ITS finds anti-gay e-mailer

Information Technology Services has identified the student account from which an e-mail expressing anti-gay sentiments was sent to the Yale community last Wednesday, according to a student’s account of a Friday meeting between Dean of Students Betty Trachtenberg and the leadership of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Cooperative.

The e-mail — which is believed to be linked to the anti-gay fliers that appeared on campus last Thursday during the National Coming Out Day celebration — was signed by the National Organization to Gain Acceptance for Your Sins, or N.O.G.A.Y.S. While Trachtenberg told the LBGT Co-op leadership that ITS issued the student a warning about sending unauthorized mass e-mails, she said the administration has not taken any disciplinary action other than informing the student’s residential college master and dean of the incident, LGBT Co-op Coordinator Anna Wipfler ’09 said.

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said his office is investigating the incident and hopes to find out more about what happened and who was involved within a few days.

“None of us are happy when disrespectful and disparaging messages are directed at any groups of students on campus,” he said.

Salovey expressed an interest in working with the LGBT Co-op to open dialogue about the incident but did not say if the administration would make additional attempts to discipline the responsible individuals.

“When a particular community at Yale is targeted for hateful or disparaging or disgusting commentary, it usually is best to work with that community to decide on the most appropriate and productive follow-up,” he said.

Trachtenberg could not be reached for comment Sunday night, and Chief Information Officer Philip Long declined to comment on ITS’ involvement in the case.

Several LGBT Co-op members said while they were disappointed that no disciplinary action has been taken, they hoped those responsible for the e-mail and fliers come forward and deliver a public apology.

Wipfler said the LGBT Co-op is working with Trachtenberg to host a forum within the next few days to respond to last week’s events. She said the co-op plans to invite members of cultural houses and political groups to discuss the issue of harassment.

“I hope that it will provide an environment where everyone can be open about our differences of opinion,” Wipfler said.

Queer Resource Center Coordinator Benjamin Gonzalez ’09 said the e-mail and flyers were “dirty” because they were issued anonymously.

“Those actions were cowardly because the person behind them didn’t want to come forward,” he said.

But Queer Political Action Committee coordinator Hugh Baran ’09 said that, although he wishes the administration would take action, he does not believe that disciplinary measures will serve to open discussion on homophobia.

“I would like to see the University do more to publicly repudiate this, but I’m not as interested in punishing the individual as having a real conversation about why something so outrageously anti-gay is possible,” Baran said.

Other students said they do not think the administration should punish those who sent the e-mail because it would violate their right to free expression.

“It’s a pretty terrible thing to do, but you shouldn’t be punished for expressing your opinion,” Rachelle Alpern ’09 said.

—Reporter Thomas Kaplan contributed to this article.

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