Yale Fraternity stoops to new low

Fraternity’s don’t have the best reputation on college campuses for upstanding behavior or respect of women, but this takes it to another level.

Begin­ning around 9:30 pm, mem­bers of the DKE fra­ter­nity marched with their pledges around Yale’s Old Cam­pus (the home of almost all of Yale’s fresh­man women) chant­ing slo­gans such as “No means yes, yes means anal” and “My name is Jack, I’m a necrophil­iac, I f— dead women, and fill them with my semen.”

Maturity at it’s best, no?

And what notable political figure is an alumnus of this upstanding fraternity? None other than our favorite former President George W. Bush.

I think a suitable response might be requiring each of these young men to read “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape.” They could obviously learn a thing or two that their Ivy League education seems to be lacking.

More about the incident at Yale and responses can be found here.

UPDATE: The fraternity brothers have issued an apology and are cooperating with the campus Women’s Center in a dialogue on sexual assault today. From their apology:

The brothers of DKE accept responsibility for what we did, and want to sincerely apologize to the Yale community. We were wrong. We were disrespectful, vulgar and inappropriate. More than that, we were insensitive of all women who have been victims of rape or sexual violence, especially those here at Yale. Rape is beyond serious – it is one of the worst things that any person can be subjected to. It is not a laughing matter, yet we joked about it.

The brothers of DKE were not out to hurt or target anyone, or to incite violence against women. And although we in no way condone rape, we realize that this kind of behavior exemplifies a casual attitude towards rape that sadly fosters an environment in which sexual harassment can be ignored or belittled.

Though our original statement sought mistakenly to defend the fraternity, we realize that many members of the Yale community are frustrated, appalled and offended by what was said. Many of you are angry with us. We understand why the Women’s Center called for campus-wide action immediately following the story of what transpired — something must be done to ensure that this behavior, whether intentional or in jest, is not simply brushed aside.

As apologies go, it’s an impressive one. I’m glad that the Women’s Center has been able to lead the response to this incident. But it’s still difficult to believe that these men didn’t understand what they’ve written above before they decided to initiate their new recruits this way, or while it was happening.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/rushaikh/ Ruwaida Shaikh

    Haha wow, I dont believe this. This is downright cheap and child-like behavior. These boys might believe its cool to remain in denial and overlook the fact that women are,in fact,human.

  • http://feministing.com/members/abbywankenobi/ abby_wan_kenobi

    It’s nice to see a member of the Greek community apologize so directly and so quickly. I really hope that they fulfill their commitment to the Women’s Center and that Yale does become a progressive model of a safe space for women.

    I do find one aspect of the apology to be a bit disingenuous though. They claim they didn’t intend to hurt anyone, but clearly they recognized that their chants were provocative and offensive. It is the only reason they would choose those words – to get a rise out of someone. I’d believe that they didn’t expect such a forceful backlash, and I hope they (and everyone who hears the story) learn that using sexual violence to get attention is never acceptable.

  • http://feministing.com/members/kaelin/ Matt

    Two things:

    I don’t think it’s really fair to invoke GWB here and hit him with a guilt-by-association. There are too many legitimate ways to take the guy down to settle for this shot.

    Whatever qualification process is used by such an “elite” institution is clearly not filtering people who exhibit this particular unacceptable behavior. Granted, college is supposed to serve as a learning experience where people will make mistakes, but to have such *organized conduct* is a bit much. But it is sort of fun to be able to look at a run-of-the-mill college or university and know that it has a level of dignity that an ivy league school like Yale can’t lay claim to.

  • http://feministing.com/members/feministheadbanger/ Ms Anthropia

    Wow, at this point I’m not even surprised. People wonder what this nebulous “rape culture” concept is – even when it’s so clearly demonstrated.

    Time will tell if this is another meaningless apology. At least it wasn’t the “sorry YOU’RE offended” type. It seems sincere, and actually picks up on the real issues and addresses them well. However, later they might just do it again and say, “Well, we SAID sorry!” Any press is good press, right?

  • http://feministing.com/members/dondo/ Don

    But it’s still difficult to believe that these men didn’t understand what they’ve written above before they decided to initiate their new recruits this way, or while it was happening.

    Not in any way to defend the behavior, but please remember that a fraternity is an institution made up of many people. The levels of awareness vary by member. Obviously the guy/s in charge of “pledge training” is/are a neanderthal, but there are others — presumably the real leadership — who are more enlightened.

    I’ve heard it said that the safest airline to fly on is the one that’s recently had a tragic accident; they can’t afford another, so their attention to maintenance goes way up. I hope the Yale Women’s Center puts a huge amount of pressure on these boys; their apology makes it sound like they’re ready to grow up a little.

    • http://feministing.com/members/kcar1/ kcar1

      What you permit, you promote… “real leadership” put this guy(s) in charge of pledges and did not (?) vet his plans or did and didn’t put a stop to it. This is not an isolated incident at Yale or more generally. It is a problem in fraternities and institutions of higher education in general.

  • http://feministing.com/members/athenia/ athenia

    I kinda want to send a bunch of “Yes means Yes” books to this frat and say, “Next time boys, I want you to march around campus chanting ‘Yes means Yes’ instead!”

  • http://feministing.com/members/kcar1/ Kathleen Carson

    An “impressive apology,” sorry, no. So it isn’t as bad as it could be but…

    Marching through campus where most female women saying that is not sexual harassment, is inciting violence against women, and is targeting that particular group of young women…

    And “what was said” … you said it, own up to it. Granted this was toward the end, but the first non-apology is offensive in its own right.

    I also wish Women’s Center wasn’t leading this. The school administration should be heading this response up and asking the WC for resources because this is not just a women’s issue. To me, this is a sign of the marginalization of the issue.

    At my institution we had some higher profile racists and homophobic incidents last year — the African American and LGBT groups were outraged but the administration and student development look the lead in both pursuing the appropriate disciplinary action and programming and year’s worth of awareness-raising activities. It was truly unfortunate that low-level activities were allowed to slide until there had to be a campus-wide response in my institution’s instance — and I suspect at Yale as well — but at least there was an pretty substantial official response (including suspension).

    • http://feministing.com/members/kcar1/ kcar1

      Sorry for all the typos… I will try that second paragraph again:

      Marching through campus where most female freshmen live while saying that is sexual harassment, is inciting violence against women, and is targeting that particular group of young women…

      To say otherwise it is to claim that you do not have the intelligence or social awareness necessary to function in an (elite) institution of higher education. To your point about how could they not understand what they were writing. They did, they just found greater enjoyment in having their pledges say it than they cared about the atmosphere this created.