The second open forum responding to Delta Kappa Epsilon’s inflammatory chants last week was held Tuesday night at the Women’s Center. Hosted by the Women’s Center board, the discussions were framed by a more intimate setting than last Friday’s community panel. Around 60 students were present at the meeting, including DKE brothers and past Women’s Center members, but no Yale administrator attended the forum.
Dialogue Tuesday followed up on Friday’s talk about reforming sexual culture at Yale and how the DKE incident represented a flaw in the University’s system.
“We shouldn’t just talk about the incident itself,” said Elizabeth Deutsch ’11, business coordinator for the Women’s Center. “But connect it to the actual reality of sexual culture at Yale,”
Previous Women’s Center board members voiced their concerns over the lack of administrative pressure to take disciplinary action against DKE.
“I am disappointed to hear that the Women’s Center board will not be bringing a claim to the Executive Committee,” said Lorraine Van Kirk ’08 LAW ’12, a former constituency coordinator for the Women’s Center, during the discussion.
Natalia Thompson ’13, the political action coordinator for the current board, said the Women’s Center did not think disciplinary measures would be very productive, under Yale’s current sexual harassment policy, a sentiment Deutsch echoed in an interview after the meeting by saying the Women’s Center would not be taking their complaints to the Executive Committee.
During the forum, Deutsch also asserted the Women’s Center is currently pursuing two approaches to the issue, by having an open dialogue with the student body, as well as having separate talks with the Yale administration about possible courses of action.
Melanie Boyd ’90, director of undergraduate studies for Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and special adviser on gender issues for both the Women’s Center and the Dean’s Office, was also present at the meeting and commented on the recent recommendations of the Sexual Misconduct Committee to centralize the way Yale handles sexual grievances.
Boyd made the distinction between the Sexual Harassment Grievance Board, the informal channel through which complaints can be presented and negotiated, and the more formal nature of the Executive Committee, which has punitive capabilities.
“One of the things I think we have to remember is that only a tiny fraction of sexual misconduct claims only go to either the formal or informal medium,” she said. “We need to change that”
Three students interviewed said they look forward to see how the current discussions develop in the aftermath of the pledge incident. DKE brother Nick Schneider ’12 said that his fraternity has seen “many lessons learned” from the dialogue, from reforming their pledge activities to fostering their recent positive interactions with the Women’s Center.
Schneider said several DKE brothers plan on attending the sexual violence workshop Nov. 14, hosted by the Women’s Center and the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.