The Yale College Dean’s Office has reached a dead end in its investigation into the origins of the e-mail known as “The Preseason Scouting Report,” Yale College Dean Mary Miller said Tuesday.
Yale Information Technology Services, working with the Dean’s Office and the Yale Police Department, has failed to trace the source of the e-mail, which was originally sent from an anonymous account, Miller said in an interview. Still, should additional leads come to light, Miller said the possibility of disciplinary action could be explored by the Yale College Executive Committee.
“I wouldn’t say that the case is closed,” Miller said.
The “Scouting Report” e-mail came to the attention of University administrators last week after being circulated widely among campus panlists. The message lists the names, hometowns and residential colleges of 53 freshman women, who are organized into categories based on appearance. Some of the names are accompanied by vulgar commentary on the students’ Facebook photos or Facebook profiles.
Tracing an e-mail involves deciphering an e-mail’s digital postmark, ITS director Philip Long said Tuesday. Whether an e-mail’s postmark can confidently reveal the e-mail’s original author is dependent on what mail system was used to send the e-mail and what route the e-mail took. Long said ITS explored all the different e-mail paths that were made available to them.
Ultimately, ITS could not identify the e-mail’s author.
Miller explained in a separate statement to the News on Tuesday afternoon that members of Yale athletic teams were the first to receive the “Scouting Report,” prompting the Dean’s Office to start discussions with coaches and captains.
Football captain Paul Rice ’10 said his team, like other teams across the University, has been discussing the incident in the past few days, adding that the conversations have now come to a close.
Miller published an op-ed in Monday’s News denouncing the “Scouting Report” and throwing her support behind Sunday’s community forum entitled “Let’s Talk About Sex: A Conversation about Sex at Yale.” The event was co-sponsored by the Yale Women’s Center, sororities, women’s athletic teams and cultural houses.
While members of the Women’s Center board said they felt Sunday’s discussion was productive, Women’s Center business coordinator Blair Lanier ’11 expressed disappointment with the University’s apparent failure to trace the e-mail’s origins.
“The Women’s Center wishes that for once there could be a specific incident with a positive conclusion,” Lanier said. “Although we opened some channels of communication, the lack of an answer leaves everybody back where we started.”
While University administrators have so far focused on determining whether any disciplinary action can be taken against the e-mail’s creator, the freshman women listed in the message have found support at the residential college level from their masters, deans and freshman counselors.
Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi ’13, who was named in the e-mail and who published an op-ed in Monday’s News responding to the “Scouting Report,” said she thinks that the University could and should do more in response to the situation.
“I think it’s a bit disappointing,” Neghaiwi said, adding that she believes many students who received the e-mail know the identity of its writer. “I just wish there would be some more definitive action behind it.”
Neghaiwi said she has no plans to file a complaint against the e-mail’s author, preferring to leave any disciplinary action to the Dean’s Office.
When asked about the possibility that students might know who wrote the e-mail, Miller responded by saying it is their “civic responsibility” to come forward with the author’s, or authors’, identity.