Jack Montague, former captain of the Yale men’s basketball team, was expelled from the University for sexual misconduct, the News confirmed on Wednesday.
Montague’s status in the University was changed to withdrawn on his academic record on Feb. 10. Two weeks later, Yale sports publicity announced in a press release that Montague would not return to the team. Last Thursday, Montague’s father told the New Haven Register that his son had been expelled from the University for “ridiculous” reasons.
A formal complaint was filed against Montague with the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct in November of 2015, several months after an incident of alleged misconduct occurred. The decision to expel him was made on Feb. 10, 2016, and a week later the University provost chose not to grant Montague’s appeal of the decision, according to sources familiar with the facts of the case. It remains unclear if the November formal complaint was the only complaint brought before the UWC.
The student who filed the November complaint declined to comment for this story. Montague also declined to comment.
When a member of the Yale community files a formal complaint of sexual misconduct, the UWC appoints an impartial fact-finder to interview relevant parties and compile a report of the events in question. After the report is completed and presented to the UWC secretary, the UWC chair — currently ecology and evolutionary biology professor David Post — selects a five-member panel from the larger 30-member UWC body to conduct a hearing. At the hearing, both the complainant and the respondent are permitted to make a 10-minute statement and are then interviewed by the panel. Additional witnesses may come before the panel at the panel’s discretion.
After the hearing, the panel votes via secret ballot on whether the respondent has violated University policy; if a majority of panel members believe such a violation has occurred, the panel recommends a penalty. That recommendation is then presented to the relevant decision maker — Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, if the respondent is an undergraduate — who has the option to accept, reject or modify the panel’s conclusion or recommended sanctions. Both the complainant and respondent may appeal the final decision.
Although the UWC’s procedures are all available online, their actual implementation remains largely opaque, as all formal proceedings are kept entirely confidential.
Blake Thomson ’16, a childhood friend of Montague who said he knows the facts of the complaint and subsequent case, wrote in a statement to the News that he believes the UWC’s policies have multiple “flaws and controversies.”
“Those that were close to the situation are frustrated with our school, because we witnessed how the UWC policies go against established law and strip an accused student of due process and any form of proper defense one might receive in a real court,” Thomson said.
He added that the UWC, as well as existing Title IX policy, is “failing both complainants and respondents, females and males.”
The University has refrained from commenting on Montague and his status, as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prohibits educational institutions from sharing a student’s private educational records without the student’s prior written consent. Since disciplinary actions are included in educational records, University administrators have said they are not permitted to disclose any information.
Holloway declined to confirm Montague’s expulsion for reasons of sexual misconduct Wednesday night and would not comment further.
New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said there is currently no complaint filed against Montague in his department. Montague’s name also does not appear in any criminal or civil investigations, Hartman said. Yale Police Department Lieutenant Von Narcisse said the YPD is not involved in a criminal investigation into Montague either.
Despite the lack of information coming from the University regarding Montague’s departure from Yale, his father has publicly acknowledged the expulsion and said a statement from the family is forthcoming.
“We have strict orders from our lawyers,” Jim Montague told the New Haven Register last week. “Soon enough, I’d love to tell the other side of the story. It’s ridiculous, why he’s expelled. It’s probably going to set some sort of precedent. We’re trying to do things the gentleman’s way, so we’re keeping things close-knit. But you guys will get a story.”
Despite earning the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth since 1962, the Yale men’s basketball team has recently come under fire from the student body for its public displays of support for Montague, which began at a Feb. 26 game against Harvard. That night, the team took the court wearing customized warm-up T-shirts emblazoned with Montague’s nickname and jersey number on the back. The front bore the word “Yale,” spelled backwards and inverted.
The shirts have since caused controversy, with multiple waves of anonymous posters appearing on campus featuring photos of the team wearing the T-shirts. The posters called on the players to “Stop supporting a rapist.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the team released its first statement regarding the T-shirts. The statement, sent by Associate Director of Yale Sports Publicity Tim Bennett, contained an apology for any hurt the team’s public support had caused.
The team reaffirmed its commitment to a “healthy, safe and respectful campus climate” for all students.
“Our recent actions to show our support for one of our former teammates were not intended to suggest otherwise, but we understand that to many students they did,” the statement read. “As student representatives of Yale, we hope to use our positions on and off the court in a way that can make everyone proud.”
The team added that its members look forward to “learning and growing” from the incidents of the past weeks.
The statement came just two hours after United Against Sexual Assault at Yale and the Yale Black Women’s Coalition hosted a “chalk-in” on Cross Campus to show support for Yale’s survivors of sexual violence. The Yale Women’s Center helped sponsor the event.
USAY Co-director Helen Price ’18 told the News on Tuesday that the chalk-in was organized in response to current controversies surrounding the basketball team. But she emphasized that the event was meant to broaden the conversation, moving away from the specific incident with the team to a larger discussion about Yale’s overall sexual climate.
Following the basketball team’s statement, USAY released its own response, which acknowledged the team’s apology as a “step in the right direction” but called on the team to take “active and consistent steps to promote the healthy, safe and respectful campus climate mentioned in their statement.”
Title IX was signed into law in 1972.
Correction, March 10: A previous version of this article stated that the UWC chose not to hear Montague’s appeal; in fact, when the respondent is a student, the provost decides whether to grant an appeal.