Last semester, in the wake of the Title IX complaint, we voiced a simple hope. “The project of reforming Yale’s sexual culture is a formidable one,” our editorial read. (“News’ View: Framing the debate,” April 5). “It cannot be shouldered by three public complainants, 13 anonymous ones, the Department of Education, ExComm, the Yale administration or even Joe Biden. It is a responsibility that must fall on our community as a whole.”
We know that change will not necessarily come from artificial administrative fiat, but from Yale students who reckon with our community’s problems. We saw and see this challenge as our own.
Of course, it’s easy to be skeptical. But we take hope and encouragement in a group of gutsy freshman counselors, who pushed back when told by the administration to run problematic “consent and communication workshops.” It was inappropriate to ask the FroCos to overload their freshmen with legalese — not to mention broadly negative, forbidding generalizations. We are glad that the counselors preserved their independent role as student advocates.
In the end, masters and deans gave the serious legal recommendations. Advice for navigating Yale’s parties, hook-ups, risks and rewards remains personal, between freshman and FroCo. A scripted phrase like “the causal problem is coercion and violence, not vulnerability” would undermine that relationship. Yale needs to think more strategically about how it delivers this information.
It’s important to remember how the FroCos managed to refine Yale’s strategy. They took personal initiative, questioning orders or guidelines from above. All of our undergraduate organizations should follow their lead: frats, teams, service groups and health educators alike. We have far more influence on one another than any administrator or investigation. We don’t need to run scared from that power, but use it constructively.