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.

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