Yale University administrators have the power to make a strong statement discouraging sexual misconduct, but thus far, they have chosen not to do so.
- Peter Salovey, President of Yale University
It is difficult to fully comprehend the deep emotional and physical trauma wrought by sexual violence, nonconsensual sex, and sexual misconduct But it is clear how profoundly this behavior impacts Yale’s student body at large. It disrupts the sense of trust and community on campus—and that’s only made worse when victims see perpetrators of sexual assault given little more than a written reprimand, despite the gravity of their misdeeds.
Students and administrators have long recognized that sexual misconduct is all too prevalent on Yale’s campus. Of course, the problem doesn’t apply to Yale alone. Across America, one in four women will be raped by the time she graduates college. But Yale, a campus fierce in its commitment to ethics and community, can begin to fight this trend. University administrators have the power to make a strong statement discouraging sexual misconduct-- but thus far, they have chosen not to do so.
This week, Yale’s Title IX Coordinator Stephanie Spangler released the semi-annual Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct. The report revealed that Yale students charged with sexual violence, nonconsensual sex, and other cases of sexual misconduct have been permitted to graduate or continue their studies on campus with few consequences. A student charged with sexual assault was given a written reprimand and encouraged to seek counseling. Another student charged with nonconsensual sexual acts was also permitted to continue studies without interruption, given a written reprimand and required to attend gender sensitivity training.
If the administration continues to demonstrate such lax attitudes toward sexual misconduct, how can students be expected to take the issue seriously? It’s easy for victims of assault to understand the grave implications of sexual misconduct, but those with no personal experience in the issue take their cues from authorities. Once the UWC demonstrates less tolerance toward misconduct, so too will the student body.
We, the undersigned, call on administrators to consider the preferred disciplinary sanction for students responsible for sexual misconduct as suspension or expulsion. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense with long-lasting consequences for the victim, and the University must answer this matter with appropriate consequences for the perpetrator.
As long as Yale administrators tolerate sexual misconduct, victims will continue to suffer and so will the community at large. We call on the UWC to treat this matter with the gravity it deserves.
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