Sororities Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi will send out surveys giving members a chance to “flag” the names of the people whom they feel uncomfortable inviting to sorority events.
The new measures, designed to protect sorority members at parties, come in the wake of new allegations of sexual misconduct against two Delta Kappa Epsilon brothers — including former President Luke Persichetti — reported last month by the News and Business Insider. After learning of Business Insider’s intention to publish an article on sexual assault at DKE, the fraternity’s Yale chapter called on its national organization to investigate the chapter’s social culture. And on Monday, the fraternity released a working draft of recommendations for fostering a “safer and more welcoming environment” at its events. In the past week, representatives from Pi Phi and Theta have met with DKE members to suggest amendments and additions to the draft.
“We value the safety and comfort of our members above all else,” said Paige Vermeer ’19, chapter president for Yale Pi Phi. “We are taking active steps towards opening the conversation about sexual assault.”
DKE’s working draft of recommendations includes sober monitors at parties, coed bouncers and bartenders, easy access to drinking water and alcohol serving restrictions, among other suggestions. In a statement to the News last Monday, a DKE spokesman said that the fraternity is releasing a draft “in the interest of transparency,” to encourage “as many students and groups as possible to engage in helping [the fraternity] improve as an organization.” He did not directly comment on the flagging systems.
DKE members met with Pi Phi last week and with Theta on Monday to discuss the recommendations. In addition, fraternity members have also sought feedback from Communication and Consent Educators, the Women’s Center and United Against Sexual Assault Yale.
According to Vermeer, one of the main topics of discussion at the meeting between DKE and Pi Phi was the process of “flagging” DKE members who make sorority sisters uncomfortable at social events. Some Yale sororities already have flagging systems, under which those whom members of the sorority flag are barred from events hosted by the sorority. Members of Pi Phi suggested that DKE allow students anonymously to flag members of their fraternity before DKE events, Vermeer said.
Before every event Theta hosts, the sorority sends out a survey that asks its members to provide names of people whom they would feel uncomfortable seeing there. The list is available only to Theta members and is used only for private Theta events, said Miranda Duster ’19, the sorority’s chapter president.
According to Duster, Theta members at the meeting discussed how multiple factors — including race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status — come into play when considering the safety of social spaces.
“There is a general sentiment of disappointment regarding sexual safety on college campuses … and Theta is working to improve the safety of its members and all Yale students,” Duster said.
According to Alpha Phi’s chapter President Mary Fletcher, APhi is planning to meet with DKE members to discuss the draft of recommendations next week.
“We are glad they refer to it as a ‘working draft’,” Fletcher wrote in an email to the News. APhi representatives will gather input from their members before meeting with DKE and offering suggestions, Fletcher said.
Like Theta and Pi Phi, APhi asks its members to identify people who they feel uncomfortable inviting to events. This flagging process is necessary because the sorority will not interact with a person whom a member feels uncomfortable with, Fletcher added.
A spokesman for DKE told the News that the fraternity was grateful to every student group that met with them to offer feedback, but he declined to comment on the possibility of flagging DKE members or other specifics of the meeting, saying he did not want to breach “any confidences with the groups that were kind enough to meet with [the fraternity].” The spokesman added that DKE will be “incorporating many of these groups’ ideas and comments” into its final list of changes.
In addition to meeting with DKE members, sororities will host discussions on sexual assault and enforce a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct in an effort to foster a safer environment for their members.
“Kappa Alpha Theta is committed to holding all fraternities to a high standard,” Duster said. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct or lack of safety for all and any members of the Yale community who engage in these social spaces, along with the sisters in our organization.”
In conjunction with the CCEs, Pi Phi will host a chapterwide meeting Thursday night to discuss the process of the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct and ways to help sexual assault victims.
While Kappa Kappa Gamma, another sorority at Yale, told the News that it believes “any instance of violence or abuse is intolerable,” it declined to comment about sexual assault allegations against DKE members, as it is a “private organization and [the allegations are] unrelated to [the sorority’s] membership.”
Serena Cho | firstname.lastname@example.org
Clarification, Feb. 2: This story has been updated to include comments from the Alpha Phi sorority.