensible, let alone choosing to do it in public. A fraternity with strong connections to its own stated values would never reach this point.