Yale Bans “No Means Yes” Fraternity For Five Years

Yale University has suspended the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity chapter for the incident last fall when its pledges paraded around campus chanting “No means yes! Yes means anal!” The fraternity will not be allowed to conduct any activities on campus for five years, including recruiting. It also has been banned from using the Yale bulletin board and e-mail, and severely limited from using the Yale name. Some individual fraternity members also received unspecified punishments.

But have the fraternity brothers really learned their lesson?

Doug Lanpher, interim executive director of DKE, told The New York Times in response to the ruling,

We’ve corrected the situation. … We suspended their pledging activities for six weeks so we could review their activities with them. Clearly the chanting was inappropriate and in poor taste, but does it warrant a five-year suspension?

Yes, it does. Cheering for rape doesn’t really create the safest campus environment. And this isn’t the first incident in recent years of Yale frat men showing their insensitivity and disrespect for women students:

  • 2006: Fraternity guys chanted similar phrases outside the campus Women’s Center.
  • 2008: Zeta Psi fraternity members posed for pictures outside of the same Women’s Center, carrying signs saying “We love Yale sluts.”
  • 2009: An e-mail entitled “pre-season scouting report” rated incoming freshman women based on how many drinks a man would need to consume in order to sleep with her.

This time, the university had harsh words for the offenders. Dr. Mary Miller, dean of Yale College (the undergraduate program), wrote a letter to students and faculty saying,

After a full hearing, the committee found that the DKE chapter, as an organization, one comprised of Yale students, had threatened and intimidated others, in violation of the Undergraduate Regulations of Yale College as they pertain to ‘harassment, coercion or intimidation’ and ‘imperiling the integrity and values of the university community.’

Dr. Miller asked the international DKE organization to also suspend the chapter for five years. That punishment is unlikely, however, because the fraternity believes the university’s punishment was excessive and has only put the chapter under probation. Using a curious choice of words (“impotent”?), this is how DKE defends itself:

While the events were insulting, in poor taste and amounted to a rather impotent and puerile show, ΔKE firmly disputes this to be a legally actionable case of sexual harassment.

Yale’s action against the fraternity came several weeks after the college revealed it was under investigation for a possible Title IX sex discrimination violation. A complaint by 16 students and alumnae to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights accused the school of permitting a hostile sexual environment to exist on campus.

Photo by Flickr user Marc_Smith under license from Creative Commons 2.0

Sign here to petition DKE to suspend its Yale chapter.




  1. sandra phoenix says:

    Inciting violence, oh yeah, that’s what rape is, is illegal in and of itself, is it not?

    In addition, inciting violence against women also falls under criminal behavior as a hate crime against women.

    It’s time to file real and individual charges against anyone involved in this predatory behavior.


  2. Barring the DKE fraternity from recruiting any new members for 5 years is not overkill. It will help to get rid of the troublemakers who perpetuate the problem. When I was in college eons ago, I remember one fraternity that had numerous problems, one of which was the rape of a student attending a party back when I started attending. The school administration had to ban them from recruiting for a long time before allowing the fraternity to actively seek members, wthout any of the “old-timers” to cause trouble. Granted, not all the members were bad apples, but the groupthink that goes on does not encourage people to go against the system in place.

  3. The five year ban was hardly excessive. I completely agree with MSB…the only way to be sure that behavior is out of the organization is to prevent current members from continuing it.

    Clearly, there is a pattern of this sort of behavior within this specific fraternity. It seems they encourage young men to go out of their way to learn some very anti-woman behavior. College is supposed to be that final step into adulthood, where you learn how to be in the world and relate to other people. Yale, as a private institution, has the right to prevent such harmful socialization from happening on its campus.

    If you ask me, the Greek Council, Yale and the national DKE should absolutely stand by this decision, as it makes all three look bad in general. I’ve never been interested in Greek life, but I have many friends who have done the fraternity thing, and I’m sure they would agree that this does not help the image of frats as being a breeding ground for misogyny, alcoholism and other unacceptable behavior.

  4. Ultimately, the only defense they seem to have is ‘boys will be boys’. Why would an organization defend such actions when they should be building boys into men?

    (Ok, I think I’m finally done now. UGH.)

  5. I remember reading about this last fall and it just scares me. I’m a college student in transition, and though I probably won’t ever go to Yale, I can’t help but think about the implications of this. If students at one of the country’s most prestigious universities can do this and receive such a light punishment, what message does it send to every other college? This mentality that it’s okay to call names and chant about rape–and even the supposed lack of understanding about /why/ it’s offensive–has got to stop. It just has to.

  6. How wrong of them to do that! It is totally irresponsible of them and there should have been more done about it.

  7. I believe the statistic at this time was 1 out of ever 5/6 women will be raped while in college.
    BUt don’t forget that young men will also be assaulted. Schools are not known for wanting to prosecute.
    So, i’m sorry you want to have fun but your guidelines for safety are always travel in groups, don’t drink more than one beer / wine and don’t take drink you didn’t poor yourself.
    Always double date.
    Not always a for sure thing but it pays to be smart and paranoid.
    Take a self defense class.

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