Students sue to open Yale fraternities to women

Students also say women are being shut out of social, economic benefits offered by all-male fraternities

Three women who attend Yale University sued the school and nine all-male fraternities Tuesday, seeking to force the social organizations to admit women in response to alleged sexual assault, harassment and discrimination.

The class-action lawsuit, filed in federal court in Connecticut, calls for a sweeping order banning fraternities from considering gender in admission decisions; fully integrating women in fraternity governance and alumni networks; and requiring Yale to prohibit student organizations — both on campus and off — from engaging in discrimination and harassment.

The three students also say women are being shut out of the social and economic benefits offered by all-male fraternities, including access to vast alumni networks that can help land coveted jobs. While there are sororities, their power and influence pales in comparison with fraternities, the lawsuit says.

“It’s not only breeding a very toxic sexual culture but also is giving undue economic and professional benefits to the male fraternity members,” said one of the plaintiffs, Ry Walker, a 20-year-old junior from New York City majoring in astrophysics and African-American studies.

A Yale spokesman, Tom Conroy, said he did not have a comment on the lawsuit. But he pointed to a message shared last month by Yale College Dean Marvin Chun who described a review of allegations of a sexually hostile climate at the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the school’s efforts to bring about more social opportunities for students on campus.

An attorney for the fraternities, Joan Gilbride, said the students’ accusations are baseless.

READ MORE: B.C. universities’ sexual assault policies look to avoid past mistakes

READ MORE: B.C. University fails to have sexual assault case thrown out

The other two plaintiffs are junior Anna McNeil and sophomore Eliana Singer. Their lawyers say they believe this is the first-ever lawsuit by students against a university seeking to “gender integrate” fraternities.

All three plaintiffs said they were denied membership to fraternities, were groped at fraternity parties and know other students who were sexually assaulted or harassed at frat parties.

The three students said they complained to Yale about sexual misconduct and discrimination by fraternities, but school officials offered them “no meaningful assistance or relief.”

“Yale is a microcosm of the ongoing epidemic of sexual harassment and assault at all-male fraternities,” the lawsuit says. “Many Yale students now accept and assume that female undergraduates risk sexual harassment and assault by attending fraternity parties.”

To help prevent sexual misconduct, the lawsuit asks a judge to order that co-ed “sober monitors” be appointed for each off-campus event and party to ensure safe levels of alcohol consumption and intervene to prevent sexual assault and harassment. The plaintiffs also want paid bouncers at every fraternity event and party for crowd control and nondiscriminatory event admission.

The defendants include the local and national chapters of fraternities including Alpha Delta Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Chi Psi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, the Leo fraternity, Sigma Chi Theta Upsilon, Sigma Nu, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Zeta Psi.

Dave Collins, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Parksville man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says city official

Parksville roundtable highlights need for affordable housing, recreation

Mayor Ed Mayne held facilitated event in January to hear visions for city, council

Second delivery of building units for 222 Corfield in Parksville arrives March 21

Vehicles should expect intermittent single-lane alternating traffic

Public input sought on proposed cannabis retail store in Coombs

Application to be reviewed by Regional District of Nanaimo

Two nature-inspired artists display oil paintings at Qualicum gallery

Judy Maxwell and Lloyd Major depict scenes of wildlife, landscapes and the west coast

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Police lock down part of Okanagan city after ‘live grenade’ discovered

An ordnance believed to be a grenade found on Smith Drive between Dairy Queen and Anchor Inn Pub

Dutch police question new suspect in deadly tram shooting

Police are looking for additional suspects in the shooting

Starbucks to test recyclable cups, redesign stores in B.C., U.S. cities

The company also said it plans to redesign its stores as it adapts to increasing mobile pick-up and delivery orders

In pre-election budget, Liberals boost infrastructure cash to cities, broadband

The budget document says the Liberals have approved more than 33,000 projects, worth about $19.9 billion in federal financing

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Vancouver Island cougar might have been shot with bow-and-arrow

Conservation officer service looking for animal near Port Alice

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

Most Read