Vulgar e-mail targets freshmen

University administrators are investigating an anonymous e-mail circulating through the Yale undergraduate community that ranks certain women in the freshman class based on their physical attractiveness.

The e-mail message — which was originally sent from an anonymous e-mail account — came to the attention of administrators and freshman counselors earlier this week after first being circulated among athletic teams and fraternities. Titled “The Preseason Scouting Report,” the message lists the names, hometowns and residential colleges of 53 freshman women, who are organized into categories based on appearance. Some of the names are accompanied by vulgar commentary on the students’ Facebook photos or Facebook profiles.

The e-mail classified the women into several categories, including “sobriety,” “five beers,” “ten beers” and “blackout,” based on perceived degree of desirability. Some are also given “overall grades” of “HIT” or “miss.” (The News obtained the e-mail but is not reprinting it in full to protect the privacy of the students named in the message.)

The Yale College Dean’s Office informed residential college masters of the e-mail Tuesday morning, prompting some masters and deans to alert freshman counselors that they might need to provide support to affected freshmen.

Yale College Dean Mary Miller said the University’s investigation into the e-mail is still in its early stages and that she is unsure whether disciplinary action can be taken against its author or authors.

“I can’t prejudge whether the e-mail has violated University regulations,” Miller said.

Responses to the e-mail differed across residential colleges. Administrators in Davenport College, the first to publicly respond to the incident, devoted a portion of a freshman advising meeting Tuesday to the situation.

“Because it targeted freshmen, we thought this would be a good way to shift away from who knows what and the rumors and try to bring it out into the open,” Davenport College Master Richard Schottenfeld said, adding that he planned to meet with all Davenport upperclassmen about the e-mail in the coming weeks.

At some colleges, including Ezra Stiles and Jonathan Edwards colleges, administrators advised freshman counselors to prepare to field questions from students about the e-mail, several freshman counselors said in interviews Wednesday.

At the same time, three other freshman counselors said they had not been informed of the e-mail by their respective college administrators.

The Dean’s Office is also working with Athletics Director Tom Beckett and Senior Associate Athletic Director Amy Backus to investigate the origins of the e-mail, Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry said. The e-mail has been heavily circulated among athletic teams.

“We actually reached out to just let [the Athletics Department] know what was going on because we can’t pinpoint who did it,” Gentry said. “It may not have been someone from the Athletics Department who did it.”

Should the case go before the University’s Executive Committee, any disciplinary proceedings in the case would remain private.

Schottenfeld emphasized the importance of personal responsibility in preventing incidents such as this.

“If you get an e-mail that’s wrong, people are encouraged to respond back to the panlist and say, ‘That’s a jerky thing to do and I disapprove of it,’ ” Schottenfeld said. “It’s public condemnation that makes it clear that whoever’s doing this is a pretty small and not particularly respected minority, and that it’s not cool.”

Gentry said Wednesday night that administrators have not yet planned any forum for discussion about the incident among the undergraduate community, adding that he believes such a gathering would be a good idea.

Comments

  • Yale ’11

    If they find out who did it, of course they can discipline. This is sexual harassment, and in violation of school policy. Way to make these women feel unwelcome in their first week of school.

  • Froco

    This is not something most men on campus accept as “funny” or “cool”. Whichever meatheads made this list are to be looked down on as scum.

  • BR 2010

    I agree with Yale ’11! I was disappointed that the e-mail existed in the first place, but I was outraged by this statement: “I can’t prejudge whether the e-mail has violated University regulations,” Miller said.

    How is it NOT sexual harassment? If, say, black students rather than women had been targeted, the Dean’s Office would have immediately condemned the hate-speech and everyone would have been in an uproar. Coming down soft on sexism does NOT make Yale a good role model. Do better, Mary Miller.

  • Y10

    There are plenty of people who know the source of this email, and I find it very hard to believe the Administration hasn’t been tipped off. Come on, take a wild guess… you’ll probably be within at least two greek letters.

  • TD ’10

    I’m disgusted with the cowards who couldn’t even stand by what they wrote and had to do it anonymously. Perhaps Yale needs to exercise more discernment as to the athletes and fratboys that we let in, frankly.

  • Y 2010

    This is just disgusting and hateful. I thought people at Yale had more maturity and respect than this. Apparently I was wrong. The amount of hate speech and harassment I’ve heard about circulated at Yale really makes me really reevaluate how I feel about this place

  • SY ’12

    The email Mary Miller sent out on sexual harassment (9/02) includes this definition:

    Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus, when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing; or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement; or (3) such conduct 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.

    If deliberation on sexual harassment has been an extensive process spanning over the “past several months,” there should be no hesitation in “prejudging” this email as sexual harassment. Is this “verbal … conduct of a sexual nature”? Yes. By any reasonable standard, can this email have the “effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment”? Yes.

    The very nature of the email — let alone the disgusting comments within it — is not what you want to greet your first week of college, of being away from home, of being away from friends and support. Camp Yale tries to come down hard on sexual harassment – by why take any of it seriously when Yale stands around with its hands in its pockets as a blatant example blares itself in front of the entire freshman class? If a passive, acquiescent tone is the one Yale wants to set for the class of 2013, it’s doing a dismally good job.

    I can understand Dean Miller’s hesitation to make any official statement yet, but I echo BR 2010. Don’t treat this incident lightly. Don’t slap wrists and pardon with a boys-will-be-boys, this-is-only-a-joke attitude. Don’t call sexual harassment by another name.

  • Froco

    Despicable.

  • The Lorax

    Holster your itty-bitties, boys, before someone cuts them off.

  • Yasser Arafat

    Quick, discipline all the male sports teams and ask questions later!

  • piersondad

    Yale needs to condemn this email in a very public way and take the appropriate disciplinary action. I am disappointed that this sophomoric and sexist incident is taking place at Yale.

  • Yale ’13

    I personally feel empowered I was on this list. Thank god I was only in the ‘5 Beers’ category. It is good to know that I am considered hot at Yale when back home I didn’t receive any attention. Its going to be a great 4 years.

  • 09 alum

    Yale ’13–I can understand feeling glad that you were on the list. I can even understand being proud of it. But “empowered”? Really?

    I know this sounds like a semantic nitpick, but it really isn’t. I’m glad that you were able to get an ego boost from the list, and I hope the rest of the girls share your attitude, since people are going to see your comment as representative anyway. But there’s a big difference between the self-confidence that comes from knowing that most of the guys at a party want to take you home and the self-confidence that comes from knowing that you can do what you want–romantically, academically, socially–without being dismissed or attacked as a slut or a ditz. Maybe Yale’s changed a lot over the summer, but I knew way too many attractive women who lost the second type of self-confidence because they were lusted after but not respected. And that’s not empowering at all.

  • BullDog11

    Who would have thought than men rate women based on attractiveness? Slobs!

  • matt a

    being in vendor relations i cannot fathom such an outrageous example of wapce being displayed at this level of academic excellence

  • CTCitizen

    Just seen this on the news. Well this is pretty disgusting, and it must be horrible for the girls who were rated as “ugly”. Thats the nature of alot of guys, however, and you should keep that in mind. These guys’ opinions should only be worth as much to you as their email is.

  • Y10

    I may be wrong, but I doubt that comment 12 is really from someone on the list. Empowered? Really?

  • thirteenfrosh

    @Yale ’13… I was also on the list, however my emotions regarding the incident are definitely not as positive. It is disappointing that you are not seeing the larger picture here–that you were objectified and that your privacy was violated. I don’t know under which category I was placed, and nor do I desire this information. I felt that the dissemination of this e-mail was wrong in all forms, and we innocent young women were disrespected in so many ways. I was hurt that my pictures and my information were circulating without my knowledge, and that what was going on was beyond my scope of control. Personally this event has put a damper on my opening days here. I believed that Yale men were above this… perhaps I’m better off now because I know early on, but still. I hope the administration will condemn this as a form of sexual harassment and find those damn immature boys.

  • @Y10

    I agree that comment 12 doesn’t seem to actually be from someone on the list…it seems mildly sarcastic to me.

  • Boner Champ

    I came.

  • Bionic Sam

    At least it was positive and not pointing out and humiliating ugly girls. Jeez, clean the sand out.
    :unamused:

  • Y10

    This kind of thing happens all the time, with men AND women. These guys were just stupid enough to put it down on paper and send it off to the interwebs. By all means, hang them, but don’t pretend like it’s some outrageous rarity perpetrated by a unusual group of pervs. ‘Tis life.

  • km

    Seems like they concretized what everyone does unconsciously. They rated attractiveness. hmmmm. i wonder where that happens elsewhere…how about EVERYWHERE. As far as I can tell, it didn’t step over any lines until it was sent en masse to the Yale population, thus making the people on the list know who they are and what was said about them. At that point, it’s certainly harrassment. Previous to that point, it’s no different than people have a private conversation about which girls they think are attractive.

  • well then..

    why don’t a group of us “hot chicks” send an e-mail out ranking every sports team and frat house by you-know-what size.. see how well that goes over.

  • Goldie ’08

    You can’t hold a whole team or responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole athletic departnment? And if the whole athletic department is to blame, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

  • Freshman

    As someone on the list who was given a good rating, I’m upset and highly offended. It isn’t a compliment and I feel like a victim. I feel less secure on campus, and the unfortunate fact is that I have received a very bad impression of Yale upperclassmen that will be hard to shake off. I don’t understand people who have no notion of human decency and respect, and I don’t understand why they have a place here at Yale.

  • Soph

    a couple athletic recruits and fratboys here have an incredibly undeserved notion that by being at Yale they are entitled to be inhumanly obnoxious and often sexist. not saying they’re all like this, but mob psych. is powerful in teams/in frats.

  • delongedoug

    omghai2u

  • non-freshman guy

    To #25: First, I’m so sorry that you’ve had this experience just as you’ve arrived on campus; to be objectified and electronically oggled so publicly is revolting. But please do know that for every guy (upper and lower classmen) who would write or forward a list that ranks you Yale women like prize cattle, there are many, many more who talk amongst ourselves about the perceptive point you made in section or the way you made a classmate feel better when he or she was feeling down. I have no idea who you are, nor you I, but for many of us, your physical beauty is a pleasant afterthought, secondary to the personality and vitality that got you here. Welcome, again, to campus; and from the vast majority of Yale guys, again, I’m sorry.

  • non-freshman guy

    response to, 26, not 25. apologies.

  • 2010

    I think everyone is making way too big a deal of this… The fact of the matter is that guys rank girls ALL THE TIME. Girls also rank guys – I happen to know a few girls who when they were freshmen ranked all of the guys in their residential college. Hell, we have a Yale sanctioned publication, the Rumpus, that puts out an issue each year with the 50 Most Beautiful People at Yale – out of curiosity, how can the administration complain about this and sanction (and fund?) that?

    Not only that, but just like the Rumpus list each year, this list was horribly inaccurate – it was one person’s opinion. It should be taken for what it is, a joke…

    Were some of the comments offensive? Yes. Was it stupid to disseminate it so widely? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No.

  • Mr Fantastic

    I think Harvard’s women are hotter

  • Bill 11

    I never heard of an anonymous e-mail account. Maybe an anonymous post using an alias,but that would’nt get spread around campus like a virus . What’s the url or ip address ? Who is moderating this group ? It has to have an origin.
    Where’d you guys get the booze ? Beauty is in the bottom of the bottle of the inebriated Bass ..

  • Robert M.

    I’d have to disagree with the previous poster almost entirely. However you may feel about the Rumpus 50 Most BP, they are all on their of their own volition. Everyone who makes it into the magazine has agreed to be in it and usually understands the tongue-in-cheek verbal ogling that comes with it. What makes this list different is that none of these girls ever agreed to have their pictures used or disseminated in this manner. Therefore, it’s really become very much an invasion of privacy and public objectification without consent.

    Also Rumpus never publishes a 50 People-I-Could-Only-Fathom-Having-Sex-With-When-I’m-Blackout-Drunk list. We tend to accentuate the positive here at Yale.

  • Yale ’10

    I am shocked, shocked to learn that meatheads rank women in terms of attractiveness.

  • SY ’12

    2010, you’re missing the point entirely. The Rumpus publication includes the consent of all the people it lists. It doesn’t open people to wide and open public ridicule. It doesn’t do what it does anonymously, so it’s responsible to the content it publishes. The Rumpus doesn’t spring hostility and objectification on freshmen just beginning college. And when people rank people based on attractiveness, that’s a private affair that doesn’t subject the people to again, mass ridicule and objectification. So no, this is NOT merely ‘offensive’ and no, this is NOT merely ‘stupid’. Yeah, you’re right — it’s not the end of the world, but few things ever are. You’re making things worse by belittling people who are offended by this email. It’s not just “making way too big a deal” — if your intuitive response isn’t enough to convince you otherwise, then perhaps comment 18 can shed some light for you.

    To any freshmen who were on the list, I am so so sorry this happened. I hope you understand that while this may be one of your earliest impressions of Yale, this isn’t the norm, and most students don’t typically act in such a despicable manner. Hopefully the Yale administration will step up to show that their school policies and purported ideals aren’t merely a show of empty words.

  • from NBC report

    “Despite the hard feelings over the letter, Michael Jones, a junior, doesn’t think the letter reflects poorly on Yale.

    ‘They’re college kids. Everybody is entitled to a mistake. I just hope the list doesn’t hurt anyone who’s on it,’ Jones said.”

    Really? Displays poor judgment from our alder-to-be…

  • BulldogAthlete

    The only reason this kind of list wasn’t sent out from, say, male DSers or the YPU is because they don’t know enough girls to rate them. Don’t hate the players, hate the game.

  • Katie Planey

    Having just graduated from Yale, I’m not surprised at all this happened there. I’ve noticed a striking discrepancy in how Yale men treat women versus other college campuses and in “real life”. And in my opinion, Yale women are far more eligible than Yale men! I know way too many gorgeous girls (i.e. yes, we get plenty of attention from men) who have just written off Yalies and avoid dating all through college. I’m still even hesitant to date Yale alumns. Independent females are not treated with respect, and expected to never ask for anything more than a random hook-up. But even for a hook-up, from the girls’ side at Yale, the options are slim…I preferred celibacy over most Yale guys. Sorry just my two cents! I feel so strongly about this I don’t mind printing my full name.

  • ES07

    Over the past few months, I have been getting increasingly nostalgic about my time at Yale, remembering how fun it was to be a happy little college student…

    …Thank you, anonymous meathead emailers, for putting a stop to *that*!

    Believe it or not, having one’s sexual attractiveness ranked by total strangers in a widely circulated email is *not* a commonplace experience outside of college (indeed, within a workplace, it would just constitute sexual harassment). Stories like these remind me why I was so happy to graduate two years ago (and to be dating my current boyfriend, a man who has no connection to Yale whatsoever).

  • Jack Anon

    It’s just some fun and high jinks. I have seen the list and think that we need to make it comprehensive so it includes all girls at Yale and not just this limited list.
    Let’s extend this to all institutions.
    Jack

  • lin

    To me the scouting report represents the ugly underbelly of Yale admissions; taking athletes who otherwise would not be admitted. I’m just guessing that they are those who would be moronic enough to draft such a list (and circulate it). So, yes, I’m jumping to a cliched (objectifying) conclusion about them. Maybe they’re subliminally striking out, knowing they were objectified (by their prowess) during the admissions process. Maybe it’s time to get rid of athletic recruits! (And, why does Yale persist in dropping standards to take them; because they bring in money. The dirt comes out, sooner or later.)

  • oldyalie

    How about if the girls decided they wouldn’t go along with “random hookups” anymore….do you suppose the boys would re-learn some chivalry and respect, and decide it would be worth investing in long-term relationships? Perhaps a healthier dating atmosphere would prevail. When I was at Yale, there were random hookups, but it was the exception, not the norm, and the dating atmosphere was great. What do you think? Any way to make that happen again? Does anyone care?

  • Hieronymus

    I must say, while I find the email episode boorish and unkind, I rather agree with #43 (with the distinction that names on the email and those into hook-ups may not be in the same cohort): Yalies are perfectly happy to offer themselves as meat, but then upset when a menu arrives. Hypocrite much?

  • RE #42

    Ned Fulmer was right.

  • password protected RDA

    Disagree with #43 and #44. Just because some women like to enjoy the same sexual standards as men does not justify this sort of harassment. Can’t people be sexual and respectful? Let’s not blame the victims here.

    Double-standard much?

  • Patricia Kane

    The emails didn’t target “freshmen”, they target freshwomen.

    Since the 1970s many attempts have been made to move away from language that sets male as a norm and women as the other.

    Check out Miller and Swift’s classic “On Words and Women”. It’s still highly relevant.

    As for the troglodyte(s) that did the rankings and emails, superior women look for superior men, so don’t plan on improving your personal gene pool in the near future.

  • Just B-ing some L’s on some T’s

    There has been an absurd rash of sexist behavior of late, and it has definitely shown itself to be generally accepted and even embraced. It’s a little embarrassing that the Women’s Center’s efforts have lost all credibility and sexual matters have become a shouting match between feminists and men like the purveyors of this e-mail with no progress toward educating the wider community.

  • preppie

    At prep school the girls rated the boys in the face book every year and passed around the book. My junior year they gave me a nice rating, even though i had a bad haircut. I still remember it. I was not offended then and am not now. I laughed.
    All in good fun, folks. Why do you think the news channels all use models to give the news? Hypocrites all; double standards. It happens. Always has, always will, so the holier than thou attitude should be spared and political correctness curbed. Have you never read a gossip mag? Not once? They sell more if they put eye candy on the cover. Why don’t you protest that? Stop watching CNN because they have hot news bunnies and news studs. If you truly don’t care for men like this, ignore them. They’ll go away. Does this really hurt anybody? Do you really care what others think? Big girls really don’t. Stop babying us. We are grown ups. It’s a tough world.

  • Honest

    Princeton has the hottest chicks, hands down, year in year out.

    #24..how would you know?
    #25 Hysterical
    #26 What are you doing Friday?

  • am2009

    As someone who just graduated, and a female, and an ex-athlete, I’m surprised this email has garnered this much attention. I know many groups of girls that make similar ranking lists, and even go as far as to rank prospective hook-ups (I would say suitors, but this just doesn’t exist at Yale) by how much money their families have. Would an email of this sort cause as much of an uproar if it was released? I think not. As to everyone who thinks this email is derogatory, who are you to say that you have not made a similar list in your mind? Okay, maybe not everyone did this, but everyone does judge people based on appearances to some extent. This list just happened to elaborate about it on paper.

    And #42, I really think you are extremely mistaken. If this list was created by an athlete, what makes you think it was one that did not get here on their own volition? You probably were expecting someone to respond in this manner, but regardless, this to me is not the issue. Everyone there needs to just lighten up a bit. While an email of this sort would not be commonplace in the real world (everyone, Yale is not the real world) most people just don’t have the time to focus on things like this (or even past “offenses” that were blown out of proportion during my time at school).

  • Goldie ’08

    Preppie: “If you truly don’t care for men like this, ignore them. They’ll go away. Does this really hurt anybody? Do you really care what others think? Big girls really don’t. Stop babying us. We are grown ups. It’s a tough world.”

    best comment so far. Seriously. People are up in arms calling for disciplinary action, but let the “market” work things out. In the end, douchy guys end up with douchy girls, nerds with nerds…10s date 10s and 2s date 2s. Its economics. Also, for yale to get involved in punishing those responsible…phooey! In the real world people don’t get punished for being mean, but crassness won’t get you very far. If you’re a mysoginistic douche, people will learn that very soon.

    Not getting laid will be plenty of punishment for the meatheads that wrote the email…nothing else is necessary.

    Again, from the classic film PCU: “we’re not gonna protest”

  • @51

    The fact that people may make similar lists in their minds is entirely beside the point. Do I look at men and think about how hot they are? Of course. Do I sometimes talk to my friends about who I think is hot? Sure. Do I send a mass e-mail including personal information and derogatory comments about freshman? Of course not! There’s a gigantic difference and it baffles me that people can’t understand that.

  • Y’09

    honestly, are people really this surprised? lists and emails like this have been circulating among teams (of both sexes), frats, and yes, other groups as well for years, just not talked about as much in the open. so it got sent to the school this time – that’s a good thing. it’s gotten people talking OPENLY about it and hopefully it will make some of the guys on campus think more about the consequences of things like this and how degrading it can be.

    however, it’s true – things like this happen all the time and it’s not the end of the world. emails like this might not be circulated to everyone you know, but girls, walk into a bar or down the hall in your office building and i’m telling you, you’ll feel ogled and violated every day.

    finally, as to the ‘personal information’ and pictures in the email, all of that information is either public on yale’s website through the search or available to the entire campus anyways through yale facebook. if they put scandalous pictures, full addresses, phone numbers, or room numbers, then there would be a huge violation. but the information was relatively innocent. i’d be more concerned that the information makes all students’ information so public in the first place.

  • @52

    George Orwell just called. He was wondering if he could add “Silence is protest” to his infamous list, or will he need your written permission first?

  • the diet

    Quiet Consequence,merely inside growing regard roof letter achievement pain request interesting respect regard map tonight permanent low professional payment cross where vote used fall potential total benefit launch society treaty rapidly offer there college fast task fast save set southern character most garden around again ticket mean upon sample us knee happen partner association despite structure painting pair imply completely pool component narrow one crime hold fill large volume general incident negotiation package animal take likely engineering ready serious comment station possibility gentleman change primary mainly resource

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