Yale University has been falling short in dealing with and preventing sexual harassment on campus, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights has found, after an investigation prompted by a 26-page complaint ended Friday with the announcement of a resolution agreement. The university under-reported cases of sexual harassment and assault by “dozens” of cases (OCR could not be more precise), had in place confusing and unclear procedures for reporting cases, and failed to inform students about the resources the university did have. But in a call with reporters Friday, assistant secretary for civil rights Russlyn Ali said the university already put in place corrective measures that will “ensure proper compliance” with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. “They showed a lot of courage really early on and made some proactive steps,” Ali said. The initial complaint, which alleged that Yale failed to eliminate a hostile campus environment of sexual discrimination, was filed by 16 students in March 2011, just before OCR issued a “dear colleague” letter to colleges across the country reminding them of their obligations to address sexual harassment under Title IX.
Yale came under intense scrutiny after a group of students from the fraternity Delta Kappa Epsilon, which has since been all but booted from campus, chanted “no means yes, yes means anal” outside the women's center during a pledge initiation in fall 2010.
Yale said in a statement that it was pleased with the terms of the agreement, which, among other things, requires the university to improve and publicize its resources, periodically assess the campus climate to evaluate its efforts, and coordinate compliance efforts. “The university is pleased that the Office of Civil Rights has closed its Title IX investigation without any finding of non-compliance by Yale. We are gratified that OCR has recognized Yale's extensive efforts and ongoing commitment to prevent and address sexual misconduct,” the statement said. “Over the past two years, the university has committed extensive resources toward improving its policies, procedures, practices and services to provide an environment in which all students feel safe and well supported, and protected from sexual misconduct.”