Friday, October 22, 2010
Headline: Nearly 2,000 Members Of The Yale community Urge President Levin To Denounce DKE
Nearly 2,000 Yale alumni, faculty, parents, and staff signed an online petition urging Yale University President Richard Levin to take a stronger stance against the behavior of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity initiates on October 13, 2010. On that night, twelve DKE pledges marched across campus shouting “No means yes! Yes means anal!”
On October 20, after two days of rapidly mounting signatures and publicity, President Levin finally made a statement expressing “dismay” at DKE’s behavior and calling upon the fraternity to “reflect deeply.” However, the signers of the petition call on Levin to condemn DKE’s behavior more strongly and to directly address inappropriate sexual speech on campus.
The petition will run in a two-page center spread ad in the Yale Daily News on Friday, October 22, during Family Weekend at Yale. It is funded by dozens of supporter donations.
The overwhelming support for the petition demonstrates that the wider Yale community—alumni, faculty, staff, and parents—is distressed by the events of last week and concerned about the culture around sexuality that such violent language creates.
“As alumni, we are concerned that Yale is allowing an environment to grow in which these incidents are seen as isolated and trivial, rather than as serious issues warranting university response,” says Sarah Anne Minkin, Yale College 1999. “Events over the last few years show that Yale needs to take comprehensive action, initiated from the top of the university, to address sexual speech on campus.” In 2008, Zeta Psi hung a poster on their house that showed fraternity members in front of the Yale Women’s Center with a sign, “We Love Yale Sluts”; last fall, an email circulated rating freshwomen on their appearance on a scale of how many beers one would have to drink in order to find them attractive.
“We are proud Yale alumni who feel tremendous loyalty to and appreciation of our school. However, events of the last few years demonstrate that the administration needs to respond more aggressively when these incidents occur, and take proactive steps to prevent them from happening,” says Minkin.
“It is time for the university administration to actively foster a healthier, more respectful campus culture around sexuality,” says Claire Sufrin, 2000. “Vulgar, violent speech of this kind degrades the campus culture and intimidates those who oppose such speech. We support a Yale community where students are encouraged to grow, learn, and become adults, safe in an environment where ‘no means no.’”
“The close to 2,000 Yale alumni, staff, faculty, and parents who have signed the petition over the past five days agree,” adds Sufrin. “We commend President Levin for making an initial statement, but feel strongly that it does not go far enough in addressing the issues at hand. We hope that he will soon present a comprehensive plan of action to promote a culture that respects and dignifies all members of the Yale community.”
The signatures can be viewed in real time at https://yaleresponse.wordpress.com/.
To read comments to the petition from Yale students, alumni, staff, parents and faculty, visit https://yaleresponse.wordpress.com/comments-from-signatories.
For further information:
Sarah Anne Minkin, 510-599-1874, sarahanne.minkin AT aya.yale.edu
Claire Sufrin, 617-335-0016, claire.sufrin AT aya.yale.edu