A PhD student at Yale has called out the university’s administration for the lack of true accountability in the DKE case.
The only aim these “disciplinary” measures have achieved is to inculcate into the fraternity members’ lives the tools its members know they need to navigate through and around accountability. I sincerely believe that DKE knew exactly what they were doing, and the only thing we have achieved in calling for their accountability and for “dialogue” is to further their patriarchal project by teaching them first-hand how to get around accountability. This is how patriarchy perpetuates itself; it is how it functions at the most basic level. If these are our future leaders, what better way to “haze” and hail these young men into patriarchy than to force them to deal, first-hand, with the ways our culture requires only half-measures and shallow, conciliatory shows of contrition that do absolutely nothing except strengthen their understanding and ability to use the rhetoric of accountability that so often passes as “discipline”? In other words, I fundamentally and absolutely believe that DKE knew it would be held “accountable” for its actions, and that these young men knew and know that “getting away with it,” as they say, is part of learning how to be a successful member of the patriarchy. Witness, for example, the ridiculously transparent public apology on behalf of the entire fraternity that has been allowed to stand in for individual apologies by those actually involved.The Deans have done nothing except give these boys a firm lesson in how to appear apologetic without doing a single thing to actually stop or reassess the ways larger systems of abuse, violence, misogyny, and patriarchy function in our society. While it is true that we do not know the exact extent of their “punishment” given confidentiality clauses in Yale’s policies, I am confident that I speak for many when I express skepticism that the disciplinary actions taken are appropriate to the egregious behavior of these boys.
I have no doubt that my thoughts about this will be met with claims that I’m hatching some kind of conspiracy theory or that I’m being unduly “accusatory.” Yes, I am. I am accusing these young men of constructing a ritual rite-of-passage that interpellates them into patriarchy by strengthening their “bonds of brotherhood,” and that it amounts to little more than another “boys club” of privilege and power. Indeed, I am a 31 year old woman, with a son who will turn 11 in a month. Most of the young men of DKE are closer to my son’s age than mine, and perhaps that accounts in part for my visceral reaction to their chants. I fear that I still live in a world where a “boys will be boys” attitude prevails. But I cannot let my personal convictions overshadow the fact that my visceral response goes far deeper than that—that I personally find “no means yes, yes means anal” threatening and intimidating. How much worse for the students forced to live in close proximity with these young men? What about the young men who find this threatening and intimidating as well, and who cannot speak out about it for fear of retaliation against them?
Read the whole response on the newly created blog, Ivory Outrage.