Sixty-one complaints of sexual assault, harassment or other misconduct were brought to University officials between Jan. 1 and June 30, according to Yale’s fourth semi-annual report of sexual misconduct complaints.

The report, released Wednesday evening by University Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Provost Stephanie Spangler, includes the largest number of complaints since the first was issued in 2011.

Four cases involving undergraduate allegations of nonconsensual sex that first appeared in earlier reports were updated in the new report to include the most recent disciplinary action taken by the University. All four cases were filed as formal complaints, involving a full investigation and an external fact-finder, with the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct. In each, the UWC found sufficient evidence that the perpetrator engaged in nonconsensual sexual activity with the complainant, according to the updates.

One of the four perpetrators was given a two-semester suspension and placed on probation for the remainder of his time at the University. A second was also placed on probation but was not suspended. And two were issued written reprimands, with one restricted from contacting the complainant.

In an email to the News, Spangler said she would not comment on individual cases to protect the privacy of those involved. She said the report cannot reflect the full circumstances of each case, and that it employs the term “non-consensual sex” rather than “rape” or more explicit language to allow the University to impose sanctions for behaviors that may not meet a criminal standard.

“[Cases] that appear similar in the report’s very general descriptions may vary quite substantially in terms of the specific circumstances and considerations,” Spangler said.

Spangler also said the University reports all complaints of sexual assault it receives to the Yale University Police Department, which has full powers of law enforcement and supports individuals who choose to pursue their complaints criminally.

UWC Chair and philosophy professor Michael Della Rocca declined to comment.

One new case brought by an undergraduate also involved an allegation of nonconsensual sex. Della Rocca and a Yale College administrator “counseled [the male respondent] on appropriate conduct,” according to the report, but because the case was filed as an informal complaint, no formal hearing was held and no determination as to the validity of the allegations was made.

The report has received criticism from members of the Yale community for demonstrating insufficient disciplinary consequences for perpetrators of sexual violence.

Alexandra Brodsky ’12 LAW ’16 said the light sanctions reflect an administrative tolerance for sexual violence. Brodsky is one of 16 students and alumni who filed a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in 2011 alleging the University had allowed a hostile sexual environment to persist.

“I don’t know the details of the case that concluded in suspension, but it strikes me as indicative of Yale’s approach to sexual violence that rapists face the same sanctions as their classmates who cheat on tests,” Brodsky said.

A petition on change.org calling for stronger administrative action, such as suspension and expulsion, in response to sexual misconduct has collected over 370 signatures since it was posted on Friday by Emma Goldberg ’16, a former staff reporter for the News. Goldberg said she wanted to extend the energy of the conversations the report had incited on Facebook and among her peers to concrete action.

Hannah Slater ’13 SPH ’14, former co-director of the Sexual Literacy Forum, a student group which fosters dialogue about sexuality on campus, said she would support a system in which the preferred disciplinary action for sexual assault is expulsion.

“A survivor should never have to endure seeing their perpetrator around campus, so perpetrators of sexual assault must, at the very least, be suspended for the entire time the survivor is enrolled,” Slater said.

Emily Hong ’14, a former Communication and Consent Educator, said she hopes students will be as active in voicing support for Yale’s ongoing reforms of sexual violence prevention programs as they have been in scrutinizing the University’s disciplinary sanctions.

“It’s hard not to have a visceral reaction when you read that students at our school have committed sexual violence against other students, even more so when they are allowed to remain on campus or receive seemingly trivial penalizations,” Hong said in an email she sent to friends in the Yale community. “However… [it’s] important to recognize that both students and administrators at Yale are actively working together to broaden intolerance and activism around sexual violence.”

The University said in a Friday statement that Yale is the only school that issues such a report, “as far as we know.” The semi-annual report includes complaints addressed through all University avenues. In the most recent report, Title IX Coordinators handled 30 complaints, while the Yale Police Department handled 22 and the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, nine.

In addition to the 61 new complaints, the report also includes 18 updates to earlier cases.

One of those previously reported cases involved a complaint from graduate and professional students that a male faculty member engaged in a personal relationship with a female faculty member that created a hostile environment. An update to the case states that a Title IX coordinator brought a formal complaint against the faculty members, and that “the UWC did not find sufficient evidence to support the allegations of sexual misconduct but did identify other problematic conduct.”

“Disciplinary steps were taken and structures were put in place to address the academic environment,” according to the report.

When the last semi-annual report was released in January, Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Graduate School Associate Dean Pamela Schirmeister confirmed that a case involving Egyptology professor John Darnell appeared in it. Darnell resigned as chair of the Department of Near East Languages and Civilizations and agreed to a one-year suspension of the Yale faculty in January after violating University policy when he engaged in a relationship with Egyptology professor Colleen Manassa ’01 GRD ’05.

Spangler declined to comment on whether the most recent report included an update to the previously reported case involving Darnell.

Eight new cases in the most recent report involved allegations of sexual assault, which includes unwanted sexual contact or touching and rape. Thirty-three cases pertained to sexual harassment, such as inappropriate comments, threatening and unwanted sexual advances.

Correction: Aug. 14

A previous version of this article misidentified Hannah Slater ’13 SPH ’14 as a co-director of the Sexual Literacy Forum, when in fact she is a former co-director. 

  • tribe

    yo but does Yale have a preferred sanction for sexual assault??

  • http://www.facebook.com/dorothy.brett.10 Dorothy Brett

    It is interesting that Yale can get away with all of this and no one who has the power to do anything cares. All of these sexual misconduct complaints are Title IX violations. When is the DOJ going to start enforcing federal law in this area?

    • terryhughes

      “All of these sexual misconduct complaints are Title IX violations.”

      You need to take a deep breath. A complaint is just that: A complaint. You write as if a complaint were equivalent to a conviction. That’s wildly wrong.

      Further, if and when it is determined that a complaint has substance, Yale is not thereby automatically in violation of Title IX. The April 2011 letter issued by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (the “Dear Colleague” letter) states only that it is the responsibility of institutions of higher education “to take immediate and effective steps to end sexual harassment and sexual violence.” In addition, the Dear Colleague Letter is highly controversial and widely thought to overstate its positions and the obligations of the institutions it addresses.

      • learnnothing

        You are the type of guy in lawyers jokes.

        • terryhughes

          I’m “the type of guy …?” “Terry” is a woman’s name, fool.

          • learnnothing

            Well, how could anybody know? There are more than two genders at Yale.

          • terryhughes

            Which further evidences why you are a fool to have concluded that I am a guy.
            “Learnnothing.” The choice of name says so much!

          • learnnothing

            ok I should refer to you as the animal then.

          • Nancy Morris

            Deeper.

          • learnnothing

            naw u r not my type.

          • Nancy Morris

            People who think the difference between a complaint and a conviction is a joke are not a type who should be let close to anything that matters.

          • learnnothing

            You know the difference. I know that you know the difference. I know the difference. You know that I know the difference.

            Yale College obstructs the course of cases going from complaints to conviction, and uses all legal and bureaucratic means conceivable to do so. By one view that IS a joke. By any view it is sad. It is even sadder if you think about any possible reason why they would do so. Mostly it is bureaucratic self-preservation, and not giving a damn about any difference between right and wrong.

            And you, madam, do not know the difference between right and wrong. You are just a parrot.

          • Nancy Morris

            Calm down. Take a pill. Proper procedure is SUPPOSED to keep complaints from automatically becoming convictions. Your thoughts are those of the Queen of Hearts. Stop writing increasingly agitated, hysterical gibberish. You’re embarrassing yourself, even while concealing your identity. And stop name calling. It’s even more embarrassing for you.

          • learnnothing

            Standard Yale procedure. Tell people to calm down. Clearly there must be something wrong with them, because there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with Yale.

            It sounds like you work for Yale. You may even be their legal counsel. Your thoughts are those of a jackass.

          • Nancy Morris

            More and more name calling and paranoid accusations, less and less substance. “Standard Yale procedure. Tell people to calm down.” You write that as if it were a bad thing. Calm drown. Your writing is so agitated and unhinged I am becoming concerned you may pop your navel.

            And, no, I don’t work for Yale.

          • learnnothing

            I suppose you think the federal government is paranoid too when it accuses Yale under title IX.

            Some day, this will cost Yale and you financially.

          • Nancy Morris

            So now you pass from hysteria to name calling to threats. Wow. Get a grip.

        • Nancy Morris

          No, actually YOU seem like the kind of person who thinks other people’s rights are jokes, and that those you favor are entitled to nonconsensual sex. You regard yourself as clever, but you think like a sexual criminal.

          • learnnothing

            I favor nobody. Nobody is entitled, except to legal defense by scumbag lawyers like you.

  • concerned

    Please remember this topic is specifically about sexual assault at a university. Beyond the abuse sustained to a victim’s body in the campus environment, there is the mental trauma inflicted among a community whose obligation to society is to engage in the life of the mind. I always get a kick out of Yale administrators who continue to point to statistics “elsewhere” to defend (justify?) what is happening at Yale rather than effecting necessary changes to the status quo. Are they saying Yale is only the intellectual equivalent an “elsewhere” either on or off campus? That’s not what the official blubs imply. But maybe Yale scholars are being dumbed down these days in order to accommodate expanding sexual abuse on campus.

    • Nancy Morris

      I don’t see any report in this article of any “Yale administrators who continue to point to statistics “elsewhere” to defend (justify?) what is happening at Yale.” Did I miss it? Can you point it out to me?