Editor’s Note: Regarding the News’ View 10.18.10

On Monday, the News used this space to editorialize on the Women’s Center response to last week’s DKE chanting controversy. In doing so, the News’ View generated its own controversy; with this note, we hope to clarify the opinions presented in the editorial and apologize for the misunderstandings that arose from our words.

We hoped to point out that the Women’s Center has a history that makes many women on campus wary of seeing the Center as “their” place, whatever its name.

We hoped to draw a distinction between the boards of past years, which contributed to that attitude, and the boards of last year and this year.

We hoped to point out that many saw the Center’s Wednesday night e-mail blast as a step back toward the Center’s polarizing history, rather than as a step toward making the Center — as its political action coordinator, Natalia Thompson ’13, told the News last month — “a Center for all women, whether or not they identify as feminists.”

We hoped to remind the community that the Center-sponsored forum on Friday saw DKE and campus feminists speaking to each other as fellow students, not as different species.

And we hoped to say that though the forum was an admirable response to utterly contemptible behavior, it should not be the last of the Center’s efforts to include more of Yale’s women, and men, in the discussion.

Many of you did not see these ideas expressed in the editorial. It was written in a way that distorted those ideas or made them invisible. And by using some of the words and examples we did, we, too, were guilty of throwing out “offensive provocations.”

Without rehashing each word, we can say we regret the tone, and many of the phrases, of our News’ View.

But our intent was not to offend. Nor was it to attack. Nor was it to suggest that the Women’s Center, DKE, the administration and our classmates do not have important work to do in promoting conversation about sexual culture and violence. We sought to comment not on whether rape still exists at Yale, but on the most productive way to discuss it.

Our intent was to offer a perspective on the events of last week, how the student response shifted from Wednesday night to Friday afternoon, how it compared to the response surrounding past incidents, and how we should respond in the future.

We thank you for giving us your feedback, positive and negative. In the future, we hope to use this space not to confuse the dialogue on our campus, but to raise it to a higher level.

Comments

  • Yalie11

    > We hoped to draw a distinction between the boards of past years, which contributed to that attitude, and the boards of last year and this year.

    Nope, you didn’t. You said that given the Women’s Center history, it’s not surprising they “overreacted” with “histrionics” now.

    So you’re sorry for the tone not the content: you’re sorry for using the word “histrionics” (you know, the one that means ‘crazy-because-they’ve-got-wombs’). You’re sorry for calling a mob who intimidated freshmen just “boisterous” (aww, those “foolhardy DKE bros”).

    But you’re not sorry for claiming that teaching young men that “no means yes” is “not an active call for sexual violence”.(Great take-down here http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/10/17/the-men-and-women-of-yale/ ) You’re not sorry for calling a forum that the Center started advertizing on the day after that night “a second thought … in the aftermath of the row”. You’re not sorry for claiming that “feminism’s battles are already won” . Good to clarify, I guess. Now I just don’t need to read the YDN again.

    And before anyone starts bleating about “free speech” – yes, of course we critics of the News’ article think they had the “right” to say whatever they like. This isn’t nearly on the same scale of vileness as DKE’s original action, from which the controversy around this has sadly distracted. DKE’s behavior was an act of mob aggression in Yale’s physical public space – it’s a physical form of harassment, not legitimate free speech. This, obviously, is words on a page – the News exercising a totally legitimate right to free speech. I just wish they’d felt obliged to exercise some responsibility along with that right.

  • alum234

    histrionic
    1648, from L. histrionicus “pertaining to an actor,” from histrio (gen. histrionis ) “actor,” said to be of Etruscan origin.

    Not to be confused with “hysterical”, which refers to the womb. Oh-so-clever Yale students. Better to be angry than to be right.

  • anotherY10

    @alum234

    Actually, no. Try reading Galen on the womb (he thinks it’s an interior scrotum) and hysteria, then read debates between followers of Paracelsus and Vesalius in the 17th century on whether the two words are linked because “actors are effeminate”, culminating in the 20th century conflation of hysteria (womb stuff) and histrionics (actor stuff) with Charcot on Hysteria and Babinski, who defines “hysteria” as “acting”.

    Or do you really think “histrionics” doesn’t have gendered connotations?

  • RexMottram08

    Words are not violence. The Women’s Center disagrees. Their view on the matter is shared by the jihadists.

  • pablum

    anotherY10 researchpwns alum234 by demonstrating that scholarship doesn’t stop at the dictionary.

  • FailBoat

    > culminating in the 20th century conflation of hysteria (womb stuff) and histrionics (actor stuff)

    So the defense is basically the same as black people who get offended by the word “niggardly”? The words are false cognates – get over it. Everyone but offended gender theorists (ie: anyone with more sense than time on their hands) thinks so. The entire thing reminds me of the “calling a spade a spade” controversy, as if Erasmus predicted by 500 years the evolution of the term ‘spade’ as a racial slur.

    > Or do you really think “histrionics” doesn’t have gendered connotations?

    I didn’t pick up on it when I read the piece. I first thought of the Harlequin Duck, species name of *Histrionicus histrionicus*, since the males look very theatrical and colorful. Maybe it’s one of those things you need to be trained into be offended by. Or maybe *you’re* the sexist, since *you’re* the one who imputes gendered connotations to everyday words. I just really like ducks.

  • Mikelawyr2

    The debate has turned etymological! It’s actually quite endearing.

  • pablum

    FailBoat enlightens us once again: etymology trumps historical usage. Pejorative expressions should only ever be read in terms of their literal meaning. ‘Niggardly’ is a bad example, though; I would go so far as to suggest that the actual N-word should not be considered offensive, since it’s etymologically derived from the Spanish word for ‘black’.

    Thus FailBoat’s sophistry is wisdom!

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    LIST OF THE BANNED:

    Niggard. Macaca. Water buffalo. Tar baby. Picnic. “Beyond the pale.” Sissy. “The pot calling the kettle black.” Blackboard. Black hole. “Eenie meenie…” (Yo, what up wi THAT, Justin Bie-bro??). Dark continent. [Graphic] The iconic evolutionary depiction of man achieving erection (er, make that “bipedalism”). And that [racist Hallmark card][1]…

    All deemed (subjectively) offensive–or the squishier-but-no-less-accommodation-worthy “discomforting”– somewhere, somewhen (recent), the use of which demanded censure (firing, investigation, reprimand, and so on). Add “histrionics?”

    [1]: http://hotair.com/archives/2010/06/11/comedy-gold-the-racist-hallmark-card/

  • FailBoat

    > FailBoat enlightens us once again: etymology trumps historical usage.

    I’m sorry – I didn’t read anything about historical usage. I read something about a series of academic historical debates over etymology. Clearly, my reading comprehension has failed me.

  • Gregg Gonsalves

    The point is that the Yale Daily News article came very close to calling the women associated with the Women’s Center “shrill”, “hysterical,” and very close to indulging in stereotypes of women, particularly feminists, as “harpies”….None of these words were used, but it was clear from the YDN editorial, that there are “acceptable” ways for women and feminists to act and they decided to tell them how to do so. Frankly DKE pledges’ behavior was vile and to shift the conversation to how the Women’s Center reacted is simply changing the subject and taking the heat off DKE.
    Gregg Gonsalves
    BK 2011

  • RexMottram08

    But what if they are shrill and hysterical?

    Tone matters. The WC shredded the DKE boys, not for quietly publishing a paper in support of rape, but for YELLING, for CHANTING a crude statement.

    Recall their bombast during the Zeta Psi event last year.

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    I actually rather agree with Mr. Gonsalves. Some examples:

    DKE’s “**young, impressionable brothers**” are deemed “**boisterous**,” trying to “get a rise out of others,” and knowing “the right buttons to push.” Later these “**provocateurs**” display “**contrition**.”

    The Center of Woe is described, in its response, as “**overwrought**” (all worked up), responding with “**histrionics**” and not acting “maturely [contextual cognate: matronly?] and **gracefully**.” Later, its members are described as “**radicals**” and the Center itself is found an inhospitable place in which to “tackle gender relationships.” (Is that what women want? To **tackle**/**wrestle**/**grapple** with the *issue*? Sounds… smelly…).

    Sure do seem to be some stereotypes (conscious or unconscious–though I have trouble believing that a second read could have missed ALL of them…) embedded there, no?

    Non-seq aside: it has been suggested, re pot/kettle, that we all switch to “like pus calling the maggot white.”

  • mr09

    editor was right-on yesterday and continues to hit the nail on the head today.

  • YaleTemp

    How sad and frustrating this whole episode is. I remember hearing the same sexist justfications for boorish-bordering-on-criminal behavior over 30 years ago here on campus. I dated a Yale football captain who told me one of his frat friends was planning a special 21st birthday surprise for his girlfriend – a gang rape – because that was her fantasy. I was appalled and demanded to know her name so I could report it, but he broke up with me on the spot, calling me hysterical, stupid and plenty of other things too. This whole episode of ‘joking’ about rape is no joke. Thank God I’ve never been raped but I’m still haunted by the idea that I might’ve been able to help but could not.

  • FailBoat

    > The point is that the Yale Daily News article came very close to calling the women associated with the Women’s Center “shrill”, “hysterical,” and very close to indulging in stereotypes of women, particularly feminists, as “harpies”

    Some women are shrill hysterical harpies. Some men are boorish, perverted pigs.

    Much to my eternal dismay, many Yale men are also shrill hysterical harpies, and many Yale women are boorish, perverted pigs.

  • AD

    Forget its etymology. Histrionics — the word itself, wherever it came from, is and has been used for the past several hundred years, as a word primarily applied to women, by men, to marginalize women by reducing their desires, concerns, and emotions to mere “acting.” So I really don’t care whether the word has to do, etymologically, with the womb. It’s actions and connotations that matter, and on this count, the Y.D.N. chose a word, knowingly or not, that has long been applied to women. Oh, and the literal definition, along the lines of using emotion for calculated effect, is ridiculous enough. It was chosen for the express purpose of suggesting that these women aren’t outraged, but are just using outrage to pursue some political agenda. Disagree with the Women’s Center’s viewpoints or actions all you want, but since when is it unacceptable to express (non-violently, I might add) an opinion that certain behavior shouldn’t be tolerated? (especially, in oh-so-progressive-there’s-no-work-left-to-be-done-America) Seriously …

    -An Alumnus

  • y09

    > We hoped to point out that many saw the Center’s Wednesday night e-mail blast as a step back toward the Center’s polarizing history, rather than as a step toward making the Center — as its political action coordinator, Natalia Thompson ’13, told the News last month — “a Center for all women, whether or not they identify as feminists.

    Just a note: ladies, forget all these portrayals of feminists as crazy or “overreacting.” If you believe there’s still work to do in gender equality, and you believe that men and women should have equal rights (like equal pay, or the freedom to exist on a campus where there aren’t DKE rushes yelling misogynistic things), you ARE a feminist. Don’t forget that.

  • Summer

    > It’s actions and connotations that matter, and on this count, the Y.D.N. chose a word, knowingly or not, that has long been applied to women.

    **Or: this is a manufactured** *(a word often applied to blue-collar workers)* **controversy, concocted** *(a word often applied to scientists)* **by grievance-mongers** *(a term often applied to blacks)* **who have hijacked** *(a word often applied to Muslims)* **the English** *(a word often applied to WASPs)* **language to subvert** *(a word often applied to communists)* **the normal** *(a word often applied to heterosexuals)* **flow** *(a word often applied to women)* **of debate** *(a word often applied to the YPU)* **and serve** *(a word often applied to Latinos)* **their own ideological** *(a word often applied to Republicans)* **ends**.

  • alum234

    I certainly don’t mean to defend the YDN editorial nor to condone in any way the hateful speech of DKE members, but I reject strongly the suggestion that “histrionic” is a word to be avoided because of sexist connotations. This is the first I have ever heard of this argument, and can only assume that it arises from misinformed confusion with “hysterical”. I can find no evidence that is has been used to denigrate (another word I perhaps should avoid) women more than men. It is, by nature of its definition, somewhat pejorative, and we can assume that it was meant as criticism in this context. In that regard, it may be patently unfair, but it is not sexist language.

  • BK98

    I have to agree with Gregg Gonsalves’ final point. The worst part about yesterday’s editorial and today’s is that it shifts the conversation and makes it seem that the Women’s Center’s response is as bad as the DKE chants. The YDN editors would do better spending their time calling for dialogue, denouncing the activities of the DKE brothers and perhaps engaging in some real journalism around the issues of date rape and sexual violence on campus.

  • Summer

    > perhaps engaging in some real journalism around the issues of date rape and sexual violence on campus.

    The YWC and numerous feminist organizations claim that 1 in 4 women in college get sexually assaulted/raped. If the YDN does any kind of meaningful legwork on this claim, and they *don’t* get the 1 in 4 statistic, then the YWC will just claim that these women are too afraid to speak up, or that the YDN is somehow bigoted.

    Unfalsifiability is the refuge of faith and scoundrels.

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    I dunno. Where, in contemporary media, do we see applied such phrases as “Enough with the histrionics”? More usually with crying, tantrums and similar emotional outbursts (or “drama,” either literally or figuratively)–attributable more generally to women and children–or to rough-n-tough-guy roister-boysters? Would we apply the term “histrionics” more readily to Britney, Fantasia, and (unfairly) Mrs. Tiger Woods–or to Clint Eastwood, Ronald Reagan, and Ahnuld (thespians all)?

    John Edwards, maybe (but he’s a sissy… er… not a he-man), but I can’t think of too many histrionical alpha males (Prince–not alpha? The Boss–not histrionic?), while I can think of lots and lots of divas.

    Should such words be avoided in *reality*? Prolly not. But in those situations where potential sensitivities might obscure the larger message? Surely.

    “Hysterical,” surely, but modern dismissive or denigrating use of “histrionics” as well, likely as “behaving unbecoming of a man,” emotional-like an’ alla that. And the two not need be related to be similarly inappropriate to the context.

    Whatever the actual intent of yesterday’s editorial, the words chosen have indeed obscured the message.

  • RexMottram08

    BK98, discussion of sex has run through the Women’s Center for years. Yet, when no progress is made, they want to blame everyone else. They don’t realize that their ideology is a huge part of the problem.

  • Summer

    > I can’t think of too many histrionical alpha males (Prince–not alpha? The Boss–not histrionic?), while I can think of lots and lots of divas.

    That’s because being “histrionic” ie: overly emotional, throwing tantrums, etc.. is considered “non-alpha” behavior. There aren’t many shy alpha males either. Doesn’t mean the word if female-slanted.

    On the other hand, look at Kanye West for the modern histrionic alpha male.

  • alum2000

    As an alum, now a professional writer, I was appalled at yesterday’s article. I’m dismayed to see what is printed here – an article to clarify your intent, rather than to whole-heartedly apologize for the irresponsible words published.

    “Our intent was to offer a perspective on the events of last week, how the student response shifted from Wednesday night to Friday afternoon, how it compared to the response surrounding past incidents, and how we should respond in the future.”

    That sounds like an interesting article. Unfortunately, a personal and inappropriate rant was published. The article did not effectively report on, explore, or analyze any of the subjects listed above.

    If the writers and the News have concerns about breadth of students represented the Women’s Center–which I also have and had during my time as a female student at Yale–I have to ask, incredulously, is that really the aspect of the DKE incident that you want to give your editorial column space to? Is that really the priority issue to explore in this situation?

    Next time, instead of asking the women’s center students to have a different approach, in order to match your view of feminism, you might call for other students to get involved, or to start their own organizations that represent women’s interests. Or hey, you could even call on the administration to stop outsourcing its responsibility for campus safety and civility to a single student organization.

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    Summer: understood. But, again, I think most ppl would describe Kanye’s behavior as “boorish” or “bad” (or drunk) more than “histrionic. But I hear what you are saying.

    In any case, your note led me to the **[Histrionic Personality Disorder][1]**:

    “Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriate seductiveness and it is defined by the American Psychiatric Association…

    “Characteristics include [abbreviated list]:

    – Excessive sensitivity to criticism or disapproval
    – Constant seeking of reassurance or approval
    – Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotions
    – Excessive concern with physical appearance
    – Low tolerance for frustration or delayed gratification
    – Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than
    they actually are

    “[Since] attention-seeking and sexual forwardness are less socially acceptable for women, Histrionic Personality Disorder is **more often diagnosed in women than men**.”

    Ain’t sayin’ it’s *right,* just sayin’

    [1]: http://b4tea.com/food-health/histrionic-personality-disorder-symptoms-causes-treatment

  • lauragottesdiener2010

    I agree with Alum2000. YDN: This wasn’t even close to an appropriate apology.

    **”Many of you did not see these ideas expressed in the editorial.**

    Let’s take a look at that crucial transition sentence. What does it say? It says I wasn’t able to correctly read and interpret the editorial’s ideas.
    Indeed, similar to the original article, which shifted the blame from DKE to the women’s center, this clarification does little more than shift the blame from the writers to the readers.
    No. I can read. And what I read in that original editorial was, in my own opinion, offensive and belittling.
    YDN: If you’re going to apologize, do it right.
    Perhaps take a lesson from DKE? The original controversy aside, DKE was at least able to write a sincere and appropriate apology. I’d expect the YDN staff–purportedly the best writers on campus–to be able to do the same.

  • Goldie08

    *”…one of his frat friends was planning a special 21st birthday surprise for his girlfriend – a gang rape – because that was her fantasy.”*

    What’s wrong with this? This guy actually sounds like a great boyfriend and true feminist to me. First he actually takes the time to ask and care about what his girlfriend’s fantasies are – I know many lesser men who don’t. Then, when he finds out her sexual fantasy is to role play a gang rape with several of his buddies, he **does not** freak out and do something like call her a slut or break up with her, but rather goes about trying to make her fantasy come true.

    Sounds pretty progressive to me. Please tell me how this guy was being anything but a freaking prince.

  • Leah

    I’m still extremely frustrated with the YDN response, but my rebuttal is a little long for a comment, so I’ve posted it as an essay at the Huffington Post [here][1].

    [1]: http://huff.to/cQd6KP

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    > Or: this is a **manufactured** (a word
    > often applied to blue-collar workers)
    > controversy, **concocted** (a word often
    > applied to scientists) by
    > **grievance-mongers** (a term often
    > applied to blacks) who have **hijacked**
    > (a word often applied to Muslims) the
    > **English** (a word often applied to
    > WASPs) language to **subvert** (a word
    > often applied to communists) the
    > **normal** (a word often applied to
    > heterosexuals) **flow** (a word often
    > applied to women) of **debate** (a word
    > often applied to the YPU) and serve (a
    > word often applied to **Latinos**) their
    > own **ideological** (a word often applied
    > to Republicans) ends.

    Hey Summer… that was funny.

  • d11

    This is upsetting and frustrating and doesn’t address the problems of the first editorial, as Gregg Gonsalves adressed well. I plan to boycott the 2010 editorial board over this and move to the Herald+Independent for all things Yale+New Haven. The Bullblog, in fact, covered this editorial fiasco quite well: http://yaleherald.com/thebullblog/ydn-stirs-up-controversy-for-the-sake-of-stirring-up-controversy/

  • Summer

    @Leah -
    I despise the Huffington Post and everything it stands for so I’ll post my response to your essay here. You write:
    > *The Yale Women’s Center and women are not required to mute their criticism of aggressively misogynist speech out of fear of offending the transgressors.*

    This is hardly the point that either the YDN or any commenter is making. The point is not that the YWC’s criticism is offensive to DKE. The point is that the YWC’s response is counterproductive to the YWC’s own stated goal of rallying people in opposition to DKE because it merely serves to remind people about how radical the YWC itself is.

    The YWC has every right to respond in its characteristic over-the-top form. But people won’t take it seriously if it does so, and the vast majority of Yalies will continue to wince.

    When the Earth Liberation Front last year burned a construction crane building on a Mexican ecological preserve, they made no friends – they convinced no one of their cause. When the Black Panthers turned civil rights into black nationalism, they only pushed themselves further out of the mainstream.

    (I think the YWC reminds me a lot of the Black Panthers. Both groups claim to represent broad constituencies that would rather not continue to be embarrassed by their existence and their – wait for it – histrionics.)

  • SY10

    Just to get this straight, someone who thinks the Women’s Center is like the Black Panthers is complaining about the Center overreacting to the DKE incident. That makes perfect sense.

  • Summer

    > Just to get this straight, someone who thinks the Women’s Center is like the Black Panthers is complaining about the Center overreacting to the DKE incident. That makes perfect sense.

    It’s called an analogy. Radicalism is off-putting. I did not – you will note – refer to the Women’s Center as fervent black militants.

    I also rather like the Black Panthers; I’m a little unsure if I’ve done them offense by the comparison.

  • Hieronymus’ Bosh

    The old [Black Panthers][1] seem so… quaint these days, or even funny (some of them anyway–”[Bobbyque'n with Bobby Seal][2],” anyone?); the [New Black Panther thug][3]s are a different animal entirely…

    [1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_Party
    [2]: http://www.bobbyseale.com/bbq.html
    [3]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Black_Panther_Party

  • dwightleewest

    I have to agree with Laura here: this half-apology by the editorial board is shifty and completely inadequate.

    Board: Don’t blame your mistakes on bad writing. The problem isn’t that we didn’t “see” your good “ideas,” or that Monday’s piece was poorly written. The editorial was in fact quite well-written. People aren’t angry because we missed your “invisible” intent, but because we understood your very clear message, which was that women shouldn’t push back strongly against misogyny because that’s not, in your words, “the right kind of feminism.”

    This is a shameful position to take—especially at Yale, which has seen more than its fair share of offensive behavior directed toward women in the past few years— and you stated it well. By turning a conversation about misogyny into a debate about the women’s center, you blame the victim and tacitly condone the offender. Today’s editorial, while claiming a “misunderstanding,” doesn’t address that fundamental lapse in judgment. (Nor does it account for your somewhat inexplicable condemnation of abstract vagina paintings that once hung on the walls of the women’s center (so what?), or your triumphant assertions that Yale is progressive, and that feminists have won most of their battles.)

    Apologize for your opinions, or stand by them—but don’t run away from them by claiming that you misspoke. You spoke perfectly clearly the first time, while today’s piece is muddled, defensive, and filled with unverifiable claims about your “intent.” If you want to modify what you said, you’ll have to do so clearly and explicitly. Otherwise, we’ll be left believing that you meant what you said the first time, and are only apologizing with today’s piece in order to avoid taking responsibility for your beliefs.

    A lot of us out here think you should give this apology another shot.

    Lee West
    YC 2010

  • Yalie11

    @Goldie08

    I think the commentator made pretty clear that the girl hadn’t consented to having the fantasy played out in real life – it was a birthday “surprise”. Telling your boyfriend that an abstract idea makes you hot is NOT the same as saying “yes, I really want it now”. It sounds like a girl had said something to her boyfriend about what day dreams aroused her, and the next thing she knew she was going to get jumped on by a bunch of random guys. And if the guy in the story couldn’t understand the difference, he really didn’t understand consent. Not to even start on what the story tells us about how those frat boys perceived fun bonding activities.

  • Summer

    > Not to even start on what the story tells us about how those frat boys perceived fun bonding activities.

    Gay rights advocates do seem to spend an awful lot of time calling their opponents gay.

  • Yalie11

    @Summer WTF? Where does gay stuff come into it, or where did I say I was a “gay rights advocate”? I just said they clearly thought teaming up to force themselves on a screaming woman, fantasy or no fantasy, tells you something about what the guys in question thought was a normal way of hanging out.

  • sy09

    I don’t know if Yale has gotten worse, or if it has always been this way and I am only now recognizing it. Either way, it’s quite depressing. Every time something like this happens, I feel ashamed of a being a part of Yale, a university I loved so dearly in my time there. But more depressingly, nothing will happen to these young men. They will be given a stern talking-to and then let go. They will chant their chants in their house instead of Old Campus. A few of them, in their time at Yale, will rape a fellow student. And they will graduate with that wonderful thing, a degree from Yale. It sickens me to think that we will both be ‘Yale Alums’. That I will share something I treasure so much with people who display such despicable behavior.

    Maybe this time, something will be done. Maybe. But I suspect I hope in vain.

  • PEA

    If yesterday’s editorial was shameful, this non-apology is even worse. I am disgusted by the editorial board at the YDN and embarrassed that they are in any position to represent the university.

  • The Anti-Yale

    **“. . .I should be inclined to say that EDMUND KEAN was the greatest histrionic genius the English Stage ever saw, not excepting DAVID GARRICK . . .”**

    *Punch, or the London Charival* October 20, 1888 p. 184

    http://books.google.com/books?id=MAYDAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA1-PA184&lpg=RA1-PA184&dq=edmund+kean's+histrionics&source=bl&ots=XAEOZ1PaEJ&sig=odehr_hqTmovRGQ76kzznGW-D3Q&hl=en&ei=cVW-TMyVKYH88Abw_Zz-Bg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBgQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q&f=false

  • Summer

    > That I will share something I treasure so much with people who display such despicable behavior.

    There are plenty of Yale alums who have committed actual crimes.

  • sy09

    > There are plenty of Yale alums who have committed actual crimes.

    An action need not be a criminal offense to be despicable. Moreover, if this discussion was about famous alums who were also criminals, I might lament sharing Yale with them. But this discussion is about a group of young men who seem to have no regard for women beyond that of a sexual object. And so I lament that, and that they will go unpunished, and that a few of them will go on to rape a fellow student, and that I will in the end share Yale with them as well.

  • Summer

    > But this discussion is about a group of young men who seem to have no regard for women beyond that of a sexual object. And so I lament that, and that they will go unpunished,

    Being an ass isn’t a crime, nor, in my mind, should it be.

    > and that a few of them will go on to rape a fellow student

    If I provide you a list of DKE pledges, would you care to pick out which of the young men will be committing rape during their time at Yale? Or is this one of those things where you protect yourself from any defamation charges by making broad but despicable assertions?

  • Yale12

    @sy09: Seriously? During your “time,” the “I love Yale sluts” sign was held up and nobody did anything about that, either. Are you really going to be that alum lamenting that Yale is “getting worse” since your “time?” For goodness’ sakes, you graduated two years ago.

  • 109

    SY09, I cannot believe you are treating these pledges as though they were actually intending to commit rape. It was a joke, for goodness sakes. Quit treating young boys as though they were criminals.

    All I can say is that if they are punished, it will be nothing less than suppression of free speech, merely because the speech is unpopular. If that were to happen, I should be ashamed to be affiliated with Yale.

  • yanovich

    “*We hoped to point out that the Women’s Center has a history that makes many women on campus wary of seeing the Center as “their” place, whatever its name.*”

    Wouldn’t it be more appropriate perhaps to point out that *Yale* “has a history that makes many women on campus wary of seeing *Yale* as “their” place”?

  • SY10

    @109: Have you heard of sexual harassment? While not a criminal act (and I fully agree that the DKE pledges violated no criminal statutes), it is certainly grounds for disciplinary action by a university. Behavior of this sort directed at fellow employees in a workplace would surely result in firing. While I personally don’t feel expulsion to be an appropriate course of action, I do think that requiring the students involved to withdraw from the university for a year would be suitable, and neither course of action would violate anyone’s constitutional rights or the concept of free speech. Your right to free speech does not mean that an institution with which you are affiliated cannot discipline you for creating a hostile environment within that institution. Rather, the right to free speech merely protects you from criminal liability for your speech and guarantees you the right to engage in speech in public places, without government interference. If I were to walk into a church and chant anti-religious rhetoric, would that church be suppressing my free speech by throwing me out and banning me from returning? If a high school student shouts obscenities at one of his teachers, is the school violating his free speech when it suspends him? I am an ardent supporter of free speech rights, even when expressing odious views. But don’t confuse free speech with an institution’s right to protect those within it from hostility and harassment. The brothers of DKE can march up and down the streets of New Haven all day chanting their slogans, if they like, but Yale has every right to exclude them from campus to preserve a safe learning environment.

  • Veritas

    @SY10: Yale’s free speech protections are stronger than those of the Constitution, and these protections are one of the most basic policies of this University. You were supposed to have read them before you arrived as a freshman.

    http://yalecollege.yale.edu/content/free-expression-peaceful-dissent-and-demonstrations

    > [...] We take a chance, as the First Amendment takes a chance, when we commit ourselves to the idea that the results of free expression are to the general benefit in the long run, however unpleasant they may appear at the time. The validity of such a belief cannot be demonstrated conclusively. It is a belief of recent historical development, even within universities, one embodied in American constitutional doctrine but not widely shared outside the academic world, and denied in theory and in practice by much of the world most of the time.
    >
    > [...] In addition to the university’s primary obligation to protect free expression there are also ethical responsibilities assumed by each member of the university community, along with the right to enjoy free expression. [...] Shock, hurt, and anger are not consequences to be weighed lightly. No member of the community with a decent respect for others should use, or encourage others to use, slurs and epithets intended to discredit another’s race, ethnic group, religion, or sex.
    >
    > [...] We have considered the opposing argument that behavior which violates these social and ethical considerations should be made subject to formal sanctions, and the argument that such behavior entitles others to prevent speech they might regard as offensive. Our conviction that the central purpose of the university is to foster the free access of knowledge compels us to reject both of these arguments. They assert a right to prevent free expression. They rest upon the assumption that speech can be suppressed by anyone who deems it false or offensive. They deny what Justice Holmes termed “freedom for the thought that we hate.” They make the majority, or any willful minority, the arbiters of truth for all. If expression may be prevented, censored or punished, because of its content or because of the motives attributed to those who promote it, then it is no longer free. It will be subordinated to other values that we believe to be of lower priority in a university. [...]

  • SY10

    @Veritas: Good job ignoring that the issue is sexual harassment, not free speech. I have no problem with free speech – I think Yale students should be allowed to argue anything they want, no matter how offensive. If a DKE student wrote an article saying that rape should be legal (or whatever the intellectual position that is advanced by “no means yes, yes means anal” is – it’s hard to figure out), it should, though massively offensive, not subject them to disciplinary action. Similarly, if someone gave a speech at a YPU debate advocating the return of slavery, it would be horrifyingly offensive, but should not result in university action. But when a group of students chants “no means yes, yes means anal” outside freshman dorms, it is no longer merely engaging in offensive speech, it is actively engaging in “verbal [...] conduct of a sexual nature” with the “effect of [...] creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment.” Those quotes are from Yale’s sexual harassment policy: http://ogc.yale.edu/legal_reference/sexual_harassment.html, which anyone affiliated with Yale should be familiar with. Yale students have the right to say whatever they want, but they do not have the right to create a hostile academic environment through sexual harassment. In fact, not only does such behavior violate Yale policy, it is illegal, and to discipline someone for it does not violate free speech rights, as defined either by Yale or the US Constitution, in the slightest. The problem (as it relates to Yale policy) isn’t the content of what they said, but rather that is was said in such a way as to disrupt the safe learning environment to which all Yalies are entitled.

  • Veritas

    @SY10

    Nowhere does it say in the report that the speech must be intellectual to be protected, as you assert. Moreover, if that were a criterion, who would be the arbiter of intellectualism? That raises the same concern mentioned here:

    > If expression may be prevented, censored or punished, because of its content or because of the motives attributed to those who promote it, then it is no longer free.

    Moreover, within the context of the Report, this line makes it clear that even marching and chanting is protected:

    > No member of the community with a decent respect for others should use, or encourage others to use, slurs and epithets intended to discredit another’s race, ethnic group, religion, or sex.

    Marching is part of free assembly. The KKK has marches which makes people feel deeply upset and unsafe, yet those are protected, too, even outside the “ultra-free speech zone” (Dean Miller’s words) that is Yale.

  • finefreedancer

    There is an event called emotional contagion. Look it up. The original YDN article is implicative of adding insult to injury of a minority organization on the university campus with the #1 ranked law school in The United States. It is completely astounding that the YWC has apparently foregone prospective legal action in recent years. There are probably student and lay victims who have suffered multiple assaults and other forms of sexual abuses, and offenders are any place they can be deft at secrecy. Likewise, misogyny and even misandry can intimidate victims, including male victims of sexual abuse including RAPE.

    I think the real issue with DKE’s public ignorance is the integration of fear associated with verbal reminders of traumatic events. Sexism is tough for some people to grasp as offensive due to existent hetero normative realities that are inherent to the human race. However, triggering and emotional rhetoric such as the chanting is reminiscent and suggestive of segregation towards a target group. Why is this not understood by some at Yale?

    In Virginia, there is a statute against “Fighting Words”, or rather, invoking words that are known to provoke a violent response when used on an individual. I was told by my local law enforcement that calling a woman “Bitch” as if addressing her by that name constitutes a legal offence. Despite this fact, many people fail to advocate insults as unlawful. So instead, what is the attention of the popular attitude advocating? I am actually going to flip this pancake and swear that logically, the DKE was touting a consensually construed preference of their own organization for forceful anally penetrative sex notwithstanding the predetermined allusion to the rape of women, men, girls, boys, and the transgendered as the offence. So, although it is asinine, the whole ordeal makes me want to pack up my strap on, dildos, and lube for an anal orgy whereby the chanters are pegged up the rear in their basement.

  • Veritas

    @finefreedancer: If you don’t know how to use big words correctly, don’t use them. It makes you sound dumber than you would had you used simple English. And I’m glad you’re so against rape that you think the chanters should be raped themselves. You’re worse than they were.

    Also, more generally, just because a statute exists doesn’t mean it’s constitutional.