I agree with the Women’s Center; the action of Zeta Psi was offensive and in poor taste. However, I strongly disagree with the action taken by the Center. Rather than using this incident to open a dialogue about bigotry and sexism, a productive debate has been cut off by a threat of legal action.
The right course of action would have allowed for a frank and open discussion, rather than the legal battle about to ensue. The Women’s Center should have approached the fraternity and asked for a retraction and apology before sending an e-mail to the broader Yale community. By going straight to legal action, a nuanced conversation about what occurred and why it was wrong will be impossible.
In addition, using this incident as emblematic of broader misogyny at Yale is unfair. As a woman at Yale, I have never felt uncomfortable voicing my opinion, claiming my rights and expressing myself. I think the dominant culture is one of tolerance, and that diversity of thought is welcomed. However, I think at hand is the larger social issue of sexual inequalities and I hope the Women’s Center can play a valuable role in addressing them.
I hope that rather then becoming mired in name-calling games, the Women’s Center will have the forbearance to sit down at the table with the members of Zeta Psi. Although their behavior was inexcusable, they should not be demonized as examples of misogynists and instead we should discuss this in the context of broader expression of sexism at Yale.
The writer is a junior in Calhoun College.