By now, you’ve probably seen the Facebook status, posted on Saturday night, which alleges that a brother of Sigma Alpha Epsilon denied admission to an African-American woman the night before, citing a “White Girls Only” policy. Perhaps you have liked or shared it. Certainly, if you’ve seen it, it has changed your perception of us and our values.
The alleged incident took place at our annual Halloween party open to all Yale students. The party was not “White Girls Only.” After learning about the accusations through the Facebook post, we immediately started an investigation into the incident. “White Girls Only” and the sentiment it expresses in no way describes our admission policy for social events. Entry into our home is by no means determined by race. Our party was diverse in attendance, with attendees of all races, genders and sexual orientations, as is every social event we host. Admission into the house is determined solely by safety considerations, friendship with brothers and possession of valid Yale identification.
Similarly, we categorically deny the statement made to the Washington Post by an anonymous source, claiming to be a freshman who was shoved away from the door by a brother who said, “Who the [expletive] do you think you are — you’re clearly gay.” This did not happen, and we are appalled that anybody would believe that our fraternity — with four homosexual and bisexual brothers, one of whom lives in the house — discriminates based on sexuality. We welcome all genders and sexualities, not only at our open parties (and there were several out gay men at SAE on Friday), but at our chapter meetings and brother events.
The Facebook status has sparked a wave of anti-SAE sentiment on campus, which has disregarded all reasonable objections and left the Yale student body with one perspective on what happened on Friday night. The monolithic nature of this discussion has had harmful consequences. African-American members of SAE have received hurtful and threatening messages, including some calling them “Uncle Toms” for standing up for the diversity of our organization. Dwight Hall has cancelled its joint charity project with SAE and several Greek organizations, which would have raised funds to combat prostate cancer. We harbor no resentment about the Facebook status and support the effort to highlight perceived discrimination, wherever it may appear. We do regret, however, that a more thorough investigation into these claims did not occur before allegations were made.
It is deeply disheartening to see the Yale community so easily presume that any member of the fraternity would subscribe to a racially based admission policy. The most cursory glance inside the party would confirm that such a policy does not exist.
The Yale chapter of SAE is a diverse and inclusive institution made up of members of many races, faiths and sexual orientations. To suggest that the fraternity is solely made up of straight white men is not only false, but also diminishes our brothers who do not fall into these categories. To suggest that the fraternity has discriminated against people of color is simply untrue.
SAE strives to be a safe space for all members of the Yale community. Thus far, we have enjoyed hosting events open to the public and welcoming the amazing variety of people on this campus into our home. We try to accommodate as many individuals as possible, so that we can enjoy our time as college students together. There is no room for hate in our house. Unfortunately, there is not enough room for the entire student body in our yard either. Know that if you have ever been turned away from our door it is because of limitations to our house, not because of limitations to our character.
We hope that this message will clarify any misunderstandings about the events of Friday night and reflect the true values and culture of our organization.
We welcome further discussion about inclusivity on this campus and encourage any members of the Yale community to reach out to the brothers of our organization.
Grant Mueller is a junior in Davenport College. He is the president of Yale’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org .