Sexual misconduct report released

According to Yale’s first-ever report compiling all sexual misconduct complaints from across the University, 52 cases of sexual harassment, assault or other misconduct were brought to Yale officials between July 1 and Dec. 31 of last year.

The report, released in a campuswide email from Deputy Provost Stephanie Spangler Tuesday evening, marks an effort by administrators to increase transparency in how Yale addresses sexual misconduct. Twelve of the complaints were filed with the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC), which was established July 1 to hear both informal and formal sexual misconduct complaints, and the rest were brought to either Title IX coordinators or the Yale Police Department. Administrators said they were troubled by the number of cases but added that they are glad to see members of the Yale community making use of the resources available.

“The number of complaints of sexual misconduct brought forward and outlined in the Report is a matter of deep concern,” University President Richard Levin said in an email to the Yale community. “Even though only a very small fraction of our campus population is alleged to be violating our policies, our aspiration must be to raise the bar so that no one believes that sexual misconduct is acceptable.”

The University will release a similar report documenting cases of sexual misconduct twice per year, administrators said. Before the UWC formed, the Yale College Sexual Harassment Grievance Board dealt with informal complaints in Yale College but did not publicly announce its records. But the Yale College Executive Committee, which heard formal cases before the UWC’s creation, did release an overview of its cases.

Yale College students accounted for 29 of the complainants, and the others included graduate students, staff and faculty members, according to Tuesday’s report.

Thirty-six complaints were brought to only Title IX coordinators — 14 administrators across Yale’s schools who make sure the University responds to concerns about gender discrimination — and four to the Yale Police Department. Spangler, who was appointed in November to oversee the Title IX coordinators and ensure the University meets Title IX regulations, said she could not be sure why the the majority of the cases were handled by Title IX coordinators and not brought to the UWC, though she said she could “speculate” that students turned to the coordinators because they are “embedded in the schools” and have been established longer.

Of the 12 complaints submitted to the UWC, five were formal cases, which require full investigations by external professional fact-finders and can result in disciplinary action. Two of the formal complaints were resolved with disciplinary action, one was dismissed after the committee determined it did not fall under the UWC’s jurisdiction and two are still pending.

Six of the seven informal UWC complaints, which do not include extensive investigations or result in disciplinary action, were resolved after committee members, and in some cases outside administrators, met with the respondents to reach resolutions that coincided with the wishes of the complainants.

Regardless of who hears the complaints, Spangler said all parties involved with each case are expected to keep the proceedings confidential. Nondisclosure agreements — contracts that require signatories not to disclose certain information — are not a regular component of cases, Spangler said, adding that their use “depends on the circumstances.”

Margaret Marshall, who chaired the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate appointed by Levin last March, said the report gives information that is more extensive than what federal regulations require.

“I think this puts Yale way ahead of any institution in terms of providing this kind of detail to the community,” Marshall said.

The next report on sexual misconduct cases will be released in July.

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