A review of Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter by DKE’s national organization “found no evidence of a culture of sexual hostility or sexual harassment.”The organization appears not to have interviewed any women during its investigation.
The News on Tuesday obtained the DKE International Fraternity’s “Review for Hostile Sexual Environment,” which the organization has declined to release publicly, though it has delivered a copy to Yale’s administration. The report — dated Feb. 19 — includes input from the Yale chapter’s all-male membership and one male Yale administrator, Associate Vice President of Student Life Burgwell Howard. But it does not mention any interviews conducted by the national organization with female students or administrators.
The Yale chapter requested the review from the national organization in early January 2018 after Business Insider asked the fraternity to respond to allegations of sexual assault by two members, including the organization’s former president, Luke Persichetti, whom Yale suspended until the end of the spring 2018 semester for “penetration without consent.” The Yale chapter did not hold social activities during the national organization’s investigation. Last month, when the investigation concluded, the national organization gave DKE the green light to resume those activities.
In order to determine whether a “culture of sexual harassment or repression” exists in Yale’s DKE chapter, the report says, Chairman of the DKE Judicial Committee William Roberts and Executive Director of DKE Doug Lanpher “asked each member if he could recall any acts of aggression or harassment of any female at any time in the houses by DKE brothers.”
“None of the brothers recalled seeing or knowing about any instances of physical or verbal abuse or unwanted contact of a sexual nature by DKE brothers. All of the brothers indicated that they felt the atmosphere in the chapter was such that they could correct another brother who was engaged in any bad conduct,” the report states. “We did identify a number of relatively minor concerns during our investigation. However none of these issues or concerns impact the core issue of sexual hostility or sexual harassment.”
Nicholas Hardy ’18, the president of DKE’s Yale chapter, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
Asked why the national organization did not include input from female students or administrators in the report, Lanpher did not respond directly. Instead, he commended a working group in the Yale chapter — formed in November to discuss how to make DKE safer and more welcoming — for meeting with “women’s groups on campus and with various administrators.” A section of the report describes the working group’s outreach efforts, including its discussions with sororities and “women’s groups.”
Those meetings ultimately prompted the Yale chapter to institute a series of reforms to its parties earlier this semester, including introducing sober monitors and improving water access.
“We conducted an extremely thorough investigation in which the chapter members were very open and honest with us,” Lanpher said. “We are very confident that our investigation achieved its goal, which was to determine if a hostile sexual atmosphere exists within the Yale Chapter.”
But advocates for victims’ rights interviewed by the News said they were shocked that the national organization appears not to have interviewed any women for its investigation into the Yale chapter’s sexual climate.
“To not speak to any women for such a report is a mind-blowing error of judgment on the part of DKE nationals,” said Helen Price ’18, co-founder of Unite Against Sexual Assault at Yale. “I’m genuinely astonished. If they didn’t seek the input of any women when compiling a report on whether DKE is hostile to women, then the report is utterly meaningless.”
In response to a question about the “minor concerns” about Yale’s DKE chapter noted in the report, Lanpher referred the News to a series of bullet points in the document stating that new members will be required to complete online training to prevent sexual assault, hazing and alcohol abuse, and that the Yale chapter will appoint a vice president for risk management, among other recommendations.
In addition to material from in-person interviews conducted in Bass Library, the report includes the results of an anonymous digital survey sent to all members of the Yale chapter in order to “determine the chapter’s perception of and response to allegations which surfaced in the media.” On the survey, 88 percent of DKE brothers rated the hostility of the fraternity’s sexual environment as either a one, two or three on a scale of one to 10, with one indicating “no hostility” and 10 indicating “very hostile.”
Asked “how would the women answer the same question,” 64 percent of DKE brothers said women would rate the fraternity between one and four, while 36 percent said women would provide a rating between five and seven. The report does not include a breakdown of the specific numerical ratings provided by individual members.
Sixty-six percent of the brothers who responded to the survey said they agreed that “DKE provides a safe environment for women at all times,” while 20 percent said they were “neutral” on the issue. The report provides only those two percentages, leaving it unclear whether any members disagreed. According to the report, 92 percent of DKE brothers either agreed or strongly agreed that sexual hostility is not tolerated in the fraternity, with 8 percent remaining neutral. And 92 percent of brothers said they disagreed or strongly disagreed that the culture of DKE “permits/encourages” men to act in a way that makes women feel threatened.
“There are a lot of large males in the fraternity and sometimes women might feel intimidated by that although if they talked to one of them they would realize they are friendly,” one DKE brother said in an anonymous comments section included with the survey.
Every DKE brother who responded to the anonymous survey said it is “totally acceptable” in the chapter’s culture to engage in bystander intervention, according to the report. In anonymous comments, multiple members said they have seen DKE brothers intervene in dangerous or sexually uncomfortable situations.
Ninety-six percent of the brothers said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the “general impression” left by media coverage of the fraternity’s sexual climate.
Last month, Lanpher declined to share the national organization’s report with the News, saying he would provide the results only to the Yale administration in order to support the University’s ongoing review of the culture of social groups on campus. On Feb. 22, Yale announced that Deputy Title IX Coordinator Jason Killheffer would investigate “recent concerns” about a “hostile sexual environment” in DKE and other student groups. Killheffer has said he cannot share with the News details he learns during the investigation.
Yale College Dean Marvin Chun told the News on Tuesday night that it would be “premature” for him to comment on DKE’s report and later added that he cannot answer any questions about the report because he received it as a “confidential and privileged document.” Howard — whom the report describes as an “ally” of both the Yale chapter and of Lanpher — did not respond to request for comment.
One of the women who has accused a member of DKE of sexual misconduct told the News that the national organization’s apparent decision not to interview any women indicates a “deep-rooted fear or certainty that should they reach out to women, they’d find the report much more unsettling.”
The report is dated Feb. 19, one day before the News published an investigation detailing allegations of sexual misconduct against DKE by eight women, as well as the accounts of 30 Communication and Consent Educators, first-year counselors and sorority members who said the problem of sexual misconduct at the fraternity goes beyond a few “bad apples” and reflects a wider institutional problem.
Britton O’Daly | firstname.lastname@example.org