‘Not guilty’ emblematic of flawed justice system

Months ago, I walked in the Women’s Center, expecting to easily enter. I certainly did not expect to be confronted with a group of men, ebulliently shouting, as I heard it, “Dick! Dick! Dick!” while they carefully arranged themselves, edging as close as possible to the sign that boldly declares: “Yale Women’s Center.” While grinning, the brothers perversely documented this moment of pride in photograph.

As a woman alone, I should have interpreted their shouts as a welcome invitation to approach them. Instead, I retreated and entered through the back door. I felt in danger, as if approaching them would undoubtedly result in verbal, if not physical, harassment.

ExComm was unable to find guilty any of the brothers of Zeta Psi guilty. The 12 students who held up the carefully printed sign “We Love Yale Sluts” while repeatedly chanting “dick” have survived Yale’s justice system untarnished.

Perhaps the brothers of Zeta Psi were unaware of the symbolic role of the Women’s Center: It is the only place on this campus designated a safe space for women; it is the only place dedicated to gender equity. Perhaps they did not to intend to “harm anyone socially or psychologically,” as their public apology attests; rather, their behavior was a mere “lapse of judgment.” But, consciously or unconsciously, they were aware of how demeaning it would be to shout “dick” in front of a women’s space, how degrading it is to call a person a “slut,” how their fraternity culture forced them to participate in acts of misogyny.

This incident constitutes sexual harassment. It is defined in the Undergraduate Regulations as conduct that “has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment.” Blocking the entrance to a campus space, the brothers of Zeta Psi made it both difficult and dangerous for me to conduct my life as a student, and they did so by using sexually denigrating words and actions.

In the recent panel discussion, “Sociology of Hate,” professor Joanne Meyerowitz said, “We all believe in the right to free speech, including the right to negative, unpleasant, judgmental speech. But we also believe in everyone’s equal right to live free from harassment, that is, to co-exist at Yale in an environment that’s not intimidating, hostile or offensive. But one person’s free speech, can, in fact, be someone else’s harassment.”

The Executive Committee, as it stands, fails to address a large number of sexual-harassment cases. It is unusual for a student to come forward and file a complaint. Yet it is rare when students who perpetuate sexual harassment receive a harsher punishment than a mere reprimand.

Only as the victim in this case am I permitted to speak; all other parties involved are bound by confidentiality. Students are prohibited from speaking to other students, professors or friends about any detail of the case. In ExComm’s summaries of disciplinary action, there is only a record of the trial and the judgment, nothing more. There is no written record of the deliberations. Consequently, there is no transparency or system of accountability. Students have no knowledge of how other students have been hurt, intimidated, harassed or assaulted.

The Zeta Psi case is emblematic of the University’s flawed justice system — it continues to avoid punishment rather than risk University liability. Would Zeta Psi have been punished if ExComm knew that this “scavenger hunt” was an annual initiation rite? Would they have disciplined the men who shouted in front of the center, “No means yes, yes means anal”? Did ExComm even reprimand the brothers who donned T-shirts commemorating rape as a part of their fraternity initiation? The harassment of female students occurs on this campus time and again, yet due to ExComm’s confidentiality requirements, the community can never know if censure has occurred.

Despite my involvement, I cannot appeal its judgment or even question how it was ultimately determined. I cannot appeal the fact that all 12 brothers of Zeta Psi were allowed to read my written affidavit before they wrote their own — 12 iterations of the same collective story.

Zeta Psi issued an apology in which they wrote: “We accept the responsibility of these events and have sense recognized the severity of our actions. Every single member would like to stress our utmost respect for the female student body. … In the future, behavior of this nature will not be enacted nor tolerated.”

I was directly affected and I question your respect for my female body. Though you claim to accept responsibility for your own actions, I would prefer that the University take it all. Behavior of this nature will be enacted and tolerated in the future precisely because you received no punishment, no discipline — not even a reprimand.

This past January, a professor and alumna of one of the first coeducational classes at Yale told me that she was ashamed to work at this University. I now share her shame.

Jessica Svendsen is a junior in Morse College.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    They were shouting DKE, Jessica. You are very fortunate this is the worst harrassment you've ever had in your privileged life. I've been harrassed far worse, and I wouldn't have been intimidated by that group. I hope you're never harrassed worse than that.

  • Alum

    The essence of Ms. Svendsen's grievance is:

    "This incident constitutes sexual harassment. It is defined in the Undergraduate Regulations as conduct that 'has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment.' Blocking the entrance to a campus space, the brothers of Zeta Psi made it both difficult and dangerous for me to conduct my life as a student, and they did so by using sexually denigrating words and actions."

    Ms. Svendsen does not explain how the rude behavior of the Zeta Psi pledges had either the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with her work or academic performance, or created an intimidating or hostile work or academic environment. She simply concludes that the act made it both "difficult" and "dangerous" for her to conduct her life as a student. Parsing her complaint shows how empty it is.

    "Difficult"? How difficult was it for her to use a rear entrance, once?

    "Dangerous"? How was Ms. Svendsen endangered? By "sexually denigrating words and actions"? Such words only denigrate -- they do not endanger.

    My guess is that Ms. Svendsen was angry, not frightened, and sought retribution, which was properly denied. But this is a lesson for the Zeta Psi pledges and men in general: Legal but rude acts can subject you to more than your fair share of trouble.

  • Anonymous

    I truly wonder how intimidated you would have felt if you had actually been close enough for the pledges to notice you there. In her written statement to ExComm, Svendson says she saw camera flashes. The picture was taken on an iPhone, which has no flash. Perhaps this stole some credibility from your testimony.

  • Hieronymus

    "This past January, a professor and alumna of one of the first coeducational classes at Yale told me that she was ashamed to work at this University. I now share her shame."

    So many times have I heard something similar: "Oh, I am so ashamed to be a Yale student."

    And yet, I can recall no instance--not one--of a person, due to some specific, political event, transferring to a more accommodating institution. Or quitting.

    May I suggest: please go then.

  • Anonymous

    What sort of penalization could they have received? I don't really understand Ex-Comm. As a Community Health Educator we do a lot of background research on sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, and make sure students know what these things are so that they can avoid this sort of behavior, even if it seems unintentional we get them thinking about the results of their actions and the fact that they may come with more consequences than they may think. From my understanding it doesn't make any sense at all that this ISN"T sexual harassment. It's pretty much a text-book example. However, if Ex-Comm can only give out expulsions or suspensions, I don't think that punishment would've fit. Can someone clarify whether or not there's other modes of punishment? Clearly these guys didn't need to get thrown out of school, but the rules are unambiguously stated in the Undergraduate Regulations. What's the point of having these rules if no one is ever held accountable? Seems like it's all just for show and that yet again, when the going gets tough, Yale lets its standards slide.

  • Anonymous

    DKE….not dick

  • y'10

    I'm not sure why people seem so eager to accuse Jessica of overreacting. I was inclined to brush off the incident as a group of guys being dumb, but I wasn't familiar with the part of the Undergraduate Regulations that defines harassment as any act that "creates a hostile or threatening…academic environment." I think it's safe to say that a group of frat brothers chanting "dick" (DKE? really?) in front of the Woman's Center at night--especially with a demeaning sign--constitutes a threatening environment. A lot of girls I've talked to (none of whom have experienced rape or sexual abuse) would be kind of scared in Jessica's situation. There's no reason a woman at Yale should have to put up with this. It may not be a huge deal in the grand scheme of offensive things someone might do, but if Yale has provisions (i.e. undergraduate regulations) for preventing women from feeling intimidated, they are there to be used. Given the amount of bad press the WC has received for being out of touch/hysterical, I didn't think Jessica's piece was inflammatory or unreasonable at all: it seemed like a clear-eyed and compelling critique of an administration that dropped the ball. Jessica, you convinced me. These guys may not have meant any harm, but they created a hostile environment for women (sexual harassment) and should be held accountable.

  • DoodleLover

    So I opened this op-ed thinking that it was about the shooting of Sean Bell. Great timing! It certainly demonstrates the relative irrelevance of this never-ending saga. I am not entirely dismissing the Women's Center nor its noble purpose. But seriously? "The only place on this campus designated a safe space for women?" "The only place dedicated to gender equity?" Please. Who gave it such designations? The (allegedly ubiquitous) date-rapists? The Yale administration? Real victims of rape? Or the officers of an organization desperately seeking a cause? Now, I respect those who take this incident seriously… to a reasonable level. And I agree that the Excom process is needlessly opaque. I wouldn't have been averse to a light disciplinary action against the Zeta Psi guys. But sexual harassment? Come on! Using your broad interpretation of the undergraduate regulations, I really should have sued the a cappella singers who blocked High Street Gate on tap night. After all, they were an intimidating, large bunch. They completely blocked my access to Old Campus, they were shouting "[unintelligible] is f***ing hot!" and the girls kept bumping into me - which was most unwelcome! Perhaps I should have called foul on the girls who hang out in front of Oxford - blocking the entryway, drinking beer, and staring at me. I was so intimidated that I had to go in through the back. They clearly didn't understand the symbolic role of my apartment - a place of homework, sobriety and chastity.

  • Anonymous

    THis University is a disgrace, as are the shockingly dumb comments our Yalies post.

    real rape victims, worse cases of harassment?

    regardless of the severity of their actions, this is indicative of Yale's stance towards the well-being of their female students. it is sick.

    as signified by account after account of the harassment girls have tolerated, even in this slew of comments, being a female student here requires a tacet acceptance of hate and institutionalized misogyny.

    Yale is a backwards institution and an embarrassment.

  • Hieronymus

    I feel intimidated and, frankly, endangered during the annual Speak Out (I am not making this up, nor exaggerating). I fear, as a Y-chromosome wielder, for my safety amidst an angry mob. I have had to avoid the front door of SML.

    Maybe I shoulda hauled the speakers in front of ExComm?

  • heartsurgeon

    This entire episode sounds like a cutting room floor out-take from the movie PCU (stars a young David Spade)..
    if you haven't seen PCU..you HAVE to rent it…

  • adc

    "The Executive Committee, as it stands, fails to address a large number of sexual-harassment cases. It is unusual for a student to come forward and file a complaint. Yet it is rare when students who perpetuate sexual harassment receive a harsher punishment than a mere reprimand. "

    How exactly does she know this? That's right, she doesn't.

    As for her complaint about the way excomm works, she basically wants a system where the defendants have no rights to a fair hearing. Particularly in cases of harassment, I think confidentiality is the best case. Would the accuser really want the incidents surrounding his/her accusation brough to light? And what if the accusation is false? I think it protects the victim as much as the defendant.

  • Anonymous

    Get over it.
    There are REAL victims out there.
    Women who were raped. Women who were threatened. These unreasonable exaggerations are not doing any good to anybody.

  • Alum

    Truly stunning that the Women's Center keeps pushing on this non-issue even in the aftermath of Schvats's horrific conduct. That Ex Comm even took this case is in itself a disgrace; even if you fully agree with the plaintiffs' interpretation of the facts, this falls well short of harrassment of any kind on its face.

    Meanwhile, is Schvats and her advisors even going to be disciplined by Ex Comm? Of course, given that Yale itself provides free abortions on demand at the DUH(!!), you wouldn't see much disciplining for the abortions themselves, but surely a punishment is in order for libel and slander.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with #2 and #4.

    Jessica, if you are so ashamed, then you and your professor should leave the University and transfer to another institution that intrudes on the rights of other students to ensure the Executive Board of its Women Center has free and unfettered access to both entrances of the center at all times. Oh wait, you won't find one, because your demands are unreasonable and your definition of a hostile and threatening environment makes you incapable of living in the real world. Grow up. The Zeta Psi brothers didn't even know you were there let alone harass or intimidate you. If you were so scared, then why didn't you call the police right then and there? No, you waited until the pictures were circulated and the Women Center board was talking about suing to come forward, which obviously makes the student body (and no doubt ExComm) wonder if you were really even present that night. I could rant forever on how ridiculous some Yale students are. It amazes me to what lengths you will go to protect your own interests.

    Women constitute 50% of the student body, a two room shack in the basement of Durfee's is not their only safe haven; please don't think that just because you are part of an institution that calls itself the Women's Center you have the right to speak for all women at Yale.

    Zeta Psi apologized to you, to the Women's Center, and to the Yale student body. Now its your time to retract this ridiculous editorial and apologize for wasting everyone's time by dragging this dumb event on for ages.

  • alum ten years out

    The desire of men (and maybe a woman, who knows) on this comment thread to attack this column really illustrates part of the underlying problem.

    I didn't see the evidence in front of the ExComm, and neither did you -- so none of us tell for sure whether this should have constituted "harassment." It sure looks like a textbook case to me, but I can't know for sure what the right outcome should have been since I wasn't there (and the process is extremely non-transparent, as this column correctly argues).

    But what I do know for sure, just from reading this comment thread, is that there are still a lot of obnoxious guys (and some women too) at Yale who REALLY don't get it. I mean, in order to feel moved to write comments attacking this woman's column, you have to be someone who not only (a) doesn't understand the first thing about the way our misogynistic society works, but also (b) sincerely believes that a bunch of obnoxious drunk guys' freedom to harass people is more important than anyone's freedom from intimidation and harassment -- even at a spot on campus where (yes we know, you don't get this) the whole point is to carve out a little bit of space free from the usual misogynistic crap, for those who want it.

    Harassment is not some kind of tournament where only the worst kind matters -- and whoever is lucky enough not to get raped or beaten or killed or whatever should just thank their lucky stars they just got the usual low-level treatment. In order to build a better society, we need to cut down on all of it, from the big to the small. I'm sure half of you people would have no problem seeing this point if the issue were anything other than gender (i.e. white students holding up a sign with a racist insult in front of an ethnic cultural center, or whatever).

  • Anonymous

    #15:
    Wrong. Women actually constitute just over 50% of the student body (52:48). Sorry, women's center, you are no longer the oppressed minority.

    RE: PCU=underrated gem.

    "Level of insensitivity"
    "C"…"unconscionable"

  • Irked Alum

    One of the biggest problems here, and the trend I saw when I was a Yale student, was that no one on campus has any real respect for anyone else. For instance, various people seem to think that: its MY RIGHT to get wasted and urinate on the woman's table, its MY RIGHT to make a hugely offensive art project, its MY RIGHT to do no work for an A, its MY RIGHT to be rude as hell to anyone I feel like. Yale fails miserably at getting students who have any real sense of how little they actually are in the world, or who extend any real courtesy to each other or anyone else. Then everyone gets mad that other people's attitude problems infringe on their attitude problems.

  • Anonymous

    They didn't realize she was there. Doesn't harassment require some sort of focus upon a victim? It has to be different than 'offensiveness' otherwise one can consider a headline or public photo to be a cause for harassment rather than evidence of bad manners. If someone walks past a sign that declares a hatred for their race or gender or religion, is this an instance of harassment? Doesn't it need to be directed toward a particular individual? Doesn't there have to be eye contact or naming of individuals for the merely offensive to shift into the category of harassment?

  • DoodleLover

    #16 (alum ten years out)

    Of course, we didn't see the evidence. What evidence could there be? It's one (wo)man's word against another. What kind of evidence could Ms. Svendsen provide? As #15 mentioned, she could have - and if she really was sexually harassed, she SHOULD HAVE - called the police and filed a report on the spot.

    There are four clues to tell us whether sexual harassment took place.

    (i) Ms. Svendsen and the WC described the events fully in a mass e-mail titled "This time, we sue!" As I mentioned earlier, I can't imagine she has any evidence beyond her statement, and we know full well what she claims happened that night. Even if the events actually unfolded as she describes, many people (plenty of women included) feel that it does not constitute a "textbook case" of sexual harassment. We can't rule out the possibility (so long as we are being cynical here) that Ms. Svendsen made it all up, or at least embellished the details.

    (ii) Although Ms. Svendsen and the Women's Center threatened to sue, and apparently they've consulted an attorney, they've yet to file a complaint.

    (iii) ExComm decided that there was no harassment. I know you find this unconvincing but keep in mind that women outnumber men in the Executive Committee.

    (iv) The Women's Center and Ms. Svendsen have received very little support from the Yale community, both men and women. You may argue that it was a botched publicity move and that more women would have supported them if the WC hadn't responded with a self-righteous, indignant e-mail (and a demand for more money from Yale, among other things), but this brings me back to my first point. There is no solid evidence. All we have are testimonies.

    None of this proves that sexual harassment DIDN't HAPPEN, but Ms. Svendsen's testimony combined with the picture of Zeta brothers holding up the sign doesn't even meet the preponderance of evidence requirement.

  • Anonymous

    I'm sorry but I lost sympathy with jessica's argument when she wrote that the Womens Centre was: "…the only place on this campus designated a safe space for women; it is the only place balatdedicated to gender equity". I think if I was a student there I would be tempted to taunt those behind such flagrant anti-male bigotry. What an INSULT that statement is to all men on that campus and what is 'equitable' about a WOMENS Centre? If feminists like jessica cannot even spot or deal their own blatant sexism then they can hardly be surprised to lose sympathy from others.

  • Anonymous

    I can't believe how disingenuous those men are being. they knew exactly what they were doing. they were there to put women in their place. and they're here, in the comments, trying to do it again.

  • adc

    As much as I do think there is a culture of misogyny at Yale, I trust that excomm (which has more females than males on it) made the correct decision. The fact is, we do not know all the details and what was said at excomm, and have only heard from Ms. Svedsen on the matter. More importantly though, is that I believe the Yale community has no right to know what was said in Excomm, which is what brings me to respond to this article. I do not feel moved to trash Ms. Svedsen or the Women's center, but to say that simply because Ms.Svedsen didn't get what she wanted does not make Excomm a flawed system -- it makes it a system where people don't always get what they want. Ms. Svedsen, just because their decision ultimately sided with the Zeta Psi guys does not make it a flawed system, it makes it a system in which you did not get what you wanted.

    As for the claim that Excomm largely ignores harassment claims, there is no way for any of us to know this. It is pure speculation.

  • Anonymous

    "Flawed Justice System"

    So I get to hear about a fellow woman complaining about how a large group in the distance made her frightened without confronting her and compare that to a bad justice system?

    What about the man shot 50 times?
    What about Megan Williams?

    I guess only rich white people get the attention. Flawed Justice System indeed.

  • Anonymous

    I'm really surprised by the volume of negative comments here. Yale is not "the real world", Yale is a school - a school whose job it is to provide a nurturing and safe space for educating students, both male and female. Women at Yale should not have to have "dick" (or "DKE"?) yelled at them when entering a women's center, nor should they be called sluts or have rape-promoting phrases shouting at them. The university, as a body dedicated to educating students, should teach these men that this is, actually, not the way that they can behave in the "real world." If a man were to say something joking about rape at work, for example, he could easily face serious trouble. Beyond that, I worry about the men that thought that this was a good idea and about the commenters who support their decision. It is indicative of the special hatred that many supposedly rational people reserve for women and feminism. I don't think that you'd find nearly so many defenders if they'd gone and stood in front of the African American student building and shouted "slaves! slaves!"

  • Anonymous

    ""Difficult"? How difficult was it for her to use a rear entrance, once?

    "Dangerous"? How was Ms. Svendsen endangered? By "sexually denigrating words and actions"? Such words only denigrate -- they do not endanger."

    Ummm…how difficult was it for Rosa Parks to sit in the back of the bus?

    Idiot.

  • Violetta Green

    The funny thing is that these young men knew exactly that they were throwing sexually derogative words at Ms. Svendsen ("slut", "dick"). We all know it, even the men in this thread and on the decision board. This is sexual harassment of the verbal kind.

    The problem now is: the Yale definition of sexual harassment is different. It is based on "work or academic performance" or "academic or work environment". Now is the Women’s Center part of the student's work environment? I guess they answered it with a 'no'. In a general legal system, it would get a 'yes' for sexual harassment.

    Congrats to Ms. Svendsen for having such clear and strong words about this case, although she must just shake her head over this unjust decision.

    And #13 ("Get over it. There are REAL victims out there. Women who were raped. Women who were threatened."):

    Eh? Maybe you forgot that there are women who get their heads cut off or their arms broken. Rape victims should just shut up if the perpetrator didn't even use a REAL KNIFE, right? And they were not even gagged? Sissies!

  • Anonymous

    OK, one more time for those of you who don't like reading the story/previous comments: no one yelled slut or dick at anyone (well, not this time).

    And Violetta, are you psychic or something? How do you *know* what the men in this thread or on ExComm are thinking? Given ExComm's decision, I'd have to guess they *didn't* think the frat morons were throwing sexually derogative words at Ms. Svendsen.

  • Harold

    It's interesting how posters jump to the 12 boys defense saying she could just use the back door etc. Excuse me, why should she use the back door? No doubt she pays the same fees to attend Yale as everyone else? What was the grand purpose? Oh, yea…12 misogynistic male chest thumping assholes to screaming dick and slut out in front of a building, no doubt leering at every woman who came past and judging them…that's not intimidating or harassment at all. This is the type of behavior that leads to date rape and victim blaming. This "boys will be boys" bullshit attitude is why rape is not taken seriously. Disgusting.

  • To #1

    To #1,

    Your main argument is "I have been harassed worse so get over it." That's an inane argument. 200 years ago there was slavery. Does that mean that we should have told King "well other generations had it worse so get over it?!"

  • Anonymous

    Who is anyone here to call the decision unjust? It is a blind accusation and an ignorant one as well. All the public knows about are the claims of the YWC and the apology of Zeta Psi. It does not shock me that the pledges were not punished. The YWC and Ms. Svendsen did not even formulate a harassment charge until they realized they did not have a case in a court of law. Who knows if they had ever planned to make a harassment claim before their initial means of "punishing" Zeta Psi failed? Women face real problems today, and I think the YWC has made light of more important issues. I now view the YWC as vengeful and therefore unproductive towards women's rights. The pledges of Zeta Psi may have been chanting something, but they were obviously not directing their chant at Ms. Svendsen if they never noticed her. I firmly believe that Ms. Svendsen and the YWC were not seeking justice as they should have been, but retaliation and publicity instead. And when I see people use words like "idiot" (like in post #26) to build their argument, it shows that there are those on the feminist side who are intolerant towards the beliefs of others. Hmm…is tolerance an important concept for feminism?

  • Anonymous

    #27 writes: "Rape victims should just shut up if the perpetrator didn't even use a REAL KNIFE, right? And they were not even gagged? Sissies!"
    I have no idea what is this supposed to mean. No, rape victims shouldn't shut up just because the perpetrator didn't use a real knife. They are still REAL victims.
    Ms. Svendsen isn't. She's just a person who saw a group of young men behaving in a idiotic and certainly sexist way. That's not enough to be a victim. Not in my book. In fact, by calling Ms. Svendsen a victim we are devolving the very meaning of the word.

  • Anonymous

    I have read some of the violent posts on feministing.com about this topic (the details of this case have been posted there for comment) - one woman was openly calling for 'vigilante action' among other thinly veiled threats. Jessica expalin yourself and why you are any better than the 'thugs' you decry so loudly and angrilly>?

  • Anonymous

    Ohh in fairness To Jessica Svendsen I should mention that the article posted in feministing.com which links to the story posted here was NOT posted by the same Jessica as here. The feministing article was posted by Jessica Valenti who is feministings managing editor. The article and comments I previously referred to are at http://feministing.com/archives/009106.html#comments

  • Anonymous

    Leonard #33, I am not Jessica, but I think that the difference in a poster on her blog calling for "vigilante action" and 12 frat boys yelling "dick" and holding up a sluts sign in front of the Yale Women's Center ought to be relatively clear.

    1)As far as I know, no feministing.com commentators have gone and protested outside the frat house - it's all contained in their own blog. If one of the frat boys had written "we love Yale sluts" on a blog, I don't think this would be an issue.

    2)The reality is that many women ARE sexually victimized and raped by men, and very few men are sexually victimized and raped by women. So, fair or not, the impact of calling women sluts and saying things like "no means yes and yes means anal" is very different from the impact of a feminist blogger calling for vigilante action. Many, many women are victimized by men who truly believe the things that these frat boys (hopefully) said in jest. That's what makes it not funny and problematic.

  • Karina R

    Surely in this day and age, people should realize that the right to a safe, non-threatening space is one that should be available to anyone.

    Judging from several of the posts on this thread, it is apparent that many do not.

    Even more appalling: the posters who claim that this case does not constitute "real" harassment, particularly in comparison to rape. It's clear that none of the perpetrators here feel any remorse for what they've done, and Yale's administration has done nothing to change this.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous #35 - you are also perpetuating the problem and thereby undermining the credibility of womens centre and it's advocates- it seems that a number of shall we say exagerations or embellishements have been made over what actually occured that night. For example someone calling themselves 'sixtiesliberal' posted the following in the feministing.com website:
    "However, descriptions of the event have apparently embellished what actually occurred and this has eroded support the Women's Center would otherwise have received. The embellishments appear in the main article above, including the implication that several women were intimidated that night and that the chants were indisputably "dick".

    One woman (not the implied several), the same woman who wrote the article criticizing the disciplinary committee, claimed she was intimidated into using a different entrance. The claim was not made following the incident but rather as part of the announcement "This time we sue" when the offensive photo on a Facebook page was copied by a Women's Center supporter and circulated via internet to the Yale community. There has been no claim anything was directed at her or that the frat asshats even knew of her presence.

    Some have said the chant was "deek" (for another frat DKE), which actually makes a little more sense than "dick" in the context of a fraternity pledge outing.

    My point is that the Yale Women's Center has contributed to its own marginalization by trying to make the stunt even worse than it actually was. Instead of using the photograph, all by itself, as a rallying point to gather more support and to engage people of good will into productive discussion and engagement for change, the Women's Center left itself open to charges of overreaction and overkill. "
    As for the claim that '…many women are sexually victimised and raped by men…' etc
    The problem here is that for starters we are not discussing a rape nor even a sexual assault - and campus feminist womens centres already have a very tarnished reputation because of their penchant for circulating alarmist 'alerts' and ludicrously innacurate or misleading 'rape' statistics. Such a readiness to embellish,fabricate or exagerate problems with the opposite sex do not create greater understanding or accord between the sexes on the contrary they contribute directly to an atagonistic atmosphere and Orwellian paranoi.
    Making storms in a teacup just makes you look mean and carping especially when it was a minor event over which those concerned have already apologised.

  • Feminist Man

    I promote violence against these "men".

  • ADC

    I find the amount of anger shown on these boards to be scary. Either Yale is breeding people who get so idignant that they will not possibly be able to cope in the real world, or it is breeding a campus full of people who suppress their anger in public and unleash it through anonymous blogging. I'm not sure which option I prefer.

  • not impressed

    Wow, way to make a more hostile environment for women. Good going, Yale.