In a University-wide email to students Tuesday afternoon, Dean Miller released an updated version of Yale College’s Undergraduate Regulations, which includes major changes regarding hazing, sexual consent, and undergraduate organizations:
“This year, there are a number of significant changes to the regulations, especially as they relate to sexual misconduct, hazing, and the work of the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct. The major points are flagged on the Undergraduate Regulations website, linked above. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the regulations and to understand the changes that have been made, which include both routine matters and very serious ones. Please remember that being unaware of a particular regulation is never an acceptable excuse.”
The new University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) will handle all complaints of sexual misconduct, rather than the Executive Committee that dealt with such complaints in years past. According to the Undergraduate Regulations, the UWC “provides an accessible representative and trained body to answer internal inquiries and fairly and expeditiously address formal and informal complaints of sexual misconduct. It has sole disciplinary authority over Yale College students charged with sexual misconduct and recommends penalties to the dean of Yale College.”
The new regulations also include amplified definitions of sexual misconduct, sexual consent and sexual harassment, which were first introduced during “sexual consent” workshops that freshmen were required to attend on September 1:
“Sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no”; a clear “yes,” verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Although consent does not need to be verbal, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent, and individuals are thus urged to seek consent in verbal form. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experiences shaped by mutual willingness and respect.”
The regulations go on to define hazing as any action that violates Connecticut hazing law, and add stricter, Yale-specific rules. Under the new regulations, hazing includes “initiation or affiliation activities that intentionally or recklessly endanger physical or mental health; that intimidate, denigrate, or humiliate persons pledging or seeking membership, or seeking to retain membership, in a registered or unregistered student organization or on an athletic team; or that intimidate, denigrate, or humiliate third parties who are witness to or subject to such activities.”
The regulations specify that all undergraduate student organizations, whether registered or unregistered, are required to follow these rules, and that groups as well as individuals could be penalized for infractions. In addition, three officers from every undergraduate organization must now attend training in hazing and sexual misconduct prevention. A new rule states that unregistered student organizations are required to furnish basic information, such as the group’s name and the names of three officers, to the Yale College Dean’s Office and certify that they will abide by the Undergraduate Regulations.
Check back for more details.