While Yale University’s “Sex Week” activities may seem like fun and games, sexual assault on campus is not.
Last year, a report of complaints of sexual misconduct and related remedial actions, which was produced by Deputy Provost Stephanie Spangler, indicated that Yale University campus grounds are far more dangerous than the surrounding high-crime areas of New Haven. Minding the Campus writer KC Johnson summarizes the most recent report, which the university agreed to produce every 6 months “under its Title IX settlement aimed at weakening due process rights against students accused of sexual assault”.
For the most part, the report paints a depressing picture of a campus indifferent to due process or even going through the motions of finding the truth on allegations of sexual misconduct. Perhaps the report’s most troubling finding–one wholly ignored by Spangler–centers on Yale’s upside-down approach to law enforcement. On matters relating to any type of sexual misconduct, the New Haven Police are basically avoided, the Yale Police Department tends to materialize on charges that fall toward the less serious end of the spectrum, and the most serious claims–sexual assault or “intimate partner violence”–are reserved for the Yale disciplinary process, where both due process protections for the accused and evidence-gathering capabilities for the prosecution are at their weakest. Finding the truth about sexual assault claims, it seems, is not a high priority.
‘Economic Abuse’ Is Intimate Partner Violence?
The “intimate partner violence” category is a new addition to the Yale lexicon; the framework did not appear in Spangler’s February 2012 report. The Yale website defines the allegation as “the actual or threatened physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or economic abuse of an individual by someone with whom they have or have had an intimate relationship. Often, that relationship is sexual, but not always–IPV can take place between roommates, for example.” That Yale is now conflating sexual assault–probably the most serious violent crime other than murder or attempted murder–with “threatened . . . economic abuse” of a roommate (what, exactly, is “economic abuse”?) shows just how far off the rails the Yale procedure has gone.
From the start of July through the end of December, the Yale Police Department was involved in eight cases, including one case referred to the YPD by the university’s Title IX coordinator. Seven of the cases involved contact between a Yale student or employee and someone outside of the Yale community; the eighth involved a current and a former student. Three of the cases (for harassing communications, stalking, and physical assault) resulted in arrests by the YPD. Only one of these YPD-related eight cases–in a complaint filed by someone outside of Yale against a male Yale staff member–involved a claim of sexual assault. The report indicates that “the YPD investigation is pending. In the meantime, the staff member’s employment was terminated.”
According to the report, then, not a single allegation of sexual assault in the last six months of 2012 made by a Yale undergraduate or graduate student was, or likely will be, investigated by any law enforcement authority; or will result in a trial in which the accused student has the right to counsel and to cross-examine his accuser.
Yale's Bizarre Sexual Misconduct Hearings - Short Takes (Minding the Campus)