The following are selected comments from those who signed the petition. To read additional comments, visit here.
Class of 2011
I’m just a woman who, like all others, has to deal with unwanted advances every day that make me feel uncomfortable and unsafe. Yale is my home, it’s supposed to be my haven where I can escape that. Feeling preyed upon by the members of my community makes me wonder if there is really anyone who takes my feelings seriously and thinks of me as a human being and not a piece of meat. And that’s not ok.
This egregious behavior needs to be addressed in the same way that one would denounce a group marching around on campus shouting ethnic or racial slurs. Hate is hate. Intimidation is intimidation. Yale needs to take a firm stand.
Class of 2001
I have two close Yalie friends who were victims of date rape. Both were empowered, assertive women, and the men were otherwise nice guys. All were victims of a culture (often called Rape Culture) that asserts messages like the ones DKE is promoting, that encourage men to see sex as conquest and to push forward when women say no, and encourage women to play hard to get instead of always saying what they want or don’t want. Yale needs to be active in fostering a community that rejects these messages and engages in creating a positive and respectful sexual ethic.
This kind of “masculinity” must no longer receive administrative sanction.
Class of 1995
I think it’s essential to be blunt here: in a very literal sense, these students are promoting rape. It’s truly that simple. How can Yale’s administration possibly stand by while its own students gleefully promote such a crime and foster an atmosphere in which it’s even slightly more acceptable? If Yale’s administration does not speak up quickly and forcefully against such disgusting behavior, it will be shameful at best and dangerous at worst.
Class of 2005
President Levin: make me proud to be a Yale alum not just by condemning this act but by making sure it never occurs again. Zero Tolerance.
Class of 1944
I am ashamed of the Yale administration’s weak reaction to this incident. It would have well behooved them to immediately shut down DKE for the remainder of the school year to emphasize that it will not tolerate such behavior on Yale property. This is not a prank; this is an outrage. And, if I were a young woman considering Yale as my university, I would think again.
Graduate student 2012
I am disgusted and appalled that such statements have been so lightly punished. We unfortunately live in a society where women are, in many ways, treated like second class citizens and are often victimized in horrendous ways. I am ashamed to attend an institution that has taken such an un-progressive approach in its reaction to this “chant” and fearful of the message that it sends to both male and female students.
M.Arch Yale 1969
Just as unsettling as the original DKE inappropriate behavior is the myriad of responses to the YDN stories from Yale students who choose to not understand why it was so wrong in the first place.
In any diverse community, it takes constant care and thoughtfulness to make sure that all members are treated with equal respect. Fairness does not happen by accident; fairness requires planning, guidelines, discussion, and clear naming of ugly and bullying behavior. Yale and other colleges long tolerated anti-Semitism and other forms of racial prejudice, and for the most part that is gone, thank goodness. Now let’s get to work on sexual discrimination and make it something that used to happen but happens no more. Yale’s motto is “light and truth”; let’s take a strong stand against darkness and lies.
Class of 1981
I fear, after reading Dean Miller’s statement, that hateful acts such as these aren’t seen as isolated, trivial incidents, but rather as part of the way things *should* be — as if there’s some kind of political dialog going on, in which the idea that sexual assault is OK should be accorded legitimate recognition even as it’s politely argued against.
Class of 2012
Women’s rights and safety are not a joke. This behavior is a norm at Yale, and it’s not okay. As a woman on campus, I have been the target of sexist and racist attacks by Yale males. I’m tired of being ‘jokingly’ put down and silenced.
Class of 1983
Rape is common, both here in the US, as well as in countries where it’s used as a weapon of war…Americans can joke about anything we want in private. That’s free speech. But using language in public that threatens others’ safety by reminding those others of the violent acts they may be subjected to isn’t okay. The Latin root of the word university is a community of scholars. When I was at Yale, women had only recently arrived. When I was at Yale, there were no fraternities. If the frats can’t respect that, in a community of scholars, no one should have to fear for his or her physical or psychological safety, they should (once again) be abolished.
Class of 1972, GSAS 1975, JD 1976
The DKE chants are the equivalent of Nazi slogans or KKK hoods. They are not just rudeness that Yale women should be expected to ignore. Rape and the fear of rape are used to intimidate – and in some instances terrorize – women. How the Yale College deans respond to this incident will show whether women truly are regarded as full members of the Yale community.
When I heard about this incident from my daughter, class of 2011, I felt sick and ashamed. Sickened that expression has been dumbed down to violence cloaked in vulgarity, and ashamed that offense and violence in language is condoned, or maybe even scarier, not recognized.
Class of 1966
The Yale administration needs to take this issue very seriously. We should be a leader, not a laggard, in condemning behavior such as this.
Class of 1984
We fought so hard in the 1980s for equality. I’m ashamed at the culture on campus now.
Class of 2008
Shame on you, Yale. Yet again.
GRD 1975, Faculty
It’s time for clear leadership to denounce this as strongly as possible!! Actions should be taken that would lead to the removal of DKE from campus.
Class of 2008
Yale should be a place where women are free from threats of sexual violence.
Class of 1957
If Yale, as has been reported, admits less than 10% of its current applicants, why then does this presumably elite cohort still harbor such clowns?
I‘m disappointed that Yale is hesitating even a second to denounce DKE’s actions. The fraternity members’ message, aired in public, undermines the atmosphere of mutual respect that is fundamental to learning and living together.
Class of 1970
Questions for those who marched and chanted:
Why would you want to join an organization that asked you to do this?
Why would you want to associate with others who agreed to do so?
Do you still plan to pledge and join DKE? If so, why?
What have you learned from this experience?
I am not an uber-liberal, but I do believe (a) that women belong at Yale and have a right to peaceful enjoyment of their experience here and (b) that those who do not share this view do NOT belong at Yale
As a parent of a daughter at Yale, I find the behaviour of the DKE frat unconscionable. In this day and age, at an institution like Yale, how can these actions be tolerated? Aren’t you nurturing the leaders of tomorrow? Are these the graduates that will make Yale proud? Action must be taken to show that as an institute of higher learning you actually believe in what you stand for and it is not empty words. These young men are old enough to know better. There is no excuse and it can no longer be chalked up to “boys will be boys”. In this day and age it doesn’t take a Yale graduate to know that this behaviour is unacceptable. If those were racist chants…a slap on the wrist and a simple apology would not be tolerated…why are slurs against women minimized as “pranks”? When will the Yale administration actually stand for the women it accepts as equal participants in an Ivy League education? Maybe your admission process needs to be reviewed, these incidents are happening far too often and the response of the Administration is doing very little to create an environment in which 50% of its student body feels safe and welcome. Stand up and actually do something that ensures this will not continue.
As a Yale wife, mother and grandmother, I am appalled by the fact that Yale has not taken drastic action to stop this type of sexist behavior on the part of the DKE members. Moreover, what is the mission of a great University, if not to educate its students on the meaning of a free society, its obligations and responsibilities to all.
GSAS 2004, former faculty
This is outrageous and a slap in the face of all the women who have forged their way at Yale. The administration must condemn it in the strongest possible terms.
Class of 2012
There are people on this campus, (men & women), who have been the targets of sexual, physical, and verbal abuse because of their sex and/or gender. To hear the misogynistic words of the DKE members (& see petty responses to such callous behaviour –e.g. the YDN on “right” feminism) does more than promote an unhealthy culture on campus. Such hate speech also refreshes those traumatic experiences for people (whether it happened in their childhood, during high school, as graduate students or undergraduates, whatever point in their life). The pain, politics and psychic harm of moments when their bodies, minds, and humanity were not respected, let alone considered, are remembered & felt again.
Class of 2007
More than just treating sex as a conquest, the chants condone rape, glorify it, and trivialize it as something to joke about. Disgusting.
After seeing much more proactive responses by administrations of other Ivy-league institutions towards threats of sexual violence, I am surprised by the complacency of the Yale administration and saddened by the need for this petition.
As a brother and boyfriend to two different Yale students, I would hope that the university strives to foster an environment free from acts of sexual intimidation. As someone that often recruits and hires individuals from this institution, I hope that Yale students and the administration appreciate that such transgressions would find no tolerance in the employment and alumni networks that are pivotal to this institution’s continued success.
Class of 2008
This must be the year that the University finally breaks from its hypocritically milquetoast attitude to such incidents, alarmingly common in a supposed “community of scholars”. The rape culture that the University has enabled by its slaps on the wrist, “community dialogue sessions”, and other woefully insufficient past responses perpetuates a damaging environment not just for every freshman woman who sat in her dorm anxiously watching a large gang of her (no doubt) heavily intoxicated male peers actively call for her physical violation, but for the young men who, in the absence of serious reprimand, are taught that THIS is an appropriate way to “be a man” in our society. The University must not, through its own cowardice, continue to erode the safety and, in fact, stunt the growth of its students as healthy, brave, and compassionate human beings.
Class of 2010
Every year this happens and every year they get away with nothing but bad press and giving an insincere apology. Yes, the administration should take a strong stand against this type of behavior, but so should the student body. Boycott DKE. Make them realize that they should be ashamed to be associated with a fraternity that has a reputation of being at best idiotic, and at worst hateful and malicious. Boycott DKE and any other group that actively seeks to offend and intimidate other people just because our campus and our country has granted them freedom of speech. Friends shouldn’t let friends join DKE.
Class of 1988
Violence against women will flourish anywhere this sort of behavior is not censured.
Class of 2000
As we have seen in the spate of now 6 LGBT teen suicides, the silence of an institution around systematic violence taking place on school grounds is equal to complicity. As an undergrad, I knew Yale rape survivors who chose to stay silent. Students should know, clearly and without a doubt where the administration stands in terms of a planned and organized action to deny the rights of people to resist rape and call it what it is.
Class of 2001
We don’t stand for it, and neither should Yale.