At around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, many people heard loud chanting and singing in and around Old Campus. The chants came from members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. The lyrics ranged from patriotic to crude to obscene. Too often, college students get carried away in revelry or tradition and ignore the significance of their words and actions. The widespread response to this event showed us that, for some people, our words had real and powerful meaning.
The brothers of DKE accept responsibility for what we did, and want to sincerely apologize to the Yale community. We were wrong. We were disrespectful, vulgar and inappropriate. More than that, we were insensitive of all women who have been victims of rape or sexual violence, especially those here at Yale. Rape is beyond serious – it is one of the worst things that any person can be subjected to. It is not a laughing matter, yet we joked about it.
The brothers of DKE were not out to hurt or target anyone, or to incite violence against women. And although we in no way condone rape, we realize that this kind of behavior exemplifies a casual attitude towards rape that sadly fosters an environment in which sexual harassment can be ignored or belittled.
Though our original statement sought mistakenly to defend the fraternity, we realize that many members of the Yale community are frustrated, appalled and offended by what was said. Many of you are angry with us. We understand why the Women’s Center called for campus-wide action immediately following the story of what transpired — something must be done to ensure that this behavior, whether intentional or in jest, is not simply brushed aside.
And that is why we are joining with the Women’s Center, Yale College Dean Mary Miller and Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry in a discussion about sexual violence and how to create a safe and comfortable environment at Yale University. Actions like ours are unfortunately a recurring theme at college campuses all over the United States. But we hope that Yale can be a model of progressive cooperation and a safe place for women. We therefore hope that these unfortunate events serve as a teachable moment to facilitate and engage in positive and meaningful dialogue about sexual relations here at Yale. Let’s make this right.
Jordan Forney is a senior and Sam Teicher, a junior, both in Silliman College.