“Yale Sluts”: HarassmentFebruary 22, 2008
Recently, a photograph of Zeta Psi fraternity–affiliated students holding a sign outside the Yale University’s Women’s Center saying “We Love Yale Sluts” surfaced, causing the Women’s Center to threaten to sue for sexual harassment and defamation. Zeta Psi issued an apology and the Women’s Center submitted a list of demands to the school administration, including disciplinary action for those involved, changes to the sexual harassment education policies, and the establishment of an official relationship between the university and its fraternities. The fraternity leaders have suggested an interfraternity council. Currently the university officials are determining a course of action.
In its 2006 report Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment on Campus, AAUW found that a significant percentage of both female (62 percent) and male (61 percent) students encounter sexual harassment in their college lives. Yale’s sexual harassment policy does not explicitly address sexually charged jokes made by a group, such as Zeta Psi’s photograph, but 71 percent of women and 40 percent of men in AAUW’s study reported finding such jokes offensive. Making Yale’s policy more specific about what constitutes sexual harassment and having the university do more to educate the community about issues of sexual harassment can help improve the climate in and out of the classroom.
Discussions about the photograph in the blogosphere have centered on whether the photograph constitutes sexual harassment and what should or should not be done about it. What is your opinion on the incident and how it should be handled?