Forney and Teicher: How our fraternity failed

At around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, many people heard loud chanting and singing in and around Old Campus. The chants came from members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. The lyrics ranged from patriotic to crude to obscene. Too often, college students get carried away in revelry or tradition and ignore the significance of their words and actions. The widespread response to this event showed us that, for some people, our words had real and powerful meaning.

The brothers of DKE accept responsibility for what we did, and want to sincerely apologize to the Yale community. We were wrong. We were disrespectful, vulgar and inappropriate. More than that, we were insensitive of all women who have been victims of rape or sexual violence, especially those here at Yale. Rape is beyond serious – it is one of the worst things that any person can be subjected to. It is not a laughing matter, yet we joked about it.

The brothers of DKE were not out to hurt or target anyone, or to incite violence against women. And although we in no way condone rape, we realize that this kind of behavior exemplifies a casual attitude towards rape that sadly fosters an environment in which sexual harassment can be ignored or belittled.

Though our original statement sought mistakenly to defend the fraternity, we realize that many members of the Yale community are frustrated, appalled and offended by what was said. Many of you are angry with us. We understand why the Women’s Center called for campus-wide action immediately following the story of what transpired — something must be done to ensure that this behavior, whether intentional or in jest, is not simply brushed aside.

And that is why we are joining with the Women’s Center, Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry in a discussion about sexual violence and how to create a safe and comfortable environment at Yale University. Actions like ours are unfortunately a recurring theme at college campuses all over the United States. But we hope that Yale can be a model of progressive cooperation and a safe place for women. We therefore hope that these unfortunate events serve as a teachable moment to facilitate and engage in positive and meaningful dialogue about sexual relations here at Yale. Let’s make this right.

Jordan Forney is a senior and Sam Teicher, a junior, both in Silliman College.

Comments

  • anotherY10

    “Too often, college students get carried away in revelry or tradition and ignore the significance of their words and actions.”

    So this is your “tradition”? Chanting songs about rape for 150 years? Why would anyone join an institution with such ideas about “revelry and tradition”?

    “The brothers of DKE were not out to hurt anyone” – no, they were just out to aggressively assert their power as a mob in freshmen’s public space. And build up their pledges’ sense of a group by singing about how macho it is to “fill dead women with your semen”.

  • RexMottram08

    “progressive cooperation” I’ll pass.

  • FailBoat

    > And that is why we are joining with the Women’s Center, Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry in a discussion about sexual violence and how to create a safe and comfortable environment at Yale University.

    Here’s a way to do it. Eliminate the Yale Women’s Center, which tells women to empower themselves through sex but omits the biological fact that when push comes to shove, women are more sexually vulnerable than men. Ban the frats, which purport to teach manliness but instead revel in sophomoric degeneracy. Crack down on public drunkenness and out-of-control parties here at Yale and all those who enable it.

    Alcohol is the number one factor in sexual violence at Yale, and it isn’t even close. Alcohol reduces impulse control, impairs decision-making, incapacitates potential victims, and enables sexual predators. Frat parties. Modern Love. Safety Dance. Blackout. These are where bad decisions are made – and an unacceptable proportion of these bad decisions inevitably cross over into sexual violence.

    It’s an unfortunate prescription, but there you have it. A perpetually drunk population of emotionally-stunted young adults, a lack of adult supervision, and a safe sexual environment. You can only have two.

  • The Anti-Yale

    I have never understood male bonding rituals such as “fraternities”. They’re so MINDLESS.

  • prently

    Part 1 of 2: There are way too many rhetorical moves in this “apology” that are designed to deflect responsibility for the hate-filled act carried out by DKE. We are told the lyrics were “patriotic” as a way of showing that the actions of these “brothers” couldn’t be all that bad. The first paragraph blames “college students” for getting carried away in their revelries, dispersing the blame so that it is shared by an entire national culture rather than focusing on the fact that there were real, live, specific men who carried out these hateful acts.

    Then we get this lovely move: “The widespread response to this event showed us that, for some people, our words had real and powerful meaning.” Suddenly, these words don’t have meaning for the entire Yale community, or all women who have been raped, or all people who have been raped, or all people who could potentially be affected by rape (which is, by the way, all people). Rather, these words only matter to “some people.”

    Forney and Teicher make a similar move in paragraph two, admitting responsibility for being insensitive to “all women who have been victims of rape or sexual violence.” I’m glad these two young men and the others they speak for have realized and taken responsibility for their “insensitivity” to victims of rape. However, they also need to realize that their words don’t just hurt those who have already been raped. They also affect all those people who are at risk of being raped, who know anyone who has been raped, and who live in a community where this kind of hate is being embraced. Their hate affects everyone, and they need to own up to that.

    In the next paragraph, we get a defense of the supposed intentions behind the fraternity’s hate speech: “The brothers of DKE were not out to hurt or target anyone, or to incite violence against women.” I hope that this is true. I want to believe that this is true. When I consider what happened, however, these words sound like an empty apology, like the words of people saying what they’re supposed to say in order to avoid further punishment. Let’s remember what these “brothers” chanted as they marched through the spaces where first-year women should be able to feel safe: “My name is Jack. I’m a necrophiliac. I f— dead women, and fill them with my semen. No means yes. Yes means anal..F–ing sluts.” If these men were not out to hurt anyone, why did they chant “f–ing sluts” in a space where they knew that freshmen women would hear them? If they were not out to incite violence against women, why did they shout “no means yes”? Why were they saying any of these things at all? And why were they making a point to say them in public? Isn’t the whole point of saying such hateful things in a public space to ensure that you have an audience? To ensure that those who are being threatened hear the threats?

  • prently

    Part 2 of 2: How could it be that the men of DKE “in no way condone rape” when they were chanting “no means yes”? Isn’t that an explicit way of condoning rape? Of supporting it? The actions of the men of DKE do much more than “foster an environment in which sexual harassment can be ignored or belittled.” Their actions publicly support sexual violence. And let us not forget what “sexual violence” entails by using a politically correct term that can mask the reality of what it signifies. The actions of the men of DKE support the violent forcing of a penis or other object into a vagina or other orifice. They support the physical domination of men over women. Yale cannot tolerate this sort of hatred, this sort of violence.

    In the penultimate paragraph, we get a glimpse into the psychology behind this apology when Forney and Teicher realize that “many members of the Yale community are frustrated, appalled, and offended.” This is the motivation for the apology: other people are angry. The fact that it took other people’s anger to alert the men of DKE to the fact that what they did was abominable is telling. Let us not forget the lessons of Abu Ghraib, which are pertinent here. The torturers at Abu Ghraib were so wrapped up in a culture of hatred and violence that they had no idea how appalled the American public would be by their actions. It took the voices and perspectives of others to shake them out of their culture of hate and to see why their actions were unacceptable. Like the torturers at Abu Ghraib, the men of DKE were so wrapped up in their misogynistic culture that they were unable to predict how the greater community would react to statements like “I f— dead women.” This degree of misogyny is disturbing. Yale cannot tolerate it.

    Forney and Teicher are right, however, in their final paragraph. Yale does need to have a discussion about sexual violence, and the university community must come together to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. And it would be wonderful if Yale were to become “a model of progressive cooperation and a safe place for women.” However, the hate-filled actions of the men of the DKE cannot simply be glossed over by rhetorically transforming them into “a teachable moment.” Their actions are a disgrace to Yale, and those of us at other schools are watching to see how the Yale administration handles this situation.

    Traditionally, Yale has been held up as a model university, and I’d like to believe that the men of DKE are a few deviant bad apples. In order to hold Yale up as “a model of progressive cooperation,” the men involved in these “unfortunate events” cannot merely be released with a slap on the wrist. Their hate speech and their misogyny does not belong at Yale. Yale has a responsibility to show that it will not tolerate hate speech. All of the men involved must be expelled.

  • The Anti-Yale

    *If these men were not out to hurt anyone, why did they chant “f–ing sluts” in a space where they knew that freshmen women would hear them? If they were not out to incite violence against women, why did they shout “no means yes”? Why were they saying any of these things at all? And why were they making a point to say them in public*

    BECAUSE THEY’RE BOORS AND BORES. NO MORE COMPLICATED OR INSIDIOUS THAN THAT. HAVEN’T YOU NOTICED THAT MOST MEN ARE LED AROUND ON A LIBIDO?
    (even Henry Kissinger and Elliot Spitzer)

  • The Anti-Yale

    *” Let us not forget the lessons of Abu Ghraib, which are pertinent here. The torturers at Abu Ghraib were so wrapped up in a culture of hatred and violence that they had no idea how appalled the American public would be by their actions.”*

    This culture of “hatred and violence” began with the sado-masochistic *Old Testament* God of Wrath who in *Deuteronomy* ordered that “all Hittites and Canaanites be killed, every single one of them” (aka genocide).

    It continued with the equally evil if not improved sado-masochistic God of “Love” of the *New Testament,* who, in the *Book of Revelation* introduced the manifestly EVIL notion of ETERNAL DAMNATION IN HELLFIRE into the universe.

    This Judeo/Christian God’s most famous exponent is now being celebrated at Yale with a new Center carrying his name: Jonathan Edwards (Class of 1720). Read his blood-chilling and also certifiably wicked sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”.

    Our MALE ancestors, taking these sado-masochistic lessons to heart, produced the torture of 83-year-old Giles Corey in Salem, Massachussetts in 1694. This torture was politely called “Pressing”.
    Huge stones were put on top of him in an effort to extract information from him about the name of a townsperson who claimed the witchcraft alleged by teenage girls was fraudulent. Rather than divulge the name, he allowed his guts (not information) to be “pressed” out of him, saying but two words; “More weight”.

    Our charming recent ancestors created equally sado-masochistic tortures :My Lai, the burning with chemical warfare of innocent Asian women and children followed by their murder and interment in a roadside ditch; and most, recently, with and select-a-torture games at Abu Ghraib (as you note).

    ***The problem is not misogyny; the problem is sado-masochistic patriarchal religions foisted on children in their formative years by cruel and dull-witted adults.***

    Better to build a center at Yale exposing the indecency– -indeed the evil — of these Judeo/Christian beliefs and their exponents, than to build a center to Jonathan Edwards, King of Hellfire.

    Paul D. Keane

    M. Div. ’80

  • The Anti-Yale

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jonathan-Edwards-Center/10150156838860107
    NOTE: It is a new Digital Consortium which has been created to promote the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale which has existed since 1953.

  • grantttodd

    Are you doing it?

  • Peachy Keane

    Um. Yale div at its… best?

    Whatever bond I had with The Yale Daily News posting board after
    two full years and the beginning of this third academic year of posts,
    ended suddenly with the last word of my final post: **EXORCISM**
    (9/21/10).

    My “abilities” are better utilized elsewhere.

    **I may have stopped following The Yale Daily News, **
    but I wish Yale, Yale students, and New Haven well.

    Paul. D. Keane (M. Div. ’80)

    The Anti-Yale

    Posted by PAUL D. KEANE at 11:30 PM Sunday, September 26, 2010
    http://theantiyale.blogspot.com/2010/09/posting-bond.html

    PS If you don’t like my posting , skip it. No one forces your eyes past the first word except yourself

    and your own *control-freak* desire to be Super-monitor. Until your Yale/New Haven resume exceeds

    mine, kindly refrain from suggesting I am a New Haven transient who brings nothing to the table of

    free speech.
    I consider these posts an **EXORCISM.**

    Paul D, Keane

    M.Div. ’80

    M.A. (Middelbury ’97)

    M.Ed. (Kent State ’72)

    B.A. (Ithaca College ’68)

    Diploma (Hamden High ’63)

    Ceremony (Sleeping Giant Jr. High ’60)

    High fives (Spring Glen Elementary ’58)

  • The Anti-Yale

    Peachy
    You keep inviting me to leave. That only makes me want to stay longer.
    PS
    MT CARMEL Elementary (Spring Glenn was for the Upper Crust)

  • The Anti-Yale

    Peachy,
    This entry below to Prof3 is from the Sleeper article posting board but it applies to your not so subtle post above. Sorry not to satisfy your need to see me gone. You missed Michael J. Whalen Jr. High School which preceded the erection of Sleeping Gaint. Now both gone–which I am not, to your irritation and my delight.
    PK

    **Prof3
    To use a sports metaphor (probably incorrectly): Posting on the YDN board is like volleyball, or badminton, or tennis— it’s seeing how long you can keep a volley going.
    It’s sport, intellectual sport, but sport nonethless (except when insecure posters become NASTY.)
    My understanding of sport (except for certain obsessives like Tiger Woods and Andre Agassi) is that it is supposed to be for FUN and RELAXATION and for FILLING THE EXISTENTIAL ABYSS.
    Unfortunately, as Arthur Miller warned us so presciently in ***Death of a Salesman*** in 1949, the American Dream turns EVERYTHING into competetion:
    “Willy Loman had a good dream, it’s the only dream you can have —to come out number one man.”
    *One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.*
    Welcome to the American three-dog nightmare.**
    *PK*

    [link text][1]

    [1]: http://theantiyale.blogspot.com

  • The Anti-Yale

    Peachy Keane:

    I suggest that you be cautious about how you alter a person’s writing; how you use their name, and how you refer to their character. Your current behavior may not be in your best interest.

    PK

  • WoobieTuesday

    I read a blog commenting on these acts to the effect that it was simply a bunch of men humiliating themselves. He attributed the behavior to men acting powerless in a hazing ritual. Since I cannot get inside the head of a man, I would have to say that may be so. But if this is the case, it is only an expression of powerlessness only in relation to other men. It is an expression of violent power over women. The latter expression is more virulent issue here given the innate inequality, in most cases (speaking about the sheer differences between the sexes in physical size and strength), of the power structure between men and women.

    Men who do not take rape, the threat of rape, or making light of rape seriously do so because they are coming from a position of PRIVILEGE. The only way men will be able to grasp the threat that is implicit in this behavior is to understand what it feels like to be victimized by somebody in a higher position of power. Think race theory and apply it to gender inequality. If you don’t understand, READ about it until you do.

    Your disingenuous apology, issued only in response to the intensity of the trouble you brought upon yourselves, is an embarrassment and an affront to my human rights as well as my dignity. It will take a lot more than an apology and an appearance at a discussion group to make this right.

  • WoobieTuesday

    [Page 1 of 2] I think that the acts perpetrated by the DKE frat and their pledges could be argued to fall under the First or Second Degree crime of bias, a Class C (or D, respectively) felony. See: [http://www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-R-0276.htm][1]

    According to Connecticut Senior Research Attorney, Christopher Reinhart, the elements of 2nd Degree Bias under Connecticut criminal law proscribe that:

    A person commits the second degree crime if he acts maliciously and intends to intimidate or harass someone because of [her]…gender… if he threatens to either make physical contact (i.e., “no means yes”–’You say no to sex with me, I will make you have sex with me.’ That’s an **EXPLICIT threat of physical contact**) and the victim has reasonable cause to believe he will carry out the threat.

    This means that the victim(s) of the threat must have ***reasonable cause*** to believe that the man or men chanting the threat will carry out the threat. The legal standard brought by the language of this legislation is that of the doctrine of reasonableness, or reasonable cause.

    Is it reasonable for an 18-21 year old female (or any other person, for that matter–but these chants were specifically targeting an audience of Yale frosh women, i.e. “I f— dead WOMEN,” “f—ing SLUTS”) to feel threatened by a very likely drunken mob of more than 20 exuberant men marching in her immediate vicinity under cover of darkness and maliciously chanting about raping her?

    These are men who are apparently willing to say and do ANY STUPID THING NECESSARY to please their frat “brothers”. Tell me, why would a woman who has never before encountered these men, who has no basis upon which to form an opinion about their intention apart from the words and actions that she is viewing at that instant, think that they are willing to do anything **BUT** what they are saying??

    I am not a Yale student. I did not witness the demonstration first hand. But as a woman all too aware of the inherent physical imbalance of power which generally exists between men and women, I feel thoroughly threatened by these acts. The words these men were chanting were quite purposeful and meaningful. They were meant to intimidate women.

  • WoobieTuesday

    [Page 2 of 2] I say again what I have said before: Men who do not take rape, the threat of rape, or making light of rape seriously do so because they are coming from a position of PRIVILEGE. The only way men will be able to grasp the threat that is implicit in this behavior is to understand what it feels like to be victimized by somebody in a higher position of power. Think race theory and apply it to gender inequality. If you don’t understand, READ about it until you do.

    Of course, as women we’re not off the hook. But there is much more effect to be had when an enlightened man from the privileged group makes an effort to right wrongs, than from the underprivileged group which so often comes across as whining, bitching and complaining. What compounds the injury, in my opinion, is the lack of any discussion over these heinous acts. And, specifically, the lack of outrage in the majority of the male population. I, for one, am not content to limit my activism in response to these acts to posting on blogs or newspapers. I will press for prosecution of the responsible individuals. I will press for removal of the Yale DKE charter. I will press for expulsion of the DKE fraternity organizers of the pledge march and for suspension of the pledges. Count on it.

    [1]: http://www.cga.ct.gov/2008/rpt/2008-R-0276 “this Report:”

  • YaleConservative

    Your pretentious assumption that anyone should spend time reading a post so long it requires two separate comment boxes offends me.

  • WoobieTuesday

    Yes, it’s a lot to ask. I would imagine that is especially difficult for you, YaleConservative.

  • The Anti-Yale

    The YDN Posting Board is an intellectual buffet. Pick and choose what suits you. Look carefully for food that has begun to spoil.
    PK

  • Peachy Keane

    I read the whole overdone neurotic rant.

    Good luck prosecuting. Funnies thing was that i took the whole thing much more seriously BEFORE reading woobie’s piece. Now I have discounted the event and assign “overreaction” to everything else.

    oh, pk: thwpppppt.

  • WoobieTuesday

    I know from reading your previous posts, Peachy, just how “seriously” you take this.

  • The Anti-Yale

    WoobieTuesday:

    I tried to post it with your link. It would not let me and wound up on MY OWN page instead. Further, the email would not let me reply to you.
    You have my permission to copy and paste it from here or from The Anti-Yale and put it on your page. Here is the link to the Anti-Yale post:

    http://theantiyale.blogspot.com/2010/10/yale-center-for-king-of-hellfire.html

    Best,
    Paul Keane
    [link text][1]

    [1]: http://theantiyale.blogspot.com “Yale Promotes Center for King of Hellfire”

  • WoobieTuesday

    Perfect. Thank you Mr. Keane!

  • Sheeeesh

    > We therefore hope that these unfortunate events serve as a teachable moment to facilitate and
    > engage in positive and meaningful dialogue about sexual relations here at Yale.

    Umm–the point is not “sexual relations here at Yale” or even “sexual harassment”. It’s about violence.

    Ok, I get it…Mr. Forney is an athlete, not a scholar, and writing and critical thinking are not his strong points. But guys—get someone to look over any future statements before you let them go public. Stop embarassing yourselves and your school any more than you already have.

    If my sons had gone to Yale I would be ashamed.

  • FailBoat

    > Mr. Forney is an athlete, not a scholar, and writing and critical thinking are not his strong points.

    It takes a lot to get me to say this – but you lack class.