Misogyny claim leveled at frat

Members of the Yale Women’s Center board threatened to initiate legal action Sunday after discovering a photograph posted on Facebook.com depicting 12 Yale students affiliated with the Zeta Psi fraternity posing in front of the Center with a sign reading “We Love Yale Sluts.”

The picture made its rounds through e-mail inboxes around Yale’s campus Sunday night, enraging some members of the University community offended by what they perceived to be its misogynistic overtones. The men photographed in front of the Women’s Center are Zeta Psi “pledges” — students attempting to join the fraternity.

The photo was removed from Facebook.com later Sunday night.

The Women’s Center board is contemplating legal action against the fraternity, the University and the individuals in the photograph on grounds of sexual harassment and defamation, said Chase Olivarius-McAllister ’09, the Center’s former political-action coordinator.

In an apologetic statement sent to the Women’s Center board Sunday night and published in today’s News, Zeta Psi Eta Chapter President Jonathan Charest ’10 said he hopes to resolve the situation with the directors of the Women’s Center themselves.

“The officers of the fraternity are open and willing to meet with the leaders of the Yale Women’s Center to discuss this issue further and address solutions of this kind of irresponsible behavior,” he wrote.

Since sending the statement, Charest said, he has received no response from the Center. Charest and other members of the fraternity declined further comment.

But the fraternity’s apology was “not enough” for the directors of the Women’s Center, who outlined their reaction to the event and the subsequent apology in a column in today’s News. In the column, the directors wrote that the fraternity only apologized when threatened with legal action and said the situation is akin to white students’ holding up a sign with a racial epithet in front of a cultural house.

Former Women’s Center Public Relations Coordinator Jessica Svendsen ’09 said she found a group of men chanting “Dick! Dick! Dick!” in front of the Elm Street entrance to the Center, which is located in Durfee Hall, shortly before midnight last Tuesday. Frightened, she decided to take a detour through the Center’s Old Campus entrance, she said.

“I stopped even before I got to Durfee, because I recognized that as a single woman facing 20 to 25 frat boys, I wasn’t going to be able to enter the Women’s Center,” Svendsen said. “This was my first experience knowing that misogyny does happen at Yale — and right in front of the Women’s Center door.”

The photo appeared on Facebook the next day.

Sunday night, Kathryn Olivarius ‘11, the Center’s constituency director — and Olivarius-McAllister’s sister — said the Women’s Center became aware of the photograph when a friend showed it to her.

The Center forwarded the picture around campus in an e-mail with the subject “This Time We Sue,” sent from womens.center@yale.edu. “This is sexual harassment,” read the enclosed message. “Lawyers have been consulted, and we are taking legal action.”

Women’s Center directors said that as of Sunday they had contacted two attorneys, who had tentatively agreed to do pro bono work on behalf of the Center in the case. The Center declined to release the names of the lawyers.

According to Connecticut State law, sexual harassment consists of “any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature … when such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering the individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.”

The University’s policy defines harassment in roughly the same terms, adding that “more subtle incidents may also be considered sexual harassment.” Harassment can also include “taunting jokes directed at a person or persons by reason of their sex, [and] obscene posters with sexual connotations … .”

Olivarius-McCallister said the Center will pursue legal action as quickly as possible. Hannah Burnett ’08, the Center’s outreach coordinator, said she thinks a lawsuit is justified because the administration’s response to what she called racist graffiti found on University property in November proved ineffective.

“Look how little impact the administration actually has had,” Burnett said. “Based purely on what happened here, it shows that talking to the administration isn’t necessarily the most effective way to go about it.”

Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry, to whom complaints of sexual harassment are referred under University protocol, could not be reached for comment Monday.

Regardless of whether the Center has standing to sue, Zeta Psi’s Yale chapter could also face penalties from the national organization, pending an investigation of the incident. The photo may be in violation of the national organization’s risk-management guidelines.

“The fraternity will not tolerate or condone any form of sexually abusive behavior on the part of its members,” the policy reads. “This is to include any actions which are demeaning to women and/or men, including but not limited to date rape, gang rape, or verbal harassment.”

Such violations, though investigated on a case-by-case basis by the national organization, could ultimately lead to the revocation of Zeta Psi’s charter by the national organization.

National-chapter officials declined to comment on the incident. They said they will have no comment on the matter until further investigation takes place.

The Yale Women’s Center, according to its Web site, works to “break down societal gender structures and roles and to ensure every woman’s right to reproductive freedom, a voice, freedom of sexuality … and economic, political, and educational equality.”


  • Anonymous

    I am not a lawyer, but this seems like douchebaggery more than any form of sexual harassment.

  • Anonymous

    This is the most ridiculous headline ever. "Misogyny claim"? Frat life is the DEFINITION of misogyny.

  • Anonymous

    How is chanting "dick" a hate crime against women? Yeah it's immature, but how in the world is it threatening?

  • Anonymous

    As a girl, I think this is a lame thing to say but in no way do I feel like im being attacked by a sign.

  • Anonymous

    i don't feel like this is sexual harassment, nor a representation of misogyny, however the word slut may be offensive, but could they have posted a sign saying, "We love promiscuous yale girls" and that would have been okay? probably.

  • Anonymous

    The actions of the frat pledges are worthy of investigation and punishment, but a lawsuit is just silly. Ladies, unless you have tried to work with the administration on resolving this and can prove that your entreaties fell upon deaf ears, then your lawsuit will be a waste of time. I already do not have respect for most of the fraternities. I hope that I can keep my respect for the Yale Women's Center leadership.

    An Alum (Class of 1995)

  • Anonymous

    that this sort of behavior on behalf of males is boorish and highly offensive. It probably violates multiple pieces of their national's rules and regulations (and it also sounds like a hazing event).

    also agreed that these feminists seem to be nasty, bitter souls, who delight in sucking the marrow out of the bones of humanity. Perhaps that's why they were singled out, rather than one of the women's sports teams or sororities? Perhaps?

    This sounds like an attempt at irony on behalf of the (drunken?) men. A horribly conceived, and highly offensive one no doubt, but there's probably a reason that the men were sitting outside an office full of man-haters.

  • Anonymous

    I'm an alum, and it turns my stomach to read this. The University needs to protect Yale as a productive learning environment, which includes punishing students who infringe on others' dignity and rights as full members of the community. Enough, Yale: time to step up.

  • Anonymous

    This is why Yale will receive NO MONEY from me as an alumni.

    Not because of the Frat antics- but because of the pathetic Women's Center- what a waste of university resources. Shut that place down and make Durfee's bigger.

  • Anonymous

    Good thing that most of you aren't able to define the law. You can think it's stupid all you want, but the fact is, it's grounds for a law suit.

    We need to send a message to Yale students and people everywhere that it is not okay to foster a hostile school environment for women at this college. If people think the Women's Center is just overreacting, it's clear they have little bearing on reality. How is this something people are so ready to dismiss? Because the Women's Center is not allowing itself to be on the receiving end of harassment that is against the law instead of laughing along? Please. It's not just offensive, it's NOT LEGAL.

  • Anonymous

    Granted, the sign was in poor taste. However, I personally know many members of Zeta, and they are NOT the type of individuals who would ever intentionally harm or offend anybody. It was just a VERY bad joke. This is political correctness run amok. In a spirit of fairness, why don't we look at every Facebook page of every woman who was "offended" and see what they are saying about the men on campus??????

  • Anonymous

    Now THIS is harrassment:

    From: Yale Women's Center
    Date: Jan 21, 2008 10:50 AM
    Subject: This Time We Sue
    To: [redacted]

    Dear Yale,

    The photograph below was taken during a recent Yale fraternity initiation. This is sexual harassment. Lawyers have been consulted, and we are taking legal action.

    If you are unwilling to be enrolled in a school where woman-hating is a subject of pride, email yalewomenscenter@gmail.com now. We will keep you informed.

    "WE LOVE YALE SLUTS" Uploaded to facebook.com January 16, 2008.

    The Yale Women's Center Board

  • Anonymous

    Even the Zeta apologizers acknowledge what those kids did was "stupid," "in poor taste," "a bad joke," etc. Indeed. The boys in that photo are idiots and deserve everything that's coming to them. I mean, what were they thinking?? They should be kicked out of Yale on grounds of stupidity, if nothing else. This is meant to be one of the best schools in the world. Come on.

  • Anonymous

    let's sue every middle schooler that has ever engaged in a "PENIS" shouting match.

  • Anonymous

    The women's center has every right to pursue legal action. The act on the part of the frat rushes was remarkably stupid and degrades everything the Yale Women's Center stands for. To see a sign that says "We Love Yale Sluts" in front of an organization that means to eradicate gender stereotyping is simply disgusting to see.

    The boys should be sent to the Executive Committee and the frat should be willing to make a more sincere and deliberate effort to amend relations with the Center.

    To call these women raving feminists who are acting irrationally doesn't get us anywhere. The fact is that these men purposely went to the Center to undermine its message. It is disgusting. They deserve punishment to fullest extent. This should never happen at a place like Yale.

  • Anonymous

    to 2:08

    I agree: stupidity would be a valid criticism (and grounds for dismissal), but "misogyny" and "threatening behavior" is a bit over the top.

  • Anonymous

    this is the perverted culture that now exists at yale…the funny thing is that girls love these types of dudes

  • Anonymous

    Honestly? Just a bunch of guys being stupid in the pledging process to show fraternity. I'm neither offended or threatened by the sign in that picture….I think the Women's Center should open it's doors to conversation with the Pres of the fraternity and his pledge class. Don't be like the rest of Yale and only threaten action of negative consequence…BE THE CHANGE. Join in the conversation!

  • Anonymous

    Well, seriously, the frats would have been smarter to shout we love Yale sluts at a sorority than the hyper-feminist Women's Center… Using the word slut is offensive unless they're joking with friends, and I wouldn't mind if it was a guy friend, but if it wasn't someone I knew, I would be upset. Suing is way too extreme. A dialogue or community service would be better. Lighten up hyper-feminists, you make the rest of us modern women look bad, and frats, you need to learn where to "joke"…

  • Anonymous

    Dear 2:08,

    Isn't "apologist" the word you're looking for?

    As for your comment, I agree with you completely. In homage to Harold Bloom, I say: "admissions mistake?" (x12)

  • Anonymous

    I am a Yale alum and a parent of two college aged kids. My 1st reaction to the story and the picture was, "How proud those boys' parents must be." If that were one of mine, his leash would be yanked pretty damned hard--out of the fraternity, community service of my choice, and individual written apologies to the YWC, to the Yale administration, and to their fellow students through the YDN, or he can find some financing other than mine to pay for his education. They embarrassed their families and their university.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone find it ironic that the Women's Center's website has a direct link to a feminist blog called "broad recognition?" Clearly a word play here… Broad is ok but slut is not? Or is it one of these offensive words that members of a historically oppressed group can use to describe one another, but would deeply offend the said members if used by the historical oppressors?

  • Anonymous

    yes-- this is a joke. and it was also a joke last year when a frat chanted "no means yes, yes means anal." but, you have to realize that there are 2 types of people in the world who take these jokes seriously:
    1. the frat boys themselves-- who are disproportionately responsible for instances of rape and harassment
    2. the women's center and their supporters. bravo.

  • Anonymous

    It's pitiful that the only recourse the Women's Center chose to pursue after this admittedly stupid and extremely hurtful episode was a lawsuit.

    Only Americans would see a lawsuit as a solution to a problem that could have been resolved in a reasonable, balanced fashion through Yale's existing institutions designed specifically for this purpose.

  • Anonymous

    This is what is wrong with you frat yuppies all over the nation. Hooligans, intoxicated or not, participating in ridiculous stunts like these. You're a waste of space.

  • Anonymous

    The Women's Center board is just overreacting and trying to draw attention to themselves. There's no good reason they should be sued - maybe reprimanded by the administration, but legal action seems a bit much. Granted, what the frat guys did was stupid, but you can't take what they say seriously. Like other people have already pointed out, things like this are not unique to the frat, and the culture will likely continue no matter how much legal action is pursued. Taking a frat to court will do nothing to resolve the larger issue.

  • Anonymous

    I am no expert on this, but I thought that claims of sexual harassment only applied in the context of a work environment, not on a college campus. Is this wrong? As for defamation, the claim seems very unlikely to have legal merit when no allegation has been made by the fraternity against any specific individual. But I'd be curious to hear someone commenting on the legal merits (or lack thereof) of the claims.

  • Anonymous

    wait, hate crime is illegal right? just checking.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, does anybody out there remember the 70's, when even major screw-ups were handled in a sane and reasonable fashion????? You guys are talking about literally ruining people's lives for posting a word that is allowable on every channel in daytime AND prime time TV. Elevating this to the level of a lawsuit and posting the story all over every internet news venue that will carry it seems to me to be grandstanding to the EXTREME and for the record, I personally find the "women" who are doing this HIGHLY offensive, and I am a woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Ahh, and the women who are upset have, presumably, never engaged in foolish, drunken antics?

    Well, not on camera, of course.

  • Anonymous

    So, Larry Summers asks an empirically valid question about gender differences and a feminist professor catches the vapors like a Victorian parody and removes herself from the room. Solution: run him out of town. Anonymous persons (with no evident connection to the University) spraypaint a stupid racial slur and Yale erupts in weeks of Pavlovian outrage. Solution: more money for diversity training, ethnic deans, ethnic counselors, ethnic studies, God knows what else (certainly not actual education). Now twelve drunk teenage boys do what drunk teenage boys do - act like clowns on a Saturday night - and a collection of presumably bright girls with great futures ahead of them go into hysterical fits for public consumption. Solution: off to the courthouse.

    NONE of you are victims of anything. You are simply spoiled brats receiving one of the finest educations in the world, at one of the most accepting and inclusive communities that has ever existed in human history. Clearly such an embarrassment of riches lends itself to tempests in teapots, but the liberal echo chamber of victimology and identity politics is so far gone I fear there is no saving the Academy generally, nor Yale in particular. Yale will not see another penny from me.

    And just a word for these young ladies. Not everyone at your law firm, at your bank, in your policy shop, or in your posh community will feel the same way you do about gender, race, heteronormativity, the American military, or the rights of spotted owls. Some of those people will be boorish about it. Who the hell cares? I'm surprised that, after all the millions coerced from this University and others in the name of empowering women, it would appear that our Yale women are so utterly thin-skinned and ill-prepared for the outside world that they can't handle this situation without appealing to the liberal thought police and coercive authority of the state. I wonder, what the hell happened to the notion of a functioning adult?

  • Anonymous

    Olivarius-McAllister is a member of the Sphincter Troupe, an all-female sketch comedy group at Yale. This fall they performed a skit targeted at Zeta Psi. In the skit, two females acted as members of the fraternity, using harmless stereotypes like baggy jackets, sweatpants, and flat-brimmed hats to poke fun at the style of Zeta Psi brothers. Unfortunately, the women of the Sphincter Troupe pushed the envelope by making the Zeta Psi characters bumbling idiots obsessed with "fucking [the] pussies" of two equally idiotic female characters. The skit portrayed the fraternity brothers as drug-users, drunks, misogynists, romantically desensitized and clueless, racists, and homophobes. Clearly, one of these attacks has been shown to be well-grounded in this particular instance, but at the same time I can't help but think that Olivarius-McAllister is a self-righteous shitbag blessed to have no sense of smell. The Sphincter Troupe performance was a PUBLIC event that stereotyped Zeta Psi brothers for the sake of humor in a grossly exaggerated fashion, yet there was no public outcry. Perhaps Olivarius-McAllister should make herself more credible by owning up to, explaining, and apologizing for her own past "hate speech" against the very same organization she now decries. While the Sphincter Troupe event was a public attack, the picture in question here was not meant to be seen publicly, and I think most of this community--including all of the Zeta Psi brothers--regrets that it was. To the isolated audience of the pledges, the irony of the picture was probably humorous, though I would guess that the appreciation of such irony does not lessen the love that any of these young men have for their mothers, sisters, girlfriends, etc. Rather, the use of irony in this instance seemed humorous because it crossed the line, much as the Sphincter Troupe skit did. This does not mean that either instance was hateful or meant to cause harm, regardless of how their intentions were perceived. In the larger audience of the Yale community, the irony of this image is neither humorous nor acceptable. Unfortunately, again, it was Olivarius-McAllister who turned this into a public spectacle by e-mailing it around campus and drumming up a media response. Her need for attention is unsettling, as well as her continued targeting of Zeta Psi. Furthermore, the parallel she draws between the use of the N-word and "slut" is ridiculously out of line. While some see it as a searching attempt to communicate the gravity of Zeta Psi's offense to women, to me it shows a deeply flawed understanding of the complex racial and gender relations on campus. For example, it is clear to anyone who knows Zeta Psi's members that the fraternity is among the most diverse student groups racially and socioeconomically, so to suggest the use of a racial epithet in a hateful manner is a hopelessly misguided attempt to introduce this situation. While the existence of this picture and its recent publicity are regrettable, Olivarius-McAllister's response taken with the lack of contrition for her own past actions only serve to magnify the ugly and hateful facets of this situation without bringing the parties any closer to a mutual understanding. And it is a MUTUAL understanding that is needed. Zeta Psi's president has expressed contrition and the willingness to open a dialogue, now where is that commitment from the other side?

  • Anonymous

    @ 8:54pm -- thanks for some perspective from the other side. I do find the fraternity brothers' antics despicable, but no less despicable than I find the gung-ho antics of the YWC. Fortunately, they do not have a case - cannot have a case against anyone except the Yale administration, were it to act indifferently to the situation. But the fact that they jumped right to their breeches, spammed the school, made outlandish threats and offensive analogies - this is a huge loss PR fiasco, and has surely caused more damage in the collective Yale opinion of the YWC than it has in the already-low opinion that many students have of fraternity initiation rites.

    It's just disappointing. Faced with an opportunity to take the higher road and fight idiocy and immaturity with reasoned dialogue, the YWC decided to start a screaming fit. For shame.

    Also- those of us who have endured a section or seminar with Olivarius-McAllister are well aware that she rants and raves to no logical end, but I do think the post above is a bit too defamatory toward her to be displayed unedited.

  • Anonymous

    @ 8:54 pm.

    Interesting. I think the Y"D"N should look into this matter and investigate…it might just be worth doing to put all this in a proper context. After all, if Olivarius-McAllister is willing to demean frats using time-honored stereotypes of them, why shouldn't turnabout be fair play? If this is truly the case, then just as what Zeta Psi did was clearly wrong, the same goes for McAllister-Olivarius' actions, and perhaps the same penalties be handed out to each party involved.

    It should also be noted that the YWC, it appears, has somewhat of a vendetta going against the fraternity system in general. Didn't they host some big, ballyhooed discussion on Fraternities earlier in the year?

  • Anonymous

    awwwww….zeta psi….how sweet of you to not condone date rape and gang rape! how forward looking! how progressive! …..one question: is regular rape still ok?

  • Anonymous

    sweet geebus…
    and *these* pointyheads are 'our' (sic) best and brightest ? ? ?
    hee hee hee
    if the young and stupids had said 'we hate yale sluts', would *that* have been okey dokey ? ? ?
    ho ho ho
    i suspect that in the absence of any sign, the uptight sister brigade would have pointed to their mere drunken, disrespectful visages as prima facie proof of inhumanity…
    ha ha ha
    ivy leaguers, what a joke…
    ak ak ak

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy


  • Anonymous

    Comparing the stupid sign to "hate" speech is utter nonsense and raises this debate to the province of hysteria. And trotting out the old "rape" canards based on this silly incident is the oldest trick in the radical feminist playbook. It is overblown reactions such as this, all out of kilter with common sense, that dooms feminism to the margins and makes equity feminsts, like me, ashamed to be associated with that loaded "f" word. Only on a college campus would such hysteria be treated with quasi-civilized debate.

    On the subject of rape, it is well to point out among all the hysteria herethat many such claims are, of course, fabricated. In "Until Proven Innocent," the widely praised (even by the New York Times, which the book skewers) and painstaking study of the Duke Lacrosse non-rape case, Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson explain that "[t]he standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent of rape claims are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller's 1975 book Against Our Will, is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data. These data suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half of all rape claims are false." The authors methodically examine the evidence to reach this conclusion. Among many other things, they note that according to the former head of the sex-crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, a woman, of the 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan, "about half simply did not happen."

    Let's cut the crap and get the administration to punish the frat boys who did this. By punish I don't mean putting their balls in sling and threatening the rest of the male student body with castration.

  • Anonymous

    @ 1:16 pm:
    I realize that there can be many different reactions to the situation at hand. I personally find these actions repulsive and believe each member of the frat should be appropriately punished for their actions. But, I also understand my friend who is friends with Zeta brothers and feels a lawsuit is an unjust punishment. Regardless of where you stand. Regardless of whether Saturday night's events reflect genuine misogyny or a drunken joke. To claim that the women's center is a waste of university resources as an adult? An alumni who has already (presumably) received the excellent education that Yale provides? You seem to me to be a waste of university resources.

  • Anonymous

    A pox on both their houses.
    Frat boys oafish(and probably drunk). Womens Center ladies PC police who are rightfully offended, but this is NOT grounds for a lawsuit. LEt the Exec Comm take care of the frat boys for their stupidity with some appropriate public service(say over spring break to really make it hurt). But back off the lawsuit threat. That just looks childishly vindictive.

  • Anonymous

    @8:54 - The difference lies in context. Just like asking someone to marry you in the middle of a Times Square new year's celebration is different from asking them to marry you at your breakfast table, even though the same words might be uttered, and shooting someone on stage with a gun is different from doing so on a city street, even though both victims fall, so too is the context (that is, Location, Circumstances, and Audience) different in the two situations you cite as being comparable instances of public attack. The registered, private setting; invited audience; and explicitly theatrical -- and implicitly political -- nature of the Sphincter Troupe show lands it in a context far removed from the actions of the Zeta Psi pledges, which took place publicly; to an unwilling audience; in no clearly defined manner of presentation. I hope you can appreciate how this difference in context sets up vastly disparate scenes: one a comedy, the other just tragic.

  • Anonymous

    Ok people, everyone needs to get the facts straight here.
    1. This occurred at 12:31 AM, the Women's Center was closed, and the only people near the individuals in question were people from Durfee's
    2. The individuals spent around 5 minutes, total, getting a picture with a Durfee's employee and taking this photograph.
    3. If there was any chanting, it was most likely the name of another fraternity, as many fraternities chant the names of other fraternities while doing things like scavenger hunts, i'm assuming most yalies have seen things like this over your time here, it is nothing abnormal for this time of the year. In this light, it may have been DKE (pronounced Deek)that was being chanted, as these frats have a particularly close relationship between members.
    4. The Women's Center has yet to contact any representative of Zeta Psi, though Zeta Psi has made efforts to contact them multiple times. They know there are no legal grounds, this is just a PR act.
    5. My personal theory on the matter is that their legal advisors told them they had nothing without an actual person there. After which their ex PR director (did you read that part) decided to fill in a story that involves her hovering half a city block away from the location, as she was so terrified of these men. Note though, that no other person in Durfee's let them interfere with their missions to attain late-night munchies.
    6. The workers of Durfee's heard no chanting in front of their establishment, next door to the Women's Center
    7. Last year, the LGBTQ group on campus slandered multiple students by publicly posting their facebook profiles, which happened to offend them. This behavior is similar of the Women's Center.
    8. The act was deplorable, yes, but not illegal.
    9. The Women's Center and the YDN possess more current legal liability than does Zeta Psi. The Women's Center has intentionally e-mailed the copyrighted material, along with threats of legal action, to an undisclosed panlist with the express intent of ruining the reputation of the fraternity. And, the YDN is liable for publishing a copyrighted picture with an article that can be easily interpreted as slanderous, racist, and more generally in violation of journalistic principles.
    Personally, I see a dumb action that an activist group has rallied around as a crime. If it is a crime, it is a victimless crime, and the amplification of such a trivial issue (in light of the current state of the world) is reprehensible.
    "Intolerance will not be tolerated"
    -Cartman, South Park
    Women's Center's actions = Fascism and Fear tactics
    Zeta Psi's actions = A joke, in extremely poor taste

  • Anonymous

    In response to Paul, the photo was probably put up on Facebook by a member of Zeta Psi, but the Women's Center Board decided to send it out in a mass unsolicited e-mail to the whole of Yale, so who really made it public?

    Also, while I realize that IvyGate is hardly a bastion of reasoned commentary, several posters there have pointed out what might be a somewhat serious flaw in this story- the frat brothers might very probably have been chanting "DKE (deeke) DKE DKE" not "dick dick dick" in a traditional attempt to frame DKE… which, as it turns out, seriously backfired. This sounds somewhat more plausible than "dick dick dick".

  • Anonymous

    Is this what the women's movement has come to; spending daddy's money to sue some bad little boys with a naughty sign?

    Wow. I'm impressed. So tell us, girls (or grrls, or whatever)…what have you done lately for the women being beaten, tortured, raped and murdered in just about every Third World country you can name? What's that you say? Nothing? Yeah, that's what I thought.

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me that the Womens Center is missing a valuable chance to edumacate some horny, priviledged boys, the fraternity, certainly and possibly the male portion of the greek system. If they did it in conjunction with one of the sororities, all the better.

    A lawsuit? Seems extreme considering no one was harassed outright, and no property was damaged.

  • Anonymous

    Dear 7:54 pm,

    Re: your first paragraph - You lump together contextually and substantively different incidents, and describe them in cheap one-line reductions of their respective whole (multi-layered) truths.

    Re: your second paragraph - You take the incidents in the first paragraph and your particular interpretations of them, and proceed to conflate and in fact equate them to the entire body of discrimination at Yale, past and present, real or perceived. I am happy that you had an idyllic Yale experience where you encountered no unmerited aggression or rejection from your peers on the basis of sex, race or religion, but to assume that that has been the reality for every other Yale student is absurd. I can assure you that a very different reality exists for many, too many, still. Girls are still verbally demeaned, harassed, and assaulted on this campus; students put up with racial and ethnic slurs and academic intimidation. You can debate the origins, causes and effects of the Zeta sign or the spray paint, but you cannot debate what is a very real phenomenon at Yale, heavily reinforced and institutionalized (and, because I’d like to believe in the inherent goodness of most Yalies, I would argue largely even created) by frats like DKE and popularized by publications like Rumpus: an attitude of suspicion, resentment, hostility and ultimately derision towards those who are different from the rich, white (mythical and idealized?) mainstream. DKE is not representative of the rest of the Yale student body, it is one pocket -- but that is more than enough to poison the Yale experience for all of those on the receiving end of the meat-headed idiocy of many of its members. A real Yale education should be enough to teach every Yale student, frat boy or not, that they would be happier and better off if they treated diversity with curiosity, if their first instinct was tolerance, if they actively discarded the kind of thinking that allows them to assume minorities are dumber or that girls can be routinely sexually demeaned and objectified, conversationally or physically.

    Re: your third paragraph - maybe if some Yale students weren't still graduating as close-minded bigots and sexists, we'd one day have a better high society in our banks and firms and political offices, where girls and minorities wouldn’t be asked to suck it up and accept acts of discrimination as an unchangeable fact of life.

  • Anonymous

    ITA @7:54pm

    So the delusional feminists, who look under every rock, for a sign of offense, are targeted for a prank. They then prove themselves to be the humorless, entitled princesses they appear to be by way overreacting. Maybe if they stopped encouraging young women to act like sluts and tell them the truth about promiscuity have a negative impact on young women's social, emotional and physical well being I'd sympathize with them.

    This lawsuit is ridiculous but if it is any consolation, in 20 years the (admittedly bad behaving) young men will be happily married with children, this incident far behind them. Meanwhile the bitter harpies will be wondering, with their cats, why they were unable to get one of these 'misogynists' to propose.

  • Anonymous

    While Yale is seen as a hotbed of PC, this seems like a lot of sabre-rattling to me.

    Making a direct analogy between 'slut' and the 'N' word is ridiculous. So is stating that the reason to pursue this case is because another, unrelated case with a different constituency was not resolved satisfactorily by the administration. The case(s) don't have a chance --- to conclude successfully. Unfortunately they do have a chance to generate legal fees, publicity, and settlements which is the apparently the highest and best use for our legal system these days by advocacy groups of all stripes.

    To hoist them on their own petard - the phrase 'frat boy' has long bothered me.
    I have come to know many fine 'brothers' from Zeta Psi and other fraternities in the 3 decades since my graduation. Referring to them as 'frat boys' reduces them to knuckle-dragging 'Animal House' characters in the same way 'sluts' reduces woman students to a bubble-headed seekers of an MRS degree.

    So I say we redefine 'frat boy' as a hurtful and misogynist label, that when used creates "an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment” and sue anyone who uses it in person or in print.

    That said, WTF were these boneheads thinking? If you're clever enough for admission to Yale, you should be clever enough to fulfill all the usual requirements for boorish behavior by pledges while avoiding this kind of trouble.

  • Anonymous

    if the shoe fits……

  • Anonymous

    to 7:54

    Winston? Winston is it, is it YOU?!

    (o gawd, please be Winston!).

    To 8:54
    So, you are saying that the picture was more or less a discrete (but not discreet) entry into an ongoing conversation?

    Makes sense to ME!

    Too bad men never get that they are outgunned, outmaneuvered, hell, out-MANNED by the Feminist Brownshirts and their socialist fellow-travelers. Suckers!

  • Anonymous

    I just wanted to clear up a few misconceptions that people seem to have about the Women Center's mission and its constituency. The residence groups that are run out of the Women's Center conduct a range of projects that address many of concerns posted at 6:12am this morning. The group WYSE mentors female high school students in the New Haven public schools. The group RSVP is largely responsible for the new rape crisis network on campus. The group RALY fights for the reproductive health of women worldwide (about which the 6:12 poster seems very concerned) by petitioning and fundraising for microbicides research and protesting the global gag rule. All of these activities seem incredibly worthwhile, particularly if you care about not only gender equality but also global health and local education.

    Secondly, there seems to be a misconception that Women Center board members are all white and rich, hence the complaints that these women are "coddled" or "spoiled" or "aren't victims of anything." As a former WC board member, I can attest that the board comprises a range of individuals. Over the years, the WC board has included people of all races, heterosexual and homosexual women, and (yes) heterosexual and homosexual men. To assume that all WC board members (and, it seems at times, all feminists) are white and upper-middle-class reveals ignorance about the issue at hand and, more importantly, a gross misunderstanding of the feminist movement.

    As you debate the merits of Zeta Psi's and the Women Center's respective actions, please don't overlook the fact that the Women's Center has been a site of activism, discussion, and community service throughout its history. It is not a waste of space.

    Best wishes,
    Maggie Doherty, '07

  • Anonymous

    @ 8:54pm

    The Yale Women's Center has been incredibly careful to not name names and instead level their attack at Zeta Psi and institutionalized misogyny within fraternities as a whole. To single out Olivarius-Mcallister and personally attack her as a "self-righteous shitbag blessed to have no sense of smell," is just petty and mean-spirited. You emphasize the need for dialog in your in attack; Olivarius-Mcallister was instrumental in organizing a public conversation between Fraternities and the Women's Center last fall.

    She's a brave and passionate woman unafraid to stand by her convictions. Attacking her "lack of contrition" for a skit she performed within the context of an all female comedy show, when no apology was called for and the sketch was in fact praised by members of Zeta Psi afterwards, is simply ridiculous.

    Not to mention that the parallel between that show and this incident is just as unfounded as you argue her parallel between the word "slut" and racial epithets to be.

    You say: ""the use of irony in this instance seemed humorous because it crossed the line, much as the Sphincter Troupe skit did"
    How can you compare mocking misogynistic fraternity boys (it was NOT specifically aimed at Zeta Psi) to frat boys actually making a misogynistic joke? There is a very big difference between oppressors mocking the oppressed and vice versa. Hitler making fun of the jews is not funny, the jews making fun of hitler is. An extreme example, to be sure, but it's true.

    Humor comes from pushing the envelope; I agree with you on that point. A campus in which all the humor must be PC and completely unoffensive to everybody is a terrifying idea. But many people here seem to be saying "feminists have no sense of humor," and so to call for them to apologize for their sketch comedy is simply hypocritical. It only serves to further demonstrate a complete lack of understanding as to what constitutes humor.

  • Anonymous

    2:43: How about women who believe in the sanctity of human life and in pro-life cause and who vote Republican? How many are there on your board?

  • Anonymous

    Eh, I think everyone is missing one major point here. The constitution and the 1st amendment right to free speech perhaps? Fortunately for these frat boys, feminist windbags have no constitutional right not to be offended. Cry on crying eyes.

  • Anonymous

    Even if they are "man hating" feminists…

    Even if it seems like it would be more reasonable of the YMC to repay Zeta Psi with another similar joke…

    Even if the lawsuit is groundless and fails…

    Many young people need to learn that not everyone is going to consider their actions and words as jokes, especially when they get into the real world. Smaller incidents have destroyed careers.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, yes: consider the "water buffalo" incident, or David Howard's use of the word "niggardly" and his subsequent unemployment. Or Romney's "Tar Baby." Ah, so many to choose from!

    Here was ONE enlightened outcome:

    "Shortly after the Washington incident, another controversy erupted over the use of the word [niggardly] at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. At a February meeting of the Faculty Senate, a junior English major and vice chairwoman of the Black Student Union told the group how a professor teaching Chaucer had used the word. She said the professor continued to use the word even after she told him that she was offended. "I was in tears, shaking," she told the faculty. "It's not up to the rest of the class to decide whether my feelings are valid."

    The student's plea, offered as evidence in support of the school's speech code, instead struck an unintended chord helping to destroy it. "Many 'abolitionists', as they now were called, believe that [the student's] speech, widely reported, was the turning point," according to an article in Reason magazine. An editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal addressed the student who complained, saying: "Thank you […] for clarifying precisely why the UW-Madison does not need an academic speech code. […] Speech codes have a chilling effect on academic freedom and they reinforce defensiveness among students who ought to be more open to learning."[6]

    "Jane you ignorant slut!"

  • Anonymous

    next time, 'we love the sluts, but
    we're not so fond of the dry dusty types'?

    So the boys love the sluts, and are
    willing to stand up and say it. most frat boys do love the sluts, how is
    this news?

  • Anonymous

    This just in: Brandeis prof in hot water for using the word "wetback" in a lecture.

    OH the hu-MAN-ity!

  • Anonymous

    its amazing how such offensive things come out on these comment pages because it is anonymous. Shows how beneath all of our posing people maintain sexist and racist attitudes. I can attest that as a woman, it is threatening to see men behaving that way, and it is not just Zeta, it permeates a large part of the frat culture. At SAE, members flashed cards with ratings of women on them as people entered. I have also heard chants from sports teams about fucking a dead woman. seriously.
    the fact that we all think this is just immature or silly or a result of drunkeness shows how far our society really has to go before it can recognize sexism. If someone was shouting racial slurs in front of a cultural house no one would say it was immaturity and drunkenness.
    I think that this has to do with the fact that women don't have a group consciousness the way that various ethnic groups often do. We women all have close relationships with men, whether as partners, daughters, mothers etc. Its easy for us to hear men objectifying or threatening women and say, 'that comment does not refer to me.' Well it does, because all of us women know that you can be walking down the street and be suddenly reduced to fear or humiliation in an instant. No matter how you're dressed, no matter you're behavior. Women need to understand this and recognize that we are all implicated in threatening and objectifying behavior.
    Michelle Castaneda
    (People should post their names and take responsibility for what they say!)

  • Anonymous

    Exactly. And no need to say "seriously," either, because every guy already knows it to be true. In fact, whatever you've seen, it's only worse when there are no women around. Seriously.

  • jake

    perhaps this is call to women everywhere; they have already begun taking the words "bitch" and "girl (or was that "grrrrl")" upon themselves as euphemisms for female strength and individuality; is time to do the same thing with "slut?" Mightn't this word simply be recontextualized as a word that epitomizes the strength of female sexuality and sexual independence?

  • valerie

    Yale invites Ron Jeremy to their campus and these "women" say nothing. But they are aghast at a fraternity joke? Makes no sense. As a women, I tell these "women" get your priorities straight. And to Yale, I say, you degrade yourself and your students by associating with porn stars.

  • Bob

    What an absolute joke. I was under the impression that individuals who attended Yale were half-way intelligent. I have been disabused of that notion by the people who think they have a right to not be offended. If these people honestly think holding up a sign in front of the "Women's Center" with the word slut in it is harrassment, then perhaps they should have taken some remedial English classes before they applied to Yale.
    Who pandered to the delicate sensibilities of these crybabies so much in their pre-college years that their first instinct when being made fun of is to sue? "Extremely hurtful"? Engage in hyperbole much? If you feel oppressed, even for one second, by a bunch of teenagers labeling you a slut, you need to drop what you are doing and join a nunnery immediately because that type of cloistered environment is the only place that can possibly shelter a psyche so ridiculously fragile.
    For some odd reason, most Americans view Ivy-Leaguers as spoiled, pampered brats. For the life of me I can't figure out why that is.

    I guess it would be too obvious to point out the contradiction to the genius who thinks she is being brave by posting her own name on these boards and then claiming being called a slut is threatening. Give me a break.

  • Anonymous

    How exactly is suing these frat guys going to help eliminate negative stereotypes against women, as one person claims? If nothing else it just reinforces the stereotype that feminists are humorless kill-joys and women are delicate flowers who must be protected from every little insult to their character.

  • Anonymous

    "How about women who believe in the sanctity of human life and in pro-life cause and who vote Republican? How many are there on your board?"

    Well said. It is not exactly diversity when everyone's thinking is in lock-step. Get back to me when every member of your board is not farther to the left than Trotksy.

  • Anonymous

    How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Two. One to screw it in, and one to SUCK MY PENIS.

    You see, jokes like this are tasteless. They're offensive to feminists and women alike. There are two sides of the coin, however. What has the women's center said about fraternities in the past? Maybe they didn't use such crude language, but I can almost guarantee that there has been some sort of attack on the fraternity system by this organization.

    Also, do any of you actually think the fraternity took the picture out of meanness? If so, you probably need to pull your head out of your ass and rethink your blind charge with the PC bandwagon.