Women Sue Yale Over a Fraternity Culture They Say Enables Harassment

Posted by Pennie Papamichael.

They are claiming that they were groped at fraternity parties and are arguing the idea that “the school has fostered an environment where alcohol-fueled gatherings at off-campus fraternity houses dictate the undergraduate social scene” (Women Sue Yale Over a Fraternity Culture They Say Enables Harassment). The lawsuit claims that Yale does not sponsor many social events or gatherings, so people continue to go to these fraternity parties to socialize and meet other students. The lawsuit specifically states, “Male students routinely controlled the admission, alcohol, lighting, and music for many Yale social gatherings. This dynamic created dangerous environments in which sexual misconduct thrived” (UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT). Most colleges and universities have ignored the many cases that have come up in order to protect their reputation, however, it seems as time has passed people are still continuously being sexually harassed and abused. The dean of the university responded by saying, “that Yale ‘plays no formal role in the organizations not affiliated with the university, including Greek organizations,’ the university was working on providing alternative social spaces and events on campus” (Women Sue Yale Over a Fraternity Culture They Say Enables Harassment). In the lawsuit these three women are fighting to have Yale and their fraternities tame their parties as well as forcing fraternities to allow women in and share all the benefits in the membership such as networks that can lead to jobs and internships.

The problem with this lawsuit is that “‘Yale often claims that the university cannot punish the fraternities because they are unregistered, off-campus organizations,’” (Women Sue Yale Over a Fraternity Culture They Say Enables Harassment). The women are fighting this by addressing the fact that the fraternities are “acting as extensions of Yale” because “Yale allows them to use the University’s name, email address, bulletin boards and campus facilities for recruitment” (Women Sue Yale Over a Fraternity Culture They Say Enables Harassment). The three women are Anna McNeil a junior, Eliana singer a sophomore, and Ry Walker 20. They all claim that they have been groped at fraternity parties in their first semesters. Furthermore, Ry Walker even explains that when she was about to go into the party, one of the fraternity members controlling who could go in, passed her over while white women could enter. Ry Walker stated, “We eat together, take classes together, exist in this coeducational place. But somehow because of the way Greek life operates on campus and the control they have over social spaces here, that means that on weekend nights, men are the only ones who have power” (Women Sue Yale Over a Fraternity Culture They Say Enables Harassment). Furthermore, the lawsuit also accuses the University of “violating Title IX of federal education law, which prohibits sex discrimination by institutions receiving federal funding, and breach of contract for not providing the educational environment it promised. It accuses the fraternities of violating the Fair Housing Act for offering housing only to men, and Yale and the fraternities of violating Connecticut’s law against discrimination in places of public accommodation” (Women Sue Yale Over a Fraternity Culture They Say Enables Harassment).

In my opinion, I believe that these three women have a lot of courage and resilience. They are trying to fight in order to make women feel safer on college campuses, which I believe is a great thing. However, I also believe that if these women feel unsafe during these fraternity parties their simple answer is to not attend. There are other ways to be included in social events which do not involve putting yourself in a dangerous situation. In my opinion, putting yourself at risk of danger is not worth a couple hours of “fun”. I agree that this is a serious situation that needs to be addressed, however I think that no matter how many lawsuits are filed for sexual harassment, it will never fully stop it, which is a terrible thing. People need to be able to make smart choices for themselves and understand the risks that they are putting themselves through at these fraternity parties.

Pennie is business undecided at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2022.

http:// https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/us/yale-fraternities.html