Yale College Dean Mary Miller met with National Executive Director of DKE Douglas Lanpher on Sunday and asked him to put the Yale chapter of the fraternity on probation indefinitely. That night, Miller e-mailed the Yale community with a no-nonsense account of the steps the University will take in the aftermath of Delta Kappa Epsilon’s inflammatory Oct. 13 pledge ritual, which Miller called a “blindfolded rant of sexual aggression.”
Miller said her request for probation was on behalf of the Yale community, though she noted that DKE is not a registered Yale undergraduate organization. In an e-mail to the News, she described Lanpher as “responsive” and “positive in his attitude toward community values,” but did not specify how the national organization will deal with its Yale chapter.
Lanpher and President of DKE at Yale Jordan Forney ’11 did not respond to several requests for comment Sunday.
Miller said Yale will look closely at the different initiation traditions that exist in undergraduate organizations. She has summoned a committee of students, faculty, coaches and staff who will investigate these practices across campus, in a cappella groups, sports teams and other organizations, both registered and unregistered. Miller said she will also appoint a “short-term task force” to look into recommendations regarding sexual misconduct that she has received since the DKE episode, and to discuss how to approach students who perpetuate negative sexual culture.
Judith Krauss, Silliman College master and chair of the Faculty Committee on Athletics, will chair the committee tasked with examining initiation rituals in student organizations, which will begin its investigation next semester.
Krauss said in an interview that since Miller contacted her Sunday afternoon about taking the helm of the newly formed committee, she thought it was “premature” to talk about who will join the committee and what outcome its investigation will have.
“I still don’t know details,” Krauss said. “We’re about to launch a look into all of these groups, and investigate issues in the culture of initiation and hazing.” She added that administrators will discuss the details of the committee in the coming weeks.
The DKE incident was not the first pledge ritual to go awry in recent years. In 2008, pledges from the Zeta Psi fraternity posed for a photo in front of the Women’s Center holding a sign that read “We Love Yale Sluts.”
The administration does not have a set protocol for dealing with campus controversies, University President Richard Levin said.
“There’s no right line,” he said. “It’s a judgment call.”
The e-mail also announced a panel to be held Tuesday in Sudler Hall titled “Deconstructing the ‘DKE Incident’: How, Why, and What Next?,” hosted by the Dean’s Office, the Yale College Council and the Intercultural Affairs Council. The Women’s Center will host “Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Week” starting today.