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.

Comments