Two days after signs calling on the Yale men’s basketball team to “stop supporting a rapist” first appeared on campus, a new set of posters expressing a similar message appeared Wednesday morning in the Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona lecture hall.
All of this week’s posters referred to the recent controversy surrounding the basketball team’s show of support for former captain Jack Montague ’16, who was withdrawn from the University on Feb. 10 for reasons the team and University have not specified.
At last Friday’s Yale–Harvard basketball game, the team came out for warmups wearing T-shirts which had Montague’s jersey number and nickname, “Gucci,” on the back and “Yale,” spelled backwards with inverted letters, on the front. Monday’s posters featured an image of the team wearing the shirts.
By 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, new posters were hung on two billboards just outside the lecture hall and placed on chairs inside the hall. A handwritten note chalked on the classroom’s blackboard read “Rape culture is standing by your teammate and silencing Yale’s victims of sexual assault.”
But by 8:30 a.m., shortly before the first lecture in the hall began at 9 a.m., the posters and the message on the blackboard were gone. Special Assistant to the Dean of Yale College David Caruso, who works in SSS, said the custodial staff usually cleans the building between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m., but does not clean inside the lecture hall.
Additional allegations appeared on the Facebook page of the Yale Women’s Center, which published a statement later that evening addressing campus culture and the basketball team’s Friday T-shirts. The post said it “appears” that a “high-profile member of a sports team in the midst of a pivotal moment in the season” has left campus on the basis of sexual misconduct. In the post, the organization called for both administrative and student participation in promoting a “culture of respect” on campus.
University administrators, team members and Montague himself have not commented on the posters’ allegations, and the claims made in the Women’s Center post were not substantiated.
Wednesday’s posters called for the basketball team to “stop supporting a rapist,” but also featured messages alluding to remarks made by forward Justin Sears ’16 to the News on Sunday and Monday nights.
Another poster read “This poster will probably be torn down by the men’s basketball team” and in smaller font beneath, “Stop silencing women.” Sears told the News on Monday night that members of the team had taken down most of the posters found around campus on Monday morning.
Sears also told the News on Monday night that the team’s T-shirts were simply a show of support for Montague.
“We just wanted to make it as clear as possible that Jack is one of our brothers,” Sears said last Friday after the game. “He’s family to us and we miss him.”
One poster on Wednesday appeared to respond to those comments, saying “‘Teammate’ ‘Family’ ‘Brother’ Rapist.” The two other posters put out Wednesday read: “YDN, why so silent? Stop protecting a rapist” and “I stand with Yale women. End rape culture. Don’t support rapists.”
Some have also taken recent events as an opportunity to promote a healthy campus climate. Jonathan Simonds ’18 launched an online pledge on Monday afternoon titled “I support Yale women,” and has already received dozens of signatures. Posters expressing similarly positive messages have also appeared on campus bulletin boards.
“I have been really frustrated with what’s going on,” Simonds said. “I don’t have the capacity to speak to certain incidents, but I can tackle campus culture as a whole. Sexual assault is a hard and touchy subject, and it happens more than we think because a lot of times the person doesn’t have the courage to come forward.”
Simond’s posters containing the URL linking to his pledge remained on campus bulletin boards as of Wednesday night.