News’ View: Last week’s e-mail is still an issue

The predatory and offensive e-mail is public, spread widely across campus. Little more fallout can come of it. But a stronger response can — and must — be seen.

When the News reported the existence of the e-mail Thursday, Dean of Yale College Mary Miller said the University’s investigation into the e-mail was ongoing, and so she was not ready to reach any conclusions.

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

Though the perpetrators’ identities were and yet remain publicly unknown, their actions were clearly apparent. And though the school could not take disciplinary action against invisible offenders, a clear statement regarding their offense could have been made last week.

The words e-mailed around campus stood visibly on their own — and they either were or were not a violation of the University’s policy against sexual harassment.

We believe they were, as defined in section three of the Yale University Statement on Sexual Harassment, which includes acts with “the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile work or academic environment,” as the e-mail surely did.

Dean Miller’s column on this page yesterday expressed in less guarded language that the e-mail was intolerable. But University officials have yet to assure students and the community that they are taking every action to find those responsible, and to punish them.

Concerns of privacy and protection are less relevant than they were a week ago, when fewer had seen the e-mail or heard about it. Now the community’s primary concern is justice. Dean Miller and the University must make clear to all of us in the community that they are still pursuing this issue, and that they intend to act upon it when they can.


  • 180

    Wow, what a change from the YDN’s reaction to the hateful graffiti found on Yale’s campus a couple years ago! It’s great to see that our campus paper is now calling for justice (as opposed to the silencing of protestors). Keep up this new point of view!

  • 2010

    I completely agree. While I appreciate that Miller’s article asked students to speak up in the face of these kinds of actions, I was, frankly, a little insulted that most of her article was dedicated to wishy-washy musings on freedom of speech–which were already on the mind of any thinking person (which most of us at Yale are).

    If she has come to the conclusion that it is not harassment, she should tell us why. If she has good reasons for not yet being certain, she should reveal them. Otherwise, the way she has treated this subject is adding insult to the injury already felt acutely by 54 freshman women and more generally by the entire population.

  • Minhal

    This is exactly what is needed. Dean Mary Miller’s response was coming down “soft” on the issue. This was not free speech that was “vulgar.”

    It was sexual harassment and should be taken care of as listed in the Yale Regulations.

    • connman250

      In the industry I was in, this would have been a reason, in the present day, to fire an employee or put him on leave pending a hearing. If he used a Yale e mail, this would probably violate university rules, but if it was a private e mail account, probably not.

  • connman250