October 14th, 2010 | Uncategorized

DKE chants on Old Campus spark controversy

Delta Kappa Epsilon brothers shouted offensive chants as part of a pledge process on Old Campus Wednesday night.

The Women’s Center deemed the actions “hate speech” and “an active call for sexual violence.”

Around 9:30 pm, students were seen chanting, among other things, “No means yes, yes means anal.”

The students, some of whom were blindfolded and being led in a line with their hands on each others’ shoulders, were also heard chanting “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophiliac, I f— dead women.”

The Women’s Center board convened later Wednesday night to issue a response to an issue they felt was serious and needed to be addressed immediately.

“This action by DKE has made public that they see rape as a joke or, worse, something they support,” their statement to the News said. “That these calls may have been made in jest should not distract from the fact that they incite violence.”

The Center said that this is a serious issue, which should be addressed by the Yale administration.

UPDATE: 2:07 a.m.

An earlier version of this post reported that DKE pledges were responsible for the chanting. Although the Women’s Center and eyewitnesses attributed the actions to DKE, there have been conflicting reports as to who is responsible.

UPDATE: 4:08 a.m.

DKE brother Sam Teicher ’12 told the News that DKE pledges were responsible for the incident.

  • yale

    This is ridiculous, why on earth should things like this be happening at Yale?

  • SY10

    Zeta Psi all over again. Doesn’t really encourage one about the state of frat culture at Yale.

  • nope

    Not DKE.

    Let’s get our facts straight before accusing the first fraternity that comes to mind.

  • y09

    @spiderjerk2: obvious troll is obvious.

  • Yale14

    They were chanting SAE.

  • anotherY10

    @nope @Yale14

    1) The update states a DKE brother has confirmed DKE’s responsibility
    2) When frats do stuff like this in public, they often try to disguise themselves as another frat – it’s part of some old inter-frat prank feuds to get each other into trouble. So, during the Yale Sluts incident, the Zeta Psi brothers responsible were shouting DKE! DKE! DKE!

    Anyway, it’s not that important which frat did it, just that as a community, we should be condemning this behavior from anyone.

  • Corky

    I don’t think lynching black men made white men stronger or wiser or better athletes. I don’t think degrading women will do it either..

  • BR11

    Don’t generalize. Just because one fraternity is full of misogynists doesn’t mean that all fraternities are.

  • RexMottram08

    It is possible to oppose both behaviors in this article: the lewd, juvenile frat boys and the militant, man-hating feminists. They have more in common than they think.

  • ps477

    Where is the “militant, man-hating feminist” perspective in this article? I think feeling offended and disgust at this incident is, very, very warranted.

  • anotherY10


    Wait, I don’t think rape makes for funny jokes, particularly on a campus with plenty of date-rape. I’d really like it if my friend who was raped last month hadn’t had to listen to this beside her bedroom window last night. How does that make me man-hating?

    I love plenty of men – just not these ones.

  • wlys

    Disgusting, reprehensible, yes. But not an “active” call for sexual violence. Be more careful with your words, Women’s Center, and people may start to give you the time of day which you, at least in this case, deserve.

  • GW11

    Wait, where are these “militant, man-hating feminists?”

    And to BR11: No, perhaps not all fraternities are full of misogynists. But what would be better, in a time such as this one, would be for the entire fraternity community to condemn the actions of those individuals, whether they were members of your own fraternity or another.

  • McGuire

    I think we’re overlooking something… we should be celebrating Yale’s tolerance and diversity for this public show of solidarity with necrophiles in their struggle for equal rights.

  • MikeC

    I think the Women’s Center is overreacting by calling these chants a “call to violence” or “hate speech.” Is it immature and socially reprehensible to chant things like that? Yes. Do I think that the DKE (or SAE or whoever) pledges meant to imply that rape is cool or incite people to attack women? No. I don’t think such an interpretation is reasonable. No one is going to hear chants like that and decide that they’re going find a woman to sexually assault.

    What the Women’s Center seems to be doing is calling attention to themselves and their pet issues while urging the administration to crack down on thought-crime.

  • y09

    @BR11: It’s not just one fraternity. Remember Zeta Psi’s “We Love Yale Sluts” photo? And now DKE?
    And it’s not just the ones who directly participated in these activities who are misogynists; any man who actively participates in a group that supports this kind of behavior is implicitly condoning the behavior.
    So, men of Yale frats – if you don’t like this, say so. It’s as easy as saying, “Yo, I don’t think rape jokes are funny. Can we do something else?” You don’t have to make a big deal out of it, but it helps to speak out.

  • TC11

    @MikeC – Sadly, these aren’t “pet issues.” This is the stuff of bigotry. It might seem small, even subtle. The chants were trying to be funny–ironic, perhaps–but by now we should retire this sexist humor in the same way that we have finally recognized racism and anti-Seminism as “not funny.” It’s the 21st century in America. It might not seem life-changing, either, but these young men are going to have to respect women and women’s consent in their lifetimes, and their chanting “no means yes, yes means anal” doesn’t help their future relationships with friends, family, and co-workers.

    @wlys – The challenge the Women’s Center has always faced has been how to constructively respond to what is inappropriate behavior without being accused of being man-hating or humorless. (Most of the people who make those comments have never stepped inside the Center or taken the time to meet the Board.) It’s hard to be student-run organization that’s ambitious enough to tackle campus-wide, culture-wide problems, and yet remains so unfairly maligned. The Board did well last year as they responded to the Preseason Scouting Report with forums on Yale’s sexual culture, and they will likely try similar tactics this year. These talks were healing and effective, though clearly not effective enough.

    @GW11 – I agree. This not just the Women Center’s fight. The fraternities must respond. A formal apology, if there is one, cannot be good enough. This incident is evidence of a bigger, broader problem of sexism in pockets of Yale’s campus culture. The administration cannot afford to ignore this. Both male and female Yalies need to make the sure that it is addressed, once and for all.

  • MikeC

    @y09 – While it would behoove other fraternities to issue statements disapproving of misogynistic taunts and rape jokes, who are you to play the guilt-by-loose-association game with Yale fraternities? Your idea that all fraternities are guilty until proclaimed innocent because they share the attribute of Greek letters in their names reveals nothing but your own prejudice. Would it be fair for someone from a foreign country to assume that all American universities promote or condone misogyny because of the actions of a few kids at Yale?

    Think about it – if the Party of the Right made some racist jokes in public, would you assume that members of the Liberal Party or any other YPU outfit were racists? If not, why not? And yet you assume that all fraternities and their members think alike. You’re implicitly admitting that you already consider fraternities to be full of chauvinists, and this event merely confirms your suspicions.

  • MikeC

    @TC11 You misunderstand. I’m not saying that what these kids did is funny or should be seen as acceptable in civilized society. I didn’t find it funny or acceptable. I’m saying that these chants are not dangerous or a call to violence against women. By using terminology like “call to violence” or “hate speech,” the Women’s Center is implying that certain words or thoughts are so dangerous that they should be illegal. I don’t think that’s productive or helpful to their own cause. If the Women’s Center had said that such words were “irresponsible,” “juvenile,” “offensive” or “evidence that women have not yet achieved the respect they fully deserve,” I’d agree with them.

    “Pet issues” was perhaps an inartful choice of words. What I meant to suggest is that they are engaging in overreaction to capitalize on foolishness. These boys were not creating any risk of inciting a mob to go out and rape women. This was not a lynch mob.

  • GW11

    @MikeC: I’m in the greek community, and I have to agree with Y09. No, fraternity members aren’t all guilty by loose association, but we have a responsibility to each other to **not** support comments like these. And is it that hard to say to your friends “Yo, that’s not a funny joke”?

    As far as the Women’s Center saying that it’s a “call to violence”… I’m sorry, but it is. “No means yes, yes means anal” is clearly a joke about rape, which is a violent crime. NOTHING about forcibly penetrating someone, or perhaps non-forcibly penetrating someone without consent is not violent. NOTHING about that is acceptable. By not condemning these chants and actions, we’re implicitly saying that it is acceptable. How can the members of the Yale community stand idly by and do nothing? Perhaps the Women’s Center went too far (which, to be clear, I don’t believe they did). What do they have to do or say to get people to listen? Apparently this reaction was too militant, and so we dismiss it. Are they supposed to say “Oh, don’t do that. Rape is bad. No means no.”? It seems like I’ve heard all these things before, and yet rape and sexual assault still happen.

  • ohno

    @GW11, props to you.

  • Peachy Keane

    I’d say the woe center played right into the boys’ hands.

  • Goldie08

    In the wake of the Zeta Psi episode, I find it hard that DKE leadership actually thought this was a good idea. A more likely scenario is that they knew some sort of tongue in cheek misogynist rant would incite controversy. I don’t think that the DKE brothers live by the “no means yes, yes means anal” creed. I think they just wanted to provoke a reaction from a very PC yale student body. They got that reaction. Was it a smart move? Definitely not. Do I think they are women haters who enjoy raping women? No. It was calculated on their part to raise some tongue in cheek rabble on campus. Dumb, but what do you expect – its a fraternity!

    @anotherY10 – your friend was raped? by a Yale student? Did she report it?

    And what to make of Mcguire’s (joke) comment about tolerating the necrophile lifestyle. He does have a point – they can’t help it – they were born that way! Necrophiles are people too.

  • penny_lane

    I’m sorry…how is chanting “No means yes!” not making light of sexual assault? Last spring, a close friend of mine was roofied at a party and had to go to Y-NH. She was luckier than my other friend, who experienced a completed sexual assault as a freshman. This sh-t isn’t funny, guys.

    Every year some frat does something deliberately degrading to women (that list last year; Zeta Psi the year before), and every year the administration hems and haws and pretends like it’s not *really* creating a hostile environment and promoting sexism. Probably because disciplining those responsible would mean disciplining athletes, and disciplining athletes might make it look like we’re not serious about winning The Game.

    What if they made up a funny chant about a lynching? No one would stand for it–and well they shouldn’t. Yet a funny chant about rape is just fine–and if you oppose it the conservatives complain that you’re furthering an agenda. Well, if the agenda is anti-rape, then I fully support that agenda. Further away, WC.

  • ohno

    Oh, for crying out loud. “Tongue-in-cheek misogynist rant”? Will people stop acting like every time someone does something objectionably racist or misogynist or just plain mean, they must have been doing it as “satire,” or “parody”? Sometimes people are just blatantly ignorant and don’t think about what they say. This is a prime example. And besides, how is this sparking intelligent conversation on the issue? It’s just hurting people and putting the rest of us through the same tired “boys will be boys” and “it’s just a joke (about sexual violence).”

    I’d even venture to say that no one higher up at DKE would have come up with this as a “stunt” to intentionally engender controversy or for a laugh at the wimminz; they’re a fraternity and are concerned with reputation and relations with the student body, they’re not a prank group or activist organization. “It was a social experiment guys” is not going to cut it in this case.

  • Goldie08

    @ ohno – Look, I wasn’t defending their actions – just throwing out a possible (though really really stupid) rationale as to how this happened. Everyone knows a stunt like this makes you public enemy #1 at Yale, so I’m just confused as to why these guys did this in the first place. I mean, they’re not *that* stupid, are they? Maybe I am giving them too much credit, but I find it hard to believe that nobody in DKE took a step back and said “wait a minute, remember Zeta Psi?” That’s why I think they must have anticipated this reaction and still moved forward for some misguided reason or another.

  • wlys


    Joke about rape != Everybody grab a girl and rape her

    It’s not a call to violence. These pledges aren’t encouraging people to go out and rape. This is a great opportunity for the Women’s Center to gain approval and respect, and by overstating they are falling into the “crazy feminist” stereotype that people at Yale almost *want* to put them in. I urge the Women’s Center to release a well-planned and appropriate response, not more reactionary “OH NO INJUSTICE? LET’S GET ON IT!” quotes.

  • mj_y13

    It’s not like this is a new chant. This was a chant that was used last year, if not in years before as well. As a freshman, I was very uncomfortable hearing those words being yelled out on Old Campus, but it seemed that there was nothing that could be done. It seemed that the accepted explanation at Yale was “boys will be boys,” and to hope that these words don’t affect anyone’s actions or decisions. I’m just glad that now they are being held responsible for their words.
    It is at best naive, and at worst downright misogynistic, to accept or attempt to rationalize the actions of DKE, while condemning any response the Women’s Center puts forth to misogyny and blatant sexism on campus.

  • penny_lane


    Remember this?

    > One anonymous DKE brother said the notion of one’s sexual prowess as a quantitative measure plays to some brothers’ idea of “perfection.”
    “The higher your kill count, the more respect you get in the house,” he said, referring to the number of girls each brother has “taken down” or hooked up with.

    The entire culture regarding sex and women within DKE seems basically to be “Everybody grab a girl and rape her,” as you say. (I mean, really, “kill count”? “No means yes”? What ELSE is that supposed to mean?) This kind of culture–number of women=social prowess– is the biggest reason why sexual assault is so prevalent on college campuses–it’s not because everyone who joins a frat does so because he’s a rapist in training or is in any way a bad person; it’s because frat brothers learn early on that treating women like trash and joking about it is what will earn them respect from the other brothers. A serious consequence of that is they stop seeing women as people and instead they see them as conquests. That’s when consent stops mattering; a roofie in a drink doesn’t seem like a big deal. This stuff happens, and it happens here, far too often. It’s real violence against real people that won’t stop unless someone takes a good hard look at the culture that encourages it and says, “Enough is enough. Rape isn’t funny; women are people. Let’s behave accordingly.”

    And let’s get real here: since when does being opposed to rape qualify someone as “crazy”?

  • YaleAlum08

    Ok, I think we can all agree that the pledges did not truly believe the things they were chanting to be true. However, the intent was essentially to offend the senses, which many DKE pledge activities did in my time at Yale, DKE should take full responsibility for their actions. Pledges for a fraternity don’t generally create their activities, they are given them by the members of the fraternity.

    While free speech is all well and good, for the benefit of the student body, I think it’s fully within Yale’s rights to censor groups that make students feel unsafe. Especially when their words serve no other purpose than to embarrass and to demean. The Women’s Center is serving as a facilitator for this discussion because that is their organization’s role, what is DKE’s at Yale????

  • yale13

    This is disgusting. As a victim of sexual assault from a frat member last semester I find it disgusting and completely ridiculous that some people could even dismiss this. Letting ANYONE chant degrading terms like this means letting people know that the community is apathetic to sexual disrespect.

    If someone were to chant “Lynch black people! Fill them with semen!” there would be a nationwide outcry. Yet people in the community are already saying that the Women’s Center is being too forward about it. Do you really expect women to sit down when this kind of behavior goes on in any–let alone one of the most reknown–academic communities in the world?

  • y09

    @MikeC: I didn’t mean to imply that all members of frats were guilty by association. I meant that frat members form a community, and within that community, you can set a standard of tolerance during initiations, parties, etc. To use your example: If the PoR said something wildly racist, I wouldn’t assume that the other parties were racist too, but I would hope that because they, along with the PoR, form a political community, they would speak out against such behavior to drive home the fact that hate speech is NOT welcome in that domain.

    I know plenty of frat members, and for the most part, they’re really nice people who I don’t think would ever believe that “no means yes and yes means anal.” Yet, they hold the power to show others in the Greek system that it’s not cool to even joke about it.

  • anotherY10

    @goldie08 No, my friend didn’t report being raped, for all the usual reasons women don’t report rape in social situations. She was in the same social circle as the guy, and was scared some of her friends would take his side, she’d been drinking illegally that night (although was not drunk), an older friend who’d been sexually assaulted previously had told her that the administration had made the reporting process painful and stressful.
    I recently raised the issue of date-rape at DKE parties with a male friend, and he replied that all girls who went to DKE parties were sluts anyway. And that’s why chants like this cause actual harm: I’m sure none of the guys in question think they would ever rape a women – they probably think of “rape” as something totally alien to them. But there are plenty among them who don’t understand consent, and being encouraged to laugh about it doesn’t help. No, going to a party doesn’t mean who consent to sex with every guy in the room – it often just means all your friends are going.

  • kgct

    It’s pretty demoralizing that these kids are supposed to be the best and brightest. Not classy Yale, not classy.

  • MikeC

    @yale13 – First, I am sorry to hear that you were subjected to such an assault. Having never experienced a sexual assault, I can only imagine the pain you’ve suffered.

    That said, my statement about the Women’s Center is not that they should remain quiet about the disturbing attitude toward women and sexual assault that the pledges displayed. My comment is that the Women’s Center should not engage in hyperbole, as it undercuts an important message.

    I understand that Yale is not the government, and has more freedom to discipline students for problematic speech. However, I don’t think that Yale should crack down on expression lightly.

    If Yale were the government and thus bound by the First Amendment, they could only retaliate against speech under certain conditions – when that speech is an incitement to commit violence, or calculated to intimidate other people (think Klan cross-burnings), or defamatory, or disruptive to a some crucial function happening at the time of the speech (like a class or official meeting). That’s why the Women’s Center uses language like “a call to violence” or “hate speech.” If these idiots had said something like “women are intellectually inferior to men” or “women should stay home in the kitchen,” as backward and unpopular as those views might be, the school would be hard-pressed to punish them for holding outdated views on women’s equality. The Women’s Center is using hyperbole to call on the administration to suspend or expel the students involved or otherwise subject them to official discipline.

    But these aren’t calls to violence. No intelligent person would listen to those chants and think “I should go rape a woman” or “these boys are asking people to rape women.”

    Let’s say that a group of Yale students engaged in a public display of Holocaust denial. Hillel would be perfectly reasonable to decry such statements and to call their proponents ignorant bigots. If, on the other hand, Hillel called for their immediate expulsion as traitors and Nazis, it would not change the minds of those who espoused such beliefs and would turn them into free-speech martyrs. The best remedy for ignorance and intolerance is sunshine, not repression.

  • prently

    …..The fact that it took other people’s anger to alert the men of DKE to the fact that what they did was abominable is telling. Let us not forget the lessons of Abu Ghraib, which are pertinent here. The torturers at Abu Ghraib were so wrapped up in a culture of hatred and violence that they had no idea how appalled the American public would be by their actions. It took the voices and perspectives of others to shake them out of their culture of hate and to see why their actions were unacceptable. Like the torturers at Abu Ghraib, the men of DKE were so wrapped up in their misogynistic culture that they were unable to predict how the greater community would react to statements like “I f— dead women.” This degree of misogyny is disturbing. Yale cannot tolerate it. Every man involved here should be expelled….

    Click here for full comment.

    [1]: http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2010/oct/15/forney-and-teicher-how-our-fraternity-failed/

  • grantttodd


  • godard

    get fraternities off the yale campus. my beloved alma mater is not some big ten school.

  • AntiZionist

    Were the comments actually directed at women?

    Seems to me that a bunch of guys who willingly live together and enjoy degrading each other in various ways publicly may not be into girls.

  • BigBlueMan

    In my experience at Yale I have observed:

    The degree to which students condone sexually aggressive behavior is dependent upon the group membership, e.g., fraternity membership and (correlated) team membership, of those engaging in it.

    The likelihood of sexually aggressive behavior towards a stranger at a social gathering conditional upon membership in one of the aforementioned groups is greater than that which prevails among the entire student body.

    To me these observations suggest that the groups to which the student body gives the most social power tend to be more likely to leverage this power as a means to obtain unwarranted sexual access. I hope this is not construed as an attempt to blame assault victims, yet I can’t help but notice how some of my roommates who sleep with a different woman every other week can become the most popular people here. I hope that my line of reasoning serves to make us reflect upon the reasons we look up to our classmates, and empower us against the monsters we sometimes create.

  • juli

    If they had chanted about sexually abusing children or lynching Blacks, would these apologists creeps be so quick to defend DKE as just have a odd sense of humor?
    Or how about a local gay activist group marching in from of the men’s dorms chanting about raping the frat bros? “Hey, where’s your sense of humor, now?”

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