The New York Times recently published an article on sexual misconduct at Yale. The article speaks on the growing concern for the amount of sexual misconduct on the campus.
Suddenly, however, these episodes have the campus in a state of high alert. Yale acknowledged last week that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights was investigating a complaint filed by 16 students and recent graduates, accusing the university of violating Title IX, the federal gender-equality law, by failing to eliminate a hostile sexual environment on campus. The complaint alleges a range of acts against women, from taunts to assaults, over seven years.
Various questions have been raised about Yale’s response to the activity occurring on their campus. Many have criticized them for not being vigilant enough when it came to disciplining students, and investigating crimes. There is this notion that the university is more willing to protect their free speech and fraternity culture than their female population, which constitutes slightly more than half of the student body.
Administrators said they sympathized with those who were unhappy with the disciplinary process. Punishing students in public episodes like the chanting is complicated by a hallowed tradition of free speech on campus, as well as by fraternities’ independence from the university and by confidentiality requirements that prevent Yale from naming students it disciplines.
We can only hope Yale becomes more alert to problems occurring on their campus. Their failure to acknowledge and investigate incidents is extremely troubling, and only promotes intolerance and fear on the campus. There is no excuse for the negligence displayed by the university, and we applaud the 16 women who have stood up and demanded accountability on their campus.