Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Patriarchy 102

Hey Everyone--

I just wanted to update this a wee bit. I received an email from the opinions editor at Yale Daily News last night. I was told that my piece was, indeed, too long for them to publish but that they "considered" it as they attempted to backpedal and recast themselves in a better light (okay, they only said that they considered it as they responded more in depth to the story. I made that second part up, but it seemed to amount to the same thing). Also, they mentioned that YDN was now "moving on" to other things. HA! That was seriously priceless.

I've seen a few responses from other grad students hovering out there in cyberland stating something to the effect that 1. we need to just let the right administrators deal with this and 2. that it doesn't matter anyway since we won't ever really know how these boys were reprimanded. However, I believe that this is actually NOT over yet, and that further disciplinary action might yet be taken in addition to whatever has already occurred, based on some recent comments by Melanie Boyd, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Lecturer, and Special Advisor to the Dean of Yale College on Gender Issues. It is difficult to speak of these things in any concrete way, since both federal and Yale policies require confidentiality. Early in this process Dean Mary Miller stated that while she understood that the aggrieved in this situation wanted to know what would happen to the DKE members and pledges, that the disciplinary process was not designed to make us feel better about things. Obviously I'm paraphrasing here. I knew that we didn't/wouldn't know the full extent of the disciplinary proceedings when I initially wrote this.

HOWEVER, my point, and the point that I hope is crystal clear here, is that this is an ongoing problem at Yale. The administration has failed to deal with it adequately in the past, hence it happening repeatedly. ALSO, my response to the "incident" was written with the belief that I might point out to the Deans involved some of the nuances of the situation that they might not have considered, and that my thoughts on the matter might be taken into consideration if and as they moved forward in the disciplinary process. I delivered a hard copy of my letter to Dean Mary Miller, Melanie Boyd, and the Dean of Graduate Students, Thomas Pollard, yesterday.

It remains to be seen how this will all play out, but I'm confident that there are enough of us here who are pissed off enough not to let it drop. That said, I am also dismayed by many of the responses to this that I've been hearing and seeing, particularly among the undergraduates. It seems like the professors, graduate students, and adults in my world agree with me for the most part, even if we differ in the particulars, and that overall we feel that what I wrote a few days ago is almost too obvious for comment. The sad part of course is that we have to comment in the first place.

I anticipate meeting soon with a few of the people involved in the "disciplining" of these students, not in any official capacity in any way, but vis-a-vis the usual graduate student channels of association. I'm hoping that this wakes us up enough (myself included) to start making active, progressive, concrete changes in our universities' policies regarding sexually threatening behavior like this. And I mean NOW, not later. By the time someone has been raped it is TOO LATE.

I'll be away for the next four days at a conference, so if I don't respond please know I'm checking in and just a little crazy busy right now!!! And thanks for reminding me that I'm not the lone feminist out there.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You are not a lone feminist out there. I, along with many others, are grateful for your work.

    Carla Fehr

  3. What Carla said! Many of us in higher education are grateful to hear from a woman at Yale, and rooting for you as you attempt to draw attention to the root problem, to a culture which was allowed to flourish to the detriment of women.

  4. i'm here, checking in! stupid conference... more by sunday. with updates!