University responds to Title IX complaint

UDPATED: 7:44 p.m. In an official University statement sent in an e-mail to the News Friday afternoon, University spokesman Tom Conroy said administrators had been verbally briefed by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights about its investigation into a potential breach of Title IX requirements.

A group of 16 students and alumni filed a complaint last month accusing Yale of inadequately responding to instances of sexual misconduct in recent years and fostering a hostile environment toward women on campus.

“We have not yet received a copy of the complaint, and we therefore are not able to comment on it at this time,” Conroy said, adding that Yale officials plan to respond to the Office for Civil Rights’ inquiries.

Read below for the full text of the statement:

Yale has been notified verbally by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education that the Office intends to begin an investigation of a complaint filed by a group of current and former students, alleging that Yale has not responded sufficiently to incidents involving denigrating behavior toward women, and thereby has violated Title IX requirements to provide equal educational opportunities to both women and men.

We have not yet received a copy of the complaint, and we therefore are not able to comment on it at this time. The University has initiated a number of programs in recent years as part of its continuing effort to respond effectively and appropriately to incidents of sexual misconduct and harassment. We will respond fully to the Office of Civil Rights inquiries. We assure members of the community and those beyond our community that Yale does not tolerate sexual harassment or misconduct.

In an e-mail sent to members of the Yale community Friday night, Yale College Dean Mary Miller echoed Conroy’s statement, and also cited several measures taken by the University toward correcting sexual misconduct on campus.

“Yale is notable, in fact, for the extraordinary number and range of initiatives, programs of study, working groups, faculty and student organizations, and administrative offices devoted to the advancement of women and women’s issues.” she said.

When “questionable incidents” have occurred, Miller added, the University has use its available resources to determine suitable responses and disciplinary action where warranted.

Miller referred to a number of ways in which administrators and faculty have handled the private and public instances of sexual harassment identified in the Title IX complaint, including the Provost’s Sexual Misconduct Committee report, the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Education and Prevention report, the Committee on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Prevention Education (SHAPE) report and the Committee on Hazing and Initiations.

For her own part, Miller said, while the issue affects all Yalies, it also holds a “special significance” to her, particularly in the context of her duties as a dean.

“Ever since I was among the first women students to co-educate my own undergraduate institution, I have sought to champion the rights of women in all ranks and departments of the University,” she said. “Indeed, one of my motives in accepting the position of Dean of Yale College was to have the opportunity to carry the message of equity to an even wider audience.”

The Committee on Hazing and Initiations is currently working on its recommendations.

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