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

Sylvan Lake Council reallocates over $1 million for intersection upgrades

The intersection at Erickson Drive and Hwy 20 will see improvements this construction season

Adopted woman discovers biological roots in Sylvan Lake

Corinne Mielnichuk, 53, discovered her biological relatives settled in Sylvan Lake in the 1800s

Murder charges laid in incident near Rimbey

Rimbey RCMP working with crime unit

Sylvan Lake has a full day of fun slated to celebrate Canada

Canada Day events begin at 10 a.m. and run until 11 p.m. on July 1

Glass recycling to make a return in Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake has entered an agreement with a company in B.C. to collect glass items

VIDEO: Stop-motion artist recreates Kawhi Leonard’s famous buzzer-beater

It took Jared Jacobs about 40 hours to make the video, on top of the research

Lower youth minimum wage won’t apply at this year’s Calgary Stampede

A new minimum wage of $13/hr is now in effect for Alberta workers aged 13 to 17

Local cowboys take the Stampede lead on opening night

Bareback, team roping has Ponoka sitting pretty in race to the finals

Rock slide in B.C. river may hinder salmon passage

DFO says it is aware that the slide occurred in a narrow portion of the Fraser River

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

Accused mother cries at Alberta trial over boy who died of meningitis

Parents charged with failing to provide necessaries of life for their son who died in 2012

Ponoka County receives update from energy lobby group

CAPP hopes to work with municipalities on property tax issues

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Most Read