Ken Yanagisawa

Yale received a record number of complaints of sexual misconduct between Jan. 1 and June 30 this year, according to the University’s report from the Office of the Provost.

Over the six-month period, students submitted 154 complaints to the University’s Title IX Office, a roughly 20 percent increase from the 124 complaints in the previous reporting period. Students and administrators attributed the uptick to the #MeToo phenomenon, as well as growing awareness of Yale’s resources for handling sexual misconduct.

University Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Provost Stephanie Spangler released the report in a University-wide email on Tuesday. Published semi-annually by the Office of the Provost since January 2012, the report includes statistical and descriptive summaries of the complaints, which are classified by complainant and respondent affiliation, gender configuration and the venue through which the complaint was addressed.

“Yale University is committed to creating and sustaining a community of inclusion and respect—where all members feel safe and supported as they pursue their academic, professional, and personal aspirations,” Spangler wrote in the report’s introduction. “The intention of the semi-annual reports, which have been published since January of 2012, is to provide the community with insight into Yale’s procedures and resources to address complaints of sexual misconduct and to engage the community in efforts to enhance and expand our response and prevention programs.”

Of the 154 complaints, 65 fell under the category of sexual assault and 63 under sexual harassment. The remaining 26 constituted intimate partner violence, stalking or “other” activities. Female students submitted 138 of the 154 complaints. Male students lodged sevenand students of “other gender identity” or unknown gender submitted the final nine. In addition, 129 complaints were made to the office of the Title IX coordinator, 15 to the Yale Police Department and 10 to the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct. Complaints filed to more than one of these departments were counted only once and were listed under the department that primarily addressed the complaint.

According to the Association of American Universities Sexual Climate survey conducted in 2015, 16.1 percent of Yalies had been victims of an attempted or completed sexual assault since arriving on campus. With multiple administrators expressing “dismay” and “distress” at the prevalence of sexual assault, the report also revealed that many students faced barriers to reporting.

In the introduction to the most recent report, Spangler attributed the sustained increase in the number of complaints to “a growing awareness of the ways in which Yale’s resources can be helpful in addressing instances of sexual misconduct.” In particular, in a statement to the News, Spangler said the student Title IX advisory boards have been “extremely active and valuable partners” in developing programs to prevent and address sexual misconduct.

Meghanlata Gupta ’20, a member of the undergraduate Title IX Student Advisory Board, said the board met multiple times last semester to discuss ways to make Yale’s resources more accessible. For example, it brainstormed ways to make the LiveSafe – a mobile application for communicating with Yale Police – more user-friendly, Gupta said.

While Gupta said she agreed with Spangler’s analysis of the increase in the number of complaints, she noted that “the number of sexual assaults is rising everywhere” and emphasized the importance of “recognizing rape culture.”

Natalie Schultz-Henry ’20 — a co-director of communications for Engender, a campus group pushing to make fraternities co-ed — said Spangler’s explanation was “reasonable,” but had a “positive spin on a complex situation.” For example, while the #MeToo movement has encouraged individuals to report their experiences with sexual misconduct, “this encouragement can be attributed more towards collective frustration and solidarity rather than trust in their employers to handle the complaints properly,” Schultz-Henry explained.

Schultz-Henry added that recent revelations of sexual misconduct at fraternities may have encouraged more students to report their cases.

“We’ve seen more coverage of fraternity-related sexual misconduct,” Schultz-Henry said. “When you see someone bravely reporting an experience of theirs similar to your own, you’re more likely to speak out about yours.”

This year, the Title IX office will gather more information about reporting patterns, community awareness and the overall prevalence of sexual misconduct for the second AAU Campus Sexual Climate Survey in spring 2019.

Serena Cho | serena.cho@yale.edu

  • sy

    Under Yale’s secret tribunals, gag rule, investigate-bedrooms-at-2a.m., and 154 complaints per semester, merely a businesslike relationship with other students and Yale administrators must be unpleasant, unless Yale is paying you for it. How many students, male and female, pay $280,000+ for this college experience in New Haven and no place to get away from it?

  • ShadrachSmith

    Could you provide a list of advisers/courses giving merit badges for filing a complaint?

  • sy

    Yale’s secret tribunals, gag rule, investigate-bedrooms-at-2a.m., and 154 complaints per semester must make even a businesslike relationship with Yale students and
    administrators unpleasant unless Yale is paying you for it. Is this a reason that about 25% of juniors and 40% of seniors live off campus, and 50% of seniors did not contribute to the senior gift?

  • 30thStreet

    Stop reusing the “enough alcohol to call it rape” photo. It’s a classic, but it’s 4 years old. Go take a new one. You live on campus.

  • J Young

    So approx 145 young men (and that’s just Yale) are sexual predators who deserve to have everything they’ve worked for upended. Or perhaps (note sarcasm) most of these cases are for a complex myriad of reasons and are due some proportionality, not devastation!

    Who is teaching these young women that awkward relationships, inebriated encounters, unpleasant breakups, sexual inexperience, miscommunications, hook ups and one night stands, clumsy advances, regret and so on is strictly the fault of young men? Teaching a young woman victimness without personal responsibility does not serve anyone well in the long term. Nor does it help true victims of sexual assault.

    Proportionality. Perspective on what truly is assault and misconduct. Due process. Personal responsibility for all.

  • Nancy Morris

    The New York Times reports today that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is preparing new policies on campus sexual misconduct that would bolster the rights of students accused of assault, harassment or rape, reduce liability for institutions of higher education and encourage schools to provide more support for victims.

    The proposed rules, obtained by The New York Times, narrow the definition of sexual harassment, holding schools accountable only for formal complaints filed through proper authorities and for conduct said to have occurred on their campuses. They would also establish a higher legal standard to determine whether schools improperly addressed complaints.

    The new rules would come at a particularly sensitive time, as major institutions such as Ohio State University, the University of Southern California and Michigan State University deal with explosive charges that members of their faculty and staff have perpetrated serious sexual misconduct. But for several years, higher education administrators have maintained that sexual misconduct rules pressed by the Obama administration unnecessarily burdened them with bureaucratic mandates that had little to do with assault or harassment, and men’s rights groups have said the accused have had little recourse.

    Unlike the Obama administration’s guidance documents, the Trump administration’s new rules will have the force of law and can go into force without an act of Congress, after a public comment period.

    The most protested part of the Obama administration guidance was the mandate that schools use the preponderance-of-evidence standard, the lower standard of the two, in determining whether those accused should be disciplined or expelled. The Trump administration rules propose that a school’s choice of evidentiary standard must apply to any investigation of civil rights violations.

    The rules also maintain Ms. DeVos’s year-old policy of using mediation to reach informal resolutions, and would add the ability for victims and their accused perpetrators to request evidence from each other and to cross-examine each other. The rules also allow the complainant and the accused to have access to any evidence obtained during the investigation, even if there are no plans to use it to prove the conduct occurred.

    • sy

      If the NYT is accurate, all of Yale’s expulsions and suspensions in the federal lawsuits are illegal. Those cases are off-campus/apartment bedroom sex, usually around 2 a.m., tried in gagged, secret tribunals without cross-examination or any other due process found in municipal traffic ticket hearings. This would throw out, along with almost all others, the Montague expulsion 15 months after a woman undressed four nights off-campus, the DKE president’s three-semester suspension for off-campus apartment bedroom sex, and Daniel Tenreiro-Braschi’s two-semester suspension for touching two women on a private, chartered bus to the Harvard game in Massachusetts.

      Yale either will have to get out of bedrooms and change its rigged, secret process, or close probably three residential colleges after at least half of juniors and seniors move off campus to escape the kangaroos and Spangler’s/Yale’s 2 a.m. Title IX bedroom inspectors.

      The secret tribunals have no precedent in American history. Yale has promoted them and their destruction and dishonor for six years. They were going to end unless the leftist state was able to turn the entire nation into a secret rape tribunal. When will Yale admit and fix the mistakes, and clean out the administration starting with the president, provost, asst. provost, dean and Title IX commissars?

  • debbie

    …and I thought Yale was a place that sifted through the applicant pool to find the best, the brightest, the most capable young adults in the world. One would hope students that earned admission to one of the most prestigious institutions in the world would be capable of going to the correct authorities when an assault has occurred. To not do so is a sign of rejection of empowerment and a cooperation in the culture of evading responsibility. We have laws that give equal protection to all. When an assault occurs, the victim can, and absolutely should, go to the police.

    In the 60’s fierce women sought to liberate themselves from the paternalistic rules and regulation that governed women’s dormitory policies. They fought for the same freedoms men enjoyed to engage in risky behavior and reject taboos. Yale alum Camille Paglia invoked the right to even “risk rape,” when fighting for sexual equality, and, like it or not, the sexual revolution and women’s liberation movement prevailed. Women and men are now equally free to engage in exploring and pushing the lines of what is sexually acceptable and within the limits of the law.

    Fast forward a generation or two and we have young people who relish the risky behaviors but forget why they have this freedom. Because the freedom to choose also implies the freedom to risk. Risk assumption out of the equation, they want mommy and daddy dean to clean up the mess when they are not comfortable with how things turned out.

    Infantalizing college students by creating an administrative office to hear complaints of young adults who engage in mature adult activities is counter productive to the defense of victims of sex based crimes. Empowered women recognize their strength and the power of their femininity but do not shirk the responsibility that comes with using them. And responsible men are deliberate in action and treat women as equals.The collective bargaining power of the #metoo movement, believe the victim campaigns, and activist Title IX administrations suggest men are always to blame when women feel uncomfortable and degraded.

    Women can also degrade themselves, and some look to blame others when their conscience suggests that sex does have a price tag, one which often comes at the expense of dignity when the sex is casual and non-committal. There’s nothing ‘brave’ about reporting a bad experience, although there is bravado when a survivor of assault, harassment, or rape seeks justice through due process of the law. The university should be a place where young adults experience the full gamut of American values of intellect, liberty, and responsibility, not someplace where kids play grownups and babysitters administer punishments.

  • Lord Earl de Duke, Prince

    I expect the increased reporting might also be the result of a refinement of what constitutes sexual misconduct.