May 8th, 2011 | Uncategorized

Title IX investigation contributes to debate on banning fraternities

The Title IX investigation into Yale’s sexual climate has a prompted dialogue among college professors as to whether fraternities should be banned. The topic was the one on the table in a recent New York Times Room for Debate, the Times’ online roundtable series in which outside contributors discuss timely issues.

In addition to citing the Title IX complaint at Yale, the Times debate refers to the Delta Kappa Epsilon incident last fall when pledges chanted inflammatory remarks on Old Campus. The introduction to the debate also references a recent Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Caitlin Flanagan which argues that the Yale case exemplifies why fraternities should be outlawed on college campuses for the safety of women.

The questions that frame the Times debate are: “But should fraternities be singled out?…Are fraternity members really more apt than their male peers to tolerate sexist attitudes and sexual misbehavior? What role does drinking play, given its role in inciting aggression? Should colleges be doing more to prevent sexual offenses?” Debaters provide arguments that range from holding colleges accountable for fraternities’ actions to increasing alcohol awareness programs in Greek organizations.

Read more about other solutions proposed here.

  • penny_lane

    This is ridiculous. Banning things never solved anyone’s problems.

  • yaylie

    That whole discussion brings up a good point – what is the purpose of these fraternities and other semi secret and secret organizations on campus but to gain social status for those who get in at the expense of those who don’t?

  • onlineproductmanager

    Disclaimer: I’m in a Yale fraternity.

    There is no “good point” in banning fraternities (or sororities, for that matter). The point of a fraternity is not to exclude people or gain social status; it’s to expand your social circle, to allow you to get to know people that you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to know, to form deep relationships with your fellow brothers and band around your common interests, to form networks with alumni from your chapter and in chapters around the US. It’s ridiculous to ban the fraternities on the ground that it will “improve the sexual climate” at Yale. If someone is going to commit a sexual offense, they will commit that offense regardless of whether they are a brother in a fraternity. Fraternities do a lot of positive good for the Yale community, and it is absolutely stupid to remove that net good because of the stupid actions of a few people. Not all fraternities are created equal.

  • Boogs

    Why not ban a cappella groups, too? Their constant singing only serves to remind me that I’m tone deaf. Yale is a a place of violence against the tone deaf.

  • bt

    @ onlineproductmanager: you say that “it is absolutely stupid to remove that net good” – since you speak of the NET good, do you agree that there is some BAD in fraternities when it comes to the sexual climate at Yale? Do you think that fraternities could do better when it comes to the treatment and portrayal of women? If so, how?
    I’m not a fraternity member, so I’m curious to hear what you think. I am not pre-judging fraternities! But I think it would be a first step if fraternity members would step forward and earnestly address the issue. This is something that you seem to be willing to do by admitting that there may be some bad in fraternities effect on the sexual climate. Ultimately, I hope that there will be an open discussion at Yale involving fraternity members (one that is not limited to the YDN comment section).

  • onlineproductmanager

    It’s problematic to single out the actions of DKE and point to their behavior as representative of the other fraternities on Yale’s campus. In my fraternity (I don’t want to say which, because I don’t want my statements to be construed as an official statement of our fraternity, even though I’m sure our Executive Board would agree), we treat women absolutely respectfully (the majority of our brothers, including me, are in happy, healthy relationships), and I think we as individuals contribute positively to Yale sexual culture.

    I guess my point is that it detracts from constructive discourse to think of “fraternities,” or even as “DKE,” as collective organizations contributing to a negative Yale sexual culture, as their detractors would have it. We would be much better served to think of the perpetrators of the “DKE” incident not as an action committed by DKE the fraternity, but by individual Yale students; it’s problematic to lay the blame for the incident on “DKE” (which counts many morally upstanding, sexually respectful gentlemen among their members) as a collective.

  • BR11

    onlineproductmanager hits the nail on the head. I’m a member of a fraternity at Yale. I would be ignorant if I claimed that I did not have friends both inside and outside of the fraternity, male and female, who contribute to a negative Yale sexual culture. But they’re everywhere, non-Greeks and Greeks alike.

    Don’t overgeneralize from the actions of a few individuals. Imagine if someone made the argument, “Oh, well they caught these Yale students committing sexual assault. There must be something wrong with Yale! Let’s get rid of the institution entirely.”

  • JohnnyE

    Is banning all fraternities just an outlandish proposition for the purpose of making the opposing side more willing to accept a less extreme one when the time comes to argue for it? Classic bargaining technique, right?

  • dalet5770

    What’s next in our quest for political correctness – “Jannie Appleseed a womans story,” – ” A tree grows in Lesbos get used to it,” – Edwina Allen Poe ” Nevermore proud”

  • anon82

    The WSJ article has some valid points but its a bit outlandish . . .

    “The Greek system is dedicated to quelling young men’s anxiety about submitting themselves to four years of sissy-pants book learning by providing them with a variety of he-man activities: drinking, drugging, ESPN watching and the sexual mistreatment of women. ”

    ESPN watching? Come on now.

  • Goldie08

    Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests – we did. But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg – isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

  • penny_lane

    Ok, I think the idea of banning fraternities is silly, but the argument that it’s not the whole organization but a few individuals rings a bit hollow when you consider the fact that entire pledge classes were responsible for broadcasting messages like “We Love Yale Sluts” and “No Means Yes” quite publicly, and that they were probably put up to it by fraternity leadership. The fact that a couple particular frats frequently seem to be the responsible party for antics like these is all the more unsettling. I’d say that whatever culture leads these frats to think of such actions as innocent boyish fun is a serious problem and ought to be addressed. Banning frats, however, is a really terrible idea, especially when you consider that they have the potential to be really positive forces on campus.

    Frankly, I think it makes more sense to send a message to athletes that they are NOT untouchable, no matter how much the administration wants to win the Game and appease alumni. Hey, a girl can dream…

  • dalet5770

    I have said it before and I will say it again ! Women are not the endangered species here. They live longer than men, they outnumber men and their sexuality is higher functioning well into middle age as opposed to men who peak in there early 20’s – There are over 100 womens colleges in the US, why on gods earth would the women use the platform of Yale to bully healthy men. I would call this game repugnant if we do not (in our effort to seek truth) in questioning whether Yale should return to its roots and throw the bums (but in this case its bitches) out

  • yaleu12

    Distressing how much group think goes on at Yale.. and everyone is guilty of it. The bottom line is that everyone at Yale is here for a reason – they have some kind of extraordinary talent(s). I don’t care who you are, you’ve gotta agree that someone at Yale can do something you can’t do, and do it about 1,000 times better. Personally, I think that’s the greatest strength of Yale. It’s a diversity of talents.

    And yes, believe or not, there are extraordinarily talented individuals in fraternities at Yale. Dare I say there are some in DKE? … Banning fraternities is silly. Thinking doing such will eliminate all ‘fraternity’ antics is silly. Why don’t we ban co-ed prank groups? The incident I’m referring to is curiously absent from pretty much all this kind of discussion..

    Anyhow, the biggest problem at Yale is group think. I’m telling you write now.. figure out a way around it and most of our SMALL problems go away. If there was some way to facilitate one on one sit down conversations between people from seemingly opposite sides of the spectrum 99% of the time both sides would come away with mutual respect no matter if they agreed with each others’ points of view.

  • DCHeretic

    If fraternities are to be banned, then soroities must be banned as well. Combatting gender discrimination cannot be one-sided.

  • peconic

    The “banning” argument is stupid (can’t believe how many bad ideas seem to float around Yale, inside the bubble). But it is also moot. It’s been years since any were on campus or otherwise under the aegis of the Yale administration. Are people suggesting that Yale should somehow prohibit students from belonging to a non-Yale organization? They can’t do it, despite, I’m sure, desperately wanting to.

    Btw, I was a DKE, and it was a great part of my undergraduate experience. I met a lot of people I otherwise wouldn’t have that remain friends still.

  • dalet5770

    There should be a house sud committee hearing on abusive women in America and point to Yale as the epitome of the Womens movement – Every Yalie should hang their heads in shame with what women have done to this all male college

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