Bulldog Days prefrosh overlook Title IX

Of 17 prospective students interviewed, only two said that the Title IX investigation will influence their decision.
Of 17 prospective students interviewed, only two said that the Title IX investigation will influence their decision. Photo by Josh Satok.

A federal investigation into whether the University failed to provide equal opportunities to men and women has not impacted prospective students’ decision about matriculating at Yale.

Of 17 prospective students interviewed during Bulldog Days, the University’s three-day event to welcome admitted students, only two said the investigation into Yale’s alleged violations of Title IX legislation prohibiting gender discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funding will play a part in their decision to accept Yale’s offer of admission. Most said they believe sexual harassment to be a universal issue on college campuses.

Devon Fiorino, a prospective student from Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown, N.J., said the investigation has not affected her view of Yale or whether to attend the University.

“If anything, it makes me feel safer knowing that people here are looking into it,” she said. “Other schools I’ve looked at have been very hush-hush about these issues.”

Another New Jersey prefrosh, Sara Torres of Newark, also said she is unconcerned by the investigation. If anything, Torres said she thinks the probe will create a more secure atmosphere for women on campus.

But one admitted student from New York City, who asked to remain anonymous because many students from her high school applied to Yale and she does not want them to read about her in the News, said she is keeping the investigation in mind while choosing her college. She said she thinks sexual harassment is probably an issue at all the schools she is considering, but added that the recent publicity has prompted her to factor harassment into her evaluation of Yale in particular.

In an email Sunday morning, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said he referenced the Title IX investigation in his opening remarks at a Bulldog Days welcome ceremony on Wednesday night. Though he did not personally receive questions about the investigation, Brenzel said, some other members of the admissions office did. He said those questions focused on what steps Yale is taking in response to claims that it has allowed a hostile sexual environment to persist on campus.

“When the issue comes up, our officers have also been encouraging students and families to talk to women students about their experiences here, using the communications built into the admitted students website or asking questions during a campus visit,” he said.

Enrolled students at other colleges are encouraging students admitted to both their schools and to Yale to do the same. Emily Hu, a prospective student from Tucson, Ariz., said she recently visited Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When she told MIT students that she is considering Yale, Hu said their first response was to instruct her to “just ask” Yale students about the Title IX issue if she visited campus.

Hu said none of her experiences during Bulldog Days made her uncomfortable with regard to the University’s environment for women, adding that the issue will not impact her matriculation decision.

Yale is one of at least five universities and professional schools — including the University of Virginia, Duke University, Princeton University and Harvard Law School — presently under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights because of complaints regarding compliance with Title IX.

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