Yale: Where Taking Rape Seriously Means Sending Perps Letters

Aug 05, 2013 • Causes, Crime

Rape University

Yale’s Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct covering the first six months of this year is in and the revelations are not just disheartening — they’re horrifying.

Out of 18 previously-reported cases, seven were found to have sufficient evidence to support the allegations being made. All seven were restricted from contacting the respective complainant. Ultimately, only one was found to be in violation of the Yale Code of Conduct. This student, who had committed “nonconsensual sex” with the complainant and been found guilty by the University-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) got a two semester suspension, put on probation for the rest of his time at Yale, forbidden from contacting the complainant, and encouraged to get counseling. That’s what happens when you rape at Yale. You get suspended and encouraged to get counseling.

One other perpetrator was suspended among the aforementioned seven previously reported cases that were found to have sufficient evidence in support of allegations and put on probation for the remainder of his time at Yale. One other student was put on probation. In total, four perpetrators got a written reprimand and received counseling on appropriate conduct. One received gender sensitivity training.

Of the two formal complaints made with the UWC, only one was found to have sufficient evidence to back up the claims: a case of a student who had recorded another student during sex without her consent. The perpetrator in this case got a written reprimand and was encouraged to seek counseling. The other complainant was told she couldn’t be assisted.

Of the seven informal complaints received by the UWC, two resulted in restricting the accused from having further contact with their respective complainants, three of the accused were made to apologize and five received counseling on “appropriate behavior.”

Of the 30 complaints received by the Yale Title IX Coordinator, ten resulted in counseling on “appropriate behavior,” six resulted in restricting the accused from further contact with the complainant, two resulted in apologies, three in firings, and one in reduced work. Of seven cases indicating a Yale faculty member had behaved inappropriately, three of the complaints were found insufficient in evidence. Of the nine cases brought against staff with Title IX, three were found lacking in evidence.

The Yale Police Department had 21 cases brought to its attention. Sixteen cases caused the Yale PD to refer complainants to safety and victim services, but only six of the accused were restricted from having any further contact with their respective complainants, only three arrests were made (two of these involved non-Yale students), only one staff member was fired and only one case was referred to New Haven police.

Stephanie S. Spangler, who put together the report, writes, “we are mindful that multiple reports and the national statistics indicate that significant underreporting of sexual misconduct persists on campuses across the country. The participants in our recent Campus Climate Assessment suggested a number of measures to increase the likelihood of reporting, and we are working to translate many of those suggestions into action.”

Uh, how about actually punishing rape and attempted rape? Of course that would require Yale to admit rape ever happened — so much nicer to call it “nonconsensual sex,” isn’t it? It almost sounds benign!

Change.org currently has a petition urging the Department of Education to hold universities accountable for failure to protect their students against sexual assault. Sign it to help make a difference.

Header image by Sarah Ackerman.