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

Students sue to open Yale fraternities to women

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Randy Bell. File photo.
Former Smithers council candidate arrested for refusing to wear mask

Randy Bell handcuffed and given a warning at Bulkley Valley Credit Union

Salvation Army Christmas kettle campaign. File photo.
Kettle campaign delayed, kicks off Nov. 27

Salvation Army’s annual fundraiser to look different this year, thanks to COVID, tap option available

Cases have gone up in Northern Health in the past week, as they have all over B.C. (K-J Millar/Black Press Media)
Northern Health reports new highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

Nineteen cases were reported to Public Health last Tuesday (Nov. 17)

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

(Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared Thursday.
COVID-19 outbreak at LNG Canada Project site

14 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at this time

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read