NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WJZ) – One of the United States’ top Ivy League universities is under fire. They are accused of turning a blind eye to sexual harassment.
Kai Jackson reports on the federal complaint against Yale and what it could mean for colleges across the country.
More than a dozen men and women say they are the victims of sexual assault and harassment at Yale. Accusations at a prestigious university are under a federal microscope. Female student at Yale say male fraternities have been seen in videos shouting “no means yes.”
Students like Hannah Zeavin claim her dream to attend Yale University has become a nightmare, filled with a culture that tolerated sexual harassment and abuse.
“Rape is a crime and it is happening on our campus. By the end of the semester I knew three women who had been raped in my freshmen class and I considered dropping out, because I was so scared, I was terrified,” said Zeavin.
She and 15 others–including six men–filed a federal complaint. It alleges lewd games and Facebook postings and even allegations of rape. At the heart of the complaint is the charge that Yale repeatedly turned a blind eye, depriving students of their right to an equal education under Title IX’s civil rights law.
“When there are no consequences that means that I am in class with men that I know have raped my friends,” said Zeavin.
Peggy Jablonsky has handled allegations of sexual abuse at top-tier universities, like Brown and MIT. She says the steps by federal officials to discourage abuse will force changes.
“I think all of us are going to have to review our campus procedures and protocols to make sure we are complying with federal and state laws that cover sexual assault and harassment,” said Peggy Jablonsky, University of New Haven.
Yale University will not comment on the complaint. They released a statement saying Yale does not and will not tolerate sexual harassment.
Zeavin says her ultimate goal isn’t to leave Yale, but reform it.
“We love it here. We just want equal access and for this really terrible thing to shift and to change,” said Zeavin.
Yale stands to lose its federal funding of about $500 million a year if this case is proven. More likely, Yale would enter into a consent decree with the Office of Civil Rights where they would have to improve their standard in responding to these incidents.