September 9th, 2013 | University

Sex misconduct scenarios clarify ‘nonconsensual sex,’ punishment

In response to criticism surrounding the University’s fourth semiannual report of sexual misconduct complaints, administrators released a series of sexual misconduct scenarios and their corresponding punishments on Monday evening — four of which include expulsion.

“One of the things we’re trying to do, we’re thinking these scenarios are really good to educate the community,” said Michael Della Rocca, chair of the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC). “The UWC has not seen the full range of cases that you see depicted there. If we saw cases like that, we would expel.”

Four cases in the fourth semiannual report resulted in the UWC finding evidence for nonconsensual sex, sexual acts or conduct of a sexual nature, and, and those resulted in one instance of a two-semester suspension for the perpetrators and no expulsions.

Out of the eight hypothetical scenarios released, three cases that resulted in expulsion involved forced sex. One case involving consent that was not sustained throughout sex resulted in a punishment that would “likely range from multi-semester suspension to expulsion.”

One case involving ambiguous consent resulted in a punishment ranging from probation to suspension, while another case of ambiguous consent resulted in a reprimand. Two cases demonstrated examples of consensual sex.

Read Deputy Provost Stephanie Spangler’s email to the campus community announcing the scenarios below:

To the Yale Community:

The publication of semi-annual Reports of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct is one of several initiatives the University has undertaken in the last three years to fortify our processes and programs to address and prevent sexual misconduct on our campus. One of the purposes of the reports is to encourage frank and open discussion of broader issues so that we can work together as a community to eliminate sexual misconduct.  As many of you know, the most recent semi-annual report (issued July 31, 2013) generated many questions and raised a number of concerns—questions and concerns that highlight the importance of providing the community with more detailed information.

In his statement to the Yale Community on August 5, 2013, President Peter Salovey announced that a series of scenarios would be developed to illustrate the range of behaviors that would be considered to be “nonconsensual sex” under Yale’s policy and the likely penalties that would be imposed in each case.  These scenarios are now posted athttp://smr.yale.edu.  We hope that they will be informative and also serve as a stimulus for productive discussion about ways in which we can address sexual misconduct at Yale. Toward that end, we will be hosting small group discussions for students using the scenarios as a focus.

It is important to note that these scenarios address only a subset of behaviors that would be subject to discipline under Yale’s definition of sexual misconduct.  If they prove to be a useful tool for community discussion and engagement, we will likely develop additional scenarios in the future.

In closing, I want to thank those in the Yale community who have taken the time to share their questions and concerns with me.  They have been extremely helpful both in identifying areas of misunderstanding and in presenting opportunities to improve our programs and work together to make Yale a better place for all. As always, I welcome your comments at TitleIX@yale.edu.