DKE task force advocates education

All registered student organizations will have to send a delegate to sexual harassment prevention training next year — part of a new education plan implemented in response to the Delta Kappa Epsilon pledge incident.

That plan and several recommendations are outlined in the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Education and Prevention’s report, which Yale College Dean Mary Miller said she will release Wednesday. The task force formed after DKE brothers chanted offensive slurs on Old Campus during initiation last fall. Miller said Yale is already beginning to implement some recommendations, including changes to freshmen orientation, increased training for members of student organizations and the creation of a new standing committee on sexual misconduct.

“The point is to have a much deeper reservoir of people who understand what sexual harassment is and what sexual misconduct is,” Miller said of new training measures for delegates from student groups. “[It will help people] think more comprehensively about how we prevent sexual misconduct instead of thinking of it as a line we don’t want to cross.”

To improve freshmen education, Miller said, freshmen counselors and peer liaisons will learn more about sexual misconduct, and freshman orientation will include more information about such issues.

Upperclassmen will receive much of their prevention training from peer educators, Miller said. To this end, every registered student organization will be required to send a representative to special educational sessions, and that representative will be responsible for the organization’s behavior in this realm.

“We are looking at what the range of peer education may be and how we can make that more widely available,” Miller said.

Miller announced that through deans and masters of the residential colleges, cultural centers, department chairs, and directors of graduate and undergraduate studies, the University will also create educational resources for faculty members.

On the institutional level, a new committee will be formed which will evaluate how the University can best educate the Yale community about sexual misconduct and respond to incidents.

“This is an opportunity to think about how we can improve education so people think about what they are doing a head of time,” Miller said.

Women’s Center Public Relations Coordinator Sally Walstrom ’12 said in an e-mail Tuesday that the Women’s Center is pleased with the task force’s report and looks forward to its implementation.

“In the past, university sexual violence education and prevention efforts have been concentrated in freshman orientation or in response to perceived moments of crisis,” she said. “By contrast, the task force report calls for ongoing and comprehensive action to reduce and respond to sexual violence.”

The task force was chaired by Sally Promey DIV ’78 and Alicia Schmidt Camacho. In response to the DKE incident, another committee was created to look into hazing and initiation on campus. That committee, chaired by Silliman Master Judith Krauss NUR ’70, has not yet released its report.


  • MatthewGerken

    You’ve got to be kidding me. All student organizations? Does that include the Women’s Center? And LGBT groups? I couldn’t imagine a more feeble response with regard to actually fixing the root problems. And yet at the same time it overreaches in bureacratic requirements. As much as I make fun of all these useless committees and task forces for doing nothing better than “promoting dialogue,” at least they didn’t actively impede every extracurricular group and imply that no Yale student is smart enough to figure out what sexual misconduct is.

    But I suppose this program will do wonders for the actual offenders. I can just see the DKE brothers converting now: “Oh, I get it! What I said was offensive and to women! I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone. Gee Suzy, I’m reeeeal sorry about that.” Let the chivalry pour forth. I can’t wait.

  • The Anti-Yale

    The first candidate for this training should be The Great Stalker, Jay Gatsby.

  • Hounie13

    This is the biggest waste of time I’ve ever heard of. Most committees are pointless; this one especially so. Not everyone is stupid enough to say something as offensive and provocative as DKE did, and those that are aren’t even registered organizations to begin with.

  • Branford73

    Sounds like a waste but perhaps a benefit will be that stupid offensive speech will not be improperly classified as true sexual harassment but rather simply stupid offensive speech and the perpetrators not classified as sexual offenders but rather simply stupid and offensive.

  • joe29sb

    WOW. This is an absurd requirement for most organizations. On the other hand, maybe DKE should send more than one delegate…

  • onlineproductmanager

    @anti-yale What does that even mean? That comment is absolutely irrelevant to any sort of discussion that could take place about this article.

  • SY

    Branford73 is right. Even if you teach people not to chant “No means yes,” you can’t teach them through sexual harassment training not to embarrass the university and themselves by making other drunk chants. It takes more than a session to train against stupid and offensive. Perhaps this harassment default position comes from the notion that sex is never stupid or offensive if you don’t trip over consent. By that standard, DKE would have been OK if they had left out no means yes.

  • uncommons

    Perfect! More things added to freshman orientation! This is a great idea. Is there anything a 3 hour discussion and a student-made movie can’t solve? Oh wait…

  • tomago

    Maybe there should be a class for women on how not to objectify themselves.
    Shortly after the DKE “harassment”, the Halloween celebrations downtown resembled the hooker convention in Las Vegas. Many Yale co-eds were barely dressed, wearing stiletto heels, …parading around downtown. If I see someone in a lab coat and a stethoscope on the street, forgive me if I mistakenly call them doctor…

  • Undergrad

    I agree with joe29sb. I’m not opposed to discussing this during freshman orientation, but none of the organizations I’m involved in have any sort of hazing or initiation activities, and there’s no way they could conceivably be connected to any kind of sex scandal at all. The idea that we need this kind of training on an organization-by-organization basis is ridiculous. I just hope these meetings are short…

  • Leah

    This is stupid. This is going to be a room full of >100 people for a vague lecture on harassment. There’s no reason that instructing organizational representatives will do anything, unless Yale means that each officer should have a sexual harassment officer keeping tabs.

    Are frats and other groups with initiations really being treated exactly the same way as campus publication or the scifi society?

  • Jaymin

    I’m pretty sure the one delegate that actually volunteers to go to this thing will be the one least likely in the organization to commit harassment.

  • phantomllama

    This is up there on the ‘most stupid Yale ideas of all time’ list.

  • The Anti-Yale


    If I recall correctly, The Great Gatsby was mandatory summer reading for the freshman class a couple of years ago. Gatsby, celebrated as one of America’s great novels, has as its central character, someone who — for lack of a more suitable eupehmism — stalks Daisy Buchanon in a cloud of ‘new money’ and garish conspicuous consumption whose “foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams.” Today, such behavior could be considered obsessive compulsive “unwanted attention”, i.e. tantamount to “sexual harassment.”

    I doubt any of the freshman discussion groups on that summer’s reading presented Jay Gatsby in that unfavorable light.

    Do we seek to educate about sexual harassment with the left hand, while celebrating it in literature with the right hand?

    Mixed message much?


  • The Anti-Yale

    The Tottering Totems of Animal House


    Paul Keane

  • The Anti-Yale

    OOOPS! Left out an “e”

    The Tottering Totems of Animal House

  • Soc231160


    I am not sure what you are saying? That women who are dressed in a certain way deserve to be raped? Is that honestly what you are saying? Or are you implying that prostitutes deserve to be raped and if a woman dresses in a certain way she should be considered a prostitute and should therefore be raped? Please do elaborate. If you think that rape and rape culture is sexually motivated and that women are culpable in their own rapes you are mistaken. That is rape myth 101, rape is about power, dominance and NOT about sexual desire therefore dress does not matter.