Still no action on e-mail

Though the Yale College Dean’s Office has made little progress in identifying the author of the e-mail known as “The Preseason Scouting Report” more than a month after administrators began investigating its origin, students have continued to press for disciplinary action against the e-mail’s creator.

In September, administrators attempted to trace the origins of the e-mail electronically, which lists the names, hometowns and residential colleges of 53 freshman woman and ranks them based on physical attractiveness. It was sent from an anonymous e-mail account, and Yale Information Technology Services was unable to identify a source. At the time, ITS Director Philip Long said ITS tried to use the e-mail’s digital postmark to trace it back to its original author, but they could not identify the source.

Since then, the Dean’s Office has apparently done little else.

Now the message’s electronic trail easily could have gone cold, said Michael Fischer, a computer science professor.

“In general, these things are very hard to trace,” he said, explaining that ITS may have had to track the e-mail chain through multiple servers and e-mail accounts.

If the original e-mail account was registered with a non-Yale e-mail service, such as Gmail, the service provider would have to cooperate by providing access to that account, Fischer said. The e-mail service company may refuse to hand over such information without a subpoena, he added.

No such subpoena has been issued, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in an e-mail Tuesday evening.

Last month, at the behest of the Dean’s Office, the coaches and captains of athletic teams, who were among the first to receive the e-mail, began discussing the incident with team members. Administrators have remained tight-lipped about any recent efforts to investigate the incident, although Miller confirmed the investigation has not come to an end.

Though action has stalled at the administrative level, some students are still calling for action.

“It’s disappointing to a lot of people to see that the administration took a weak response to it,” said Alice Buttrick ’10, the Women’s Center public relations coordinator. “It’s not very encouraging, given the incredibly outraged response of the campus as a whole and not just the reactionary fringe feminist groups.”

Blair Lanier ’11 said she and other members of the Women’s Center had spoken informally with administrators about the incident but that the Dean’s Office had not acted on the Center’s concerns.

“We’ve expressed our frustration with the fact that nothing’s happening,” said Lanier, the Women’s Center’s business coordinator. “They have not made any concrete promises or promised any solutions of any kind.”


  • Veritas

    I’m willing to bet most of the student body had forgotten about this message until this article came out. The greatest thing you can do to help eliminate the unwanted attention received by the women listed in the e-mail is to not remind everyone about it by continuing to write about it; everytime you do, more people forward the email to friends who haven’t yet seen it. Everyone knows the Women’s Center and the YCDO frown upon the e-mail, and they even opened a dialogue about it soon after it happened. All they have to pursue right now is a month-old e-mail that offers one person’s (highly skewed, but isn’t that the beauty of freedom of speech?) view of the attractiveness of 53 members of the freshman class. I think chances are pretty high that the author had intended to send this to just his (or her — who am I to discriminate?) friends and became another victim of the Forward button.

  • Recent Alum

    Why is the Dean’s Office even in the business of trying to track the origin of an email? Certainly this is not the first (nor will it be the last) mass unsolicited email/spam to be circulated to students.

  • DGB

    A project of such scope must have involved several Yale men, probably athletes (maybe not, but circumstances suggest this would be a logical inference). Further, it seems likely that some men who were not directly responsible for crafting the email had heard about it beforehand.

    The administration can certainly come up with ways to put increasingly uncomfortable pressure on those with some prior knowledge of the offensive email to speak out–and maybe the administration has applied some moral pressure, but their efforts should strengthen and persist until the authors of the email are uncovered and disciplined.

  • Brad Ford

    The YDN should do better than this story. While criticizing the school for failing to do “enough” to track the e-mail, the story includes information that suggests the school cannot track actually the e-mail.
    For example, the story mentions that a subpoena is required to obtain information from service providers like Google. Later, it implies the wrongdoing by the school because “[n]o such subpoena has been issued, Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in an e-mail Tuesday evening.” A good journalist would have pointed out that Yale does not have the power to issue subpoenas. A good journalist would have investigated what is necessary to obtain a subpoena.

  • an investigation, really?

    is this seriously worth the time of the administration investigating something that happens thousands of times daily at yale and any place in the world where there are humans… the only difference here is someone wrote it down…big deal…i don’t see anyones rights violated…perhaps immature, but i didn’t know that was illegal. i guess we’ll just keep living in our pretend world yale bubble where there’s freedom of speech (except when its not pc).

  • Yale10

    Obviously this email is terrible and degrading for the persons named in it, but it’s hardly a crime. Why is a subpoena even being mentioned? Is the law really going to get involved? On what charges? Offending the sensibilities of the academic elite?

  • HDT

    What bothers me is that it’s no secret that a lot of people know who wrote it, yet no one has come forward. At the very least, the frat where it originated is common knowledge. Couldn’t the Dean’s Office avail itself of this knowledge and put pressure on those in said frat to take responsibility for their actions?


    No new developments in old, boring case.

    More at 11.

  • Alum ’05

    I’ve read many times on the YDN that the writers and fraternity responsible are “common knowledge” yet no one is willing to come out and say it on here. Name names if you guys think you actually know.

  • HDT

    @ Alum ’05-

    If your comment was in response to my comment, I don’t know any actual names, and I’m sure the Dean’s Office knows which frat it came from just as well as I do. I don’t think this is really the proper forum for name-naming anyway: it’s the YDN, not Juicy Campus (though whatever site has replaced JC might be the place to look for names if you’re curious).

  • y09

    Nice to know that bladderball merits a public condemnation by every Master and Dean at Yale, but sexual harassment is tossed under the rug with some vague mutterings about free speech.

  • Hieronymus

    DGB = “Ve haf vays…”

    Oy veh. Get off’n it.

  • Yale 08

    It’s embarrassing enough that the e-mail referenced by this article has proven untraceable – however, it’s hugely disappointing that some of the loudest fringe groups at Yale have shown complete disregard for the fact that Yale has made its best efforts with the resulting investigation and instead decided to take advantage of yet another isolated incident on campus in an apparent effort to extort Yale’s resources for their own activities that are neither necessary for the Yale community at large nor even relevant beyond the small ranks of these groups’ memberships.

  • Hieronymus

    “What bothers me is that it’s no secret that a lot of people know who wrote it… [a]t the very least, the frat where it originated is common knowledge…” Well, okay, the political party… and the gender of course.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket:

    INDICT YALE MEN! (We LOVE Yale joik-offs!)

  • Rule of Law

    Any judge who would issue a subpeona deserves to be impeached. The email, however offensive it may be, is protected by the First Amendment. Being a private entity and not a government agency, Yale can do whatever it pleases without violating the Constitution. However, for a court to issue a subpeona or convict anyone of a crime over this would be clearly unconstitutional.

  • lawl


    “yet another isolated incident”

    When you have a chain of “isolated incidents,” maybe they’re not so isolated…?

  • Y10

    Haha…skeptical, Hieronymous? This is the best evidence yet that you’re not actually a Yale student (and that you make dumb assumptions, but anyone who reads the YDN website already knew that.)

    If you want to know the frat #7 was referencing, I’ll give you a hint: they “love Yale sluts.”

  • overplease

    Will the wingnut feminists ever lay this minutia to rest? Self-righteous indignation is so boring.

  • Mike

    Oh my god. I have to see this email. Right away.

    Could someone forward it to me, with the corresponding photos?

    Preferably nude?


  • Hieronymus

    Sorry so slow in getting back to you #17, but, uh, may I just say: duh!

    I was trying to think of an analog to the “we love yale sluts” episode, hence the “we love yale joik-offs.” I wasn’t really trying to be subtle…

    You KNOW who did it? PROVE it!

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