“Yale Sluts”: Harassment

February 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?

By:   |   February 22, 2008

1 Comment

  1. Mary says:

    I just read an article about a new sexual harassment awareness course offered online at the University at Buffalo: http://www.buffalo.edu/reporter/vol39/vol39n22/articles/SexHarassmentCourse.html
    Here is an excerpt from the article:

    Barbara Burke, interim director of EDAAA, notes that the online program that is available at UB also is in use at more than 200 universities, corporations and government agencies.

    “In keeping with the trend toward online, self-paced learning, this program is a convenient easy-to-use educational tool for faculty, staff and students,” Burke says. “It provides a proactive approach to sexual-harassment prevention by clearly defining our mutual rights and responsibilities in the context of federal and state laws, and university policy. We hope all members of the campus community will take the opportunity to become better informed on this important subject.”

    The online sexual harassment awareness training program provides information ranging from definitions of sexual harassment and instructions on how to file a complaint to university policies and federal laws concerning sexual harassment.

    And the link for the course: https://secure.newmedialearning.com/psh/ubuffalo/

    I wonder what impact the course has had on campuses. If it’s a positive one, maybe that is something universities like Yale can consider implementing as well.

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