U.S. News

Yale punishes fraternity for sexist chanting

Students walk on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, October 7, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

GREENFIELD, Massachusetts (Reuters) - Yale University has penalized a fraternity that counts former President George W. Bush among its members after complaints of sexual hostility toward women, including chanting about rape.

The Ivy League school, currently the subject of a federal investigation into sexual harassment, on Tuesday found Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity had “threatened and intimidated” others, said Mary Miller, Dean of Yale College.

The fraternity drew complaints after new members marched across the New Haven, Connecticut, campus in October chanting phrases about sex acts as part of their initiation.

Videos of the event -- including the chant “No Means Yes! Yes Means Anal!” were posted online and quickly prompted outrage on campus and beyond.

The “Dekes” were prohibited for five years from on-campus recruiting or other frat activities, communicating with Yale students and using Yale’s name in connection with the fraternity. Yale also asked the DKE national organization to suspend the chapter for five years.

Miller said she took the unusual step of making public an internal summary of disciplinary actions taken by the school’s executive committee in an effort to deliver a clear message that sexual harassment is not tolerated at Yale.

“It is my hope that this will not only shed some light on a matter of public concern but also provide notice of the outcomes to all those who may have been affected by sexual harassment and, accordingly, educate our community,” Miller said.

This spring, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights began investigating a complaint by 16 current and former students saying Yale breached the U.S. gender-equality law known as Title IX, by failing to stamp out sexual harassment on campus. The complaint cited the October incident.

“Greek life,” as fraternity membership is known, has long been a Yale tradition. Delta Kappa Epsilon was founded at the university in 1855.

Editing by Barbara Goldberg, Ros Krasny and Tim Gaynor