As Univ. copes with harassment, details of old case emerge

Details of disciplinary action against a student accused of harassment have emerged, as a new committee prepares to examine community recommendations on sexual misconduct following the Delta Kappa Epsilon controversy.

A senior athlete who was responsible for forwarding an e-mail about female undergraduates to members of his team last year was reprimanded by the University for “harassment and intimidation,” according to a preliminary copy of the Yale College Executive Committee Report for 2009-’10 obtained by the News. A finalized version of the 2009-’10 report will be available in coming days. Executive Committee Chair Margaret Clark said Thursday she could not comment on whether the case was related to the “Preseason Scouting Report” — an e-mail that rated the attractiveness of 53 freshman women and circulated through campus last September — because details of all ExComm cases are confidential.

Last fall, administrators said the perpetrators responsible for writing and perpetuating the “Preseason Scouting Report” could face disciplinary action from ExComm. Last year, the Yale College Dean’s Office, Information Technology Services and the Yale Police Department worked to track the origins of the e-mail. Six weeks after the e-mail surfaced, the offices reported no success: because the message was sent from an anonymous e-mail account, the University said it could not trace the message to its original sender.

Later Thursday, Yale College Dean Mary Miller sent an e-mail to the student body Thursday announcing the lineup of the Task Force on Sexual Harassment, which will evaluate the recommendations the Dean’s Office received last month from community members regarding sexual misconduct in the wake of the DKE initiation controversy.

Two American Studies professors, Alicia Schmidt-Camacho, associate master of Ezra Stiles College and Sally Promey DIV ’78, deputy director of the Institute of Sacred Music, will serve as chairs of the task force. Other members include English professor Langdon Hammer ’80 GRD ’89, chemical engineering professor Mark Saltzman, Director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources Maria Trumpler GRD ’92 and Melanie Boyd ’90, director of undergraduate studies for Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and special assistant and advisor to the dean of Yale College on gender issues.

“I am pleased to work in collaboration with the other members of the committee, and to receive the thoughts, concerns and recommendations of the wider community,” Schmidt-Camacho said in an e-mail Thursday.

Boyd is currently gathering recommendations from members of the Yale community on how the University can formally and informally work to increase sexual harassment education and prevention. The newly appointed committee will look at the SHAPE report submitted in the fall of 2008 to see if there are other ideas that need to be implemented, Miller said in an interview Monday.

This coming Monday, Boyd said, the task force will make “preliminary explorations” of the suggestions. Miller said she asked the task force to finish vetting community proposals by the end of the semester.

Miller wrote in her Thursday e-mail that she is finalizing the membership of a new Committee on Hazing, to be led by Silliman College Master Judith Krauss NUR ’70. The committee will review the initiation practices of Yale-affiliated student organizations.

The ExComm report also contained multiple accounts of alcohol infractions, and made a connection between drinking and hazing on Yale’s campus.

“Much excessive drinking is associated with fraternity and team events as well as initiations into senior societies and singing groups,” the report stated.

In a note that prefaces the report, Clark wrote that she commended Miller for forming the Committee on Hazing to investigate this issue.

Four students faced formal hearings before ExComm in 2009-’10. All four faced charges of cheating or plagiarism.

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