This week, Yale released its fourth semi-annual Complaints of Sexual Misconduct Report. Six students were found guilty of "nonconsensual sex," but none were expelled. Only one student was suspended. This report comes after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, which fined the university $155,000 for failing to properly report all sexual violence crimes in 2011.
Yale students and alumni are upset because they feel the university hasn't done enough to impose stricter sanctions on offenders since the investigation. Alexandra Brodsky, a 2012 Yale grad and current Yale Law student, filed one of the complaints that led to the 2011 investigation. After reading the university's report this week, she tweeted,
In Sept I'm returning to a campus where, just like when I was a freshman, rape is addressed with "written reprimands" http://t.co/CouiVoMGUT— Alexandra Brodsky (@azbrodsky) August 1, 2013
The university has consistently been in the press the past few years for problems relating to sexual assault and intimidation, leading the OCR to investigate Yale's "hostile sexual environment." In 2010, fraternity members famously yelled misogynistic and threatening chants outside freshmen women's dorms. That fraternity was ultimately banned from campus for five years.
Another prestigious university is currently under investigation for similar issues. The OCR announced earlier in July that it would investigate Swarthmore College administrators for allegedly mishandling cases of sexual assault, underreporting statistics, and retaliating against students who reported sexual assault. In light of the investigation, college president Rebecca Chopp announced a series of policy revisions to make students feel safer on campus. She also made personnel changes. Tom Elverson, the alcohol education and intervention specialist and Greek liaison, had his job eliminated by the university. He was responsible for handling some complaints involving fraternity members and allegedly allowed his fraternity allegiance to influence how he handled those complaints.
Mia Ferguson, a Swarthmore student and one of the complainants that pushed for the OCR investigation, told The Huffington Post, "having the OCR investigate is validation that violations are occurring at Swarthmore."
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Occidental College, and the University of Southern California are also currently under investigation by the OCR for creating hostile environments for sexual assault victims. These investigations, like Swarthmore's and Yale's, were sparked by student complaints.
Dartmouth College is currently under investigation by the OCR not because students complained (though they did), but because the OCR decided to launch an investigation on its own. The OCR has not said what sparked the investigation. In April, Dartmouth administrators cancelled classes for a day after students protesting the university's culture of sexual violence received rape threats from other students.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.