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Yale University

Campus Context

  • Sexual assault gained attention on the campus when, in October 2010, male students pledging a fraternity repeated a sexually aggressive chant ("No means yes, yes means anal") outside Yale's Women's Center. The incident was recorded, posted to YouTube, and circulated among students.
  • Yale has a long history of activism against sexual violence. A lawsuit involving the university more than a decade ago helped establish that victims of rape could be considered subjects of discrimination under Title IX. And in the late 1970s, five female students sued Yale in one of the first sexual-harassment cases to use Title IX, arguing that a university should have procedures for students to file formal reports of misconduct.
  • The institution has affirmed its commitment to victims of sexual assault, collected resources online, formed a campuswide committee, updated its policies and procedures, conducted climate surveys, suspended the fraternity responsible for the chant, and regularly released reports of allegations of sexual misconduct.
  • In 2013, the Education Department hit Yale with one of the largest fines ever under the campus-crime-reporting law known as the Clery Act for failing to report forcible sex offenses on its campus more than a decade before.
  • In 2014, a Yale graduate who had been accused of sexual assault as a student spoke publicly about how a “well-intended policy can produce disastrous consequences if it remains detached from the most basic elements of fairness and due process that form the foundation of our legal system.”
  • In 2016, controversy erupted around the men's basketball team after its captain left the university, The New York Times reported, in connection with a sexual-misconduct investigation. Other players' gestures of support for the player, Jack Montague, angered students. The team later apologized in a statement for "the hurt we have caused" in visibly supporting Mr. Montague. He has sued Yale, alleging that his unfair expulsion "was Yale’s ticket to restoring its tarnished image."


Case 2
Opened:April 17, 2017 - Sept. 26, 2017

Docket: 01-15-2204

Case 1
Opened:April 1, 2011 - June 15, 2012

Docket: 01-11-2027

  • In March 2011, a group of 16 Yale students and alumni filed a federal Title IX complaint against the university, alleging that it had failed to eliminate a sexually hostile environment. In addition to a public chant by a fraternity ("No means yes, yes means anal") outside Yale's Women's Center, the complaint cited other incidents such as a “preseason scouting report” in which a group of male students ranked freshman women in order of how many beers it would take to have sex with them. The university, the students argued, had responded inadequately “to a long trend of public sexual harassment,” as well as to several individual reports of sexual harassment and assault.
  • The investigation has been resolved, with the Education Department not finding Yale in violation of Title IX, but criticizing some of its previous policies and saying that students had reported "a chain of incidents to which the university did not effectively respond." At the same time, federal officials praised the university for "proactively" introducing numerous new policies and procedures to try to achieve a safer, more supportive environment for students.
  • Under the settlement, Yale agreed, among other things, to continue to improve and publicize efforts to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and violence, implement its new grievance process, and train students and employees. It marked the first major settlement after the Education Department's letter to colleges in 2011 signaling stricter enforcement of Title IX, but the cooperative tone turned tougher in subsequent investigations.
  • One of the complainants, dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation, helped organize a rally at the Education Department in 2013 to demand tighter enforcement of Title IX, with stricter sanctions when institutions fail to support victims of sexual assault. "This pattern of letting schools off the hook is all too common," she said, joining hundreds of students and activists nationwide in a movement to force colleges to change how they handle reports of rape.