- Three Yale University students sued several fraternities and the school after allegedly getting groped at the all-male groups’ parties.
- The women demanded that fraternities admit women to help make the environment better.
- Some questioned the proposed solution of making fraternities co-ed and whether the demands would hold up.
Three Yale University students demanded that women be admitted into fraternities to help fix the “toxic sexual culture” after alleging they were sexually assaulted at the all-male groups’ parties in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
Anna McNeil, Ellie Singer, and Ry Walker sued Yale and nine of its fraternities Tuesday in a Connecticut federal court, alleging they experienced groping at the parties. The women demanded co-ed “sober monitors” for off-campus fraternity parties, paid bouncers to control crowds and fraternities to start admitting women, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
“Yale is a microcosm of the ongoing epidemic of sexual harassment and assault at all-male fraternities,” the lawsuit said. “Many Yale students now accept and assume that female undergraduates risk sexual harassment and assault by attending fraternity parties.”
Walker added that all-male fraternities held more benefits and power than sororities. (RELATED: Harvard Moves To Dismiss Legal Challenges To Single-Gender Social Group Restrictions)
“It’s not only breeding a very toxic sexual culture but also is giving undue economic and professional benefits to the male fraternity members,” Walker said.
Some have questioned the women’s line of logic for making fraternities co-ed or whether the demands would even hold up.
“If I am someone who goes into a party at the only place available for me to socialize, which is a fraternity, and I am being groped and sexually assaulted and in an environment that I think is unsafe, why do I want to join the fraternity?” CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said. “Why don’t I want the fraternity banned?”
Safety Advisers for Educational Campuses President Daniel Carter said the proposed solution was “unusual,” according to Inside Higher Ed.
“When I’ve worked on cases like this, developing a better structure for the university to have oversight of fraternities was the remedy pursued,” Carter said, Inside Higher Ed reported.
Singer believed integrating women would improve fraternity culture because women could hold leadership roles and accountability would go beyond “just men,” according to the Yale Daily News.
Association of Title IX Administrators President Brett Sokolow said to The Daily Caller News Foundation over email that Yale would ultimately have to decide how to manage the fraternities and their corresponding events, but the claims in the suit were weak.
“The lawsuit’s federal claims don’t seem to have legs to me, as both Title IX and FHA [Fair Housing Act] have exceptions that would cover fraternities,” Sokolow said to TheDCNF. “It’s not a bad idea to integrate these organizations, but they’d have to be willing first, and disaffiliated from their nationals, second.”
Yale spokesman Thomas Conroy did not have a comment for TheDCNF, but provided a January statement from the college’s dean Marvin Chun. The statement addressed accusations of another fraternity that allegedly “disregarded standards of conduct, with poor crowd control, unregulated access to alcohol, and behavior such as ogling.”
“I condemn the culture described in these accounts; it runs counter to our community’s values of making everyone feel welcome, respected and safe,” Chun said in the statement. “I also offer some plain advice about events like these: don’t go to them.”
The three women are part of Engender, a campus advocacy group that has tried to get Yale fraternities to integrate women and non-binary students since Fall 2016, the Yale Daily News reported.
“A suit like this, with such a wide list of defendants and an attempt to certify a class action, is largely intended to garner publicity and shame the defendants with public pressure,” Sokolow said, Inside Higher Ed reported.
The fraternities’ lawyer Joan Gilbride said the women’s allegations were baseless.
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