WTF Friday, 8/2/13

This week’s WTF Friday traveled to the blog via Metro-North from New Haven. Yale University has released its latest Sexual Misconduct Report, which manages to avoid using the terms “rape” or “sexual assault” one single time, even when discussing, well, rape.

You see, when such things happen in the rarified gardens of Yale, they’re not crimes, just “nonconsensual sex.” Observe:

“A YC student brought a formal complaint charging that a male YC student had nonconsensual sex with her.

Update: The UWC found sufficient evidence that the respondent engaged in certain conduct of a sexual nature that was nonconsensual. In addition, the UWC found that the respondent violated the Yale College Code of General Conduct. The respondent was given a two semester suspension, was placed on probation for the remainder of his time at the University, was restricted from contacting the complainant, and was encouraged to continue counseling for alcohol abuse, appropriate sexual behavior and the respectful treatment of others.”

Let’s break that statement down, shall we? The quoted text refers to a complaint by a female Yale student against a male Yale student. The “update” sets forth the resolution of the complaint.

Yale’s University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, or UWC (there’s something amazing about the fact that Yale didn’t even keep the “sexual misconduct” part when choosing an acronym for its committee on sexual misconduct) investigated the allegations, and found that the perpetrator had, in fact, assaulted the victim.

That sexual assault was a crime, and most likely a felony, but there’s no mention of that in the report. (It does, however, make a point of noting that the perpetrator violated the College Code of Conduct, which I think we can all agree is the real problem here.)

Isn’t the term “nonconsensual sex” amazing? The way that it somehow implies a gulf between a situation in which someone has sex with another person without consent, and a totally different situation in which that person commits a rape or sexual assault? Yale apparently thinks there’s a distinction between the two, because the most severe punishment it meted out to any of the perpetrators described in the report was a suspension.

What’s a person got to do to get expelled from Yale? Non-consensual cannibalism?

I don’t know if that counseling for “appropriate sexual behavior and the respectful treatment of others” is available to universities. But it sure seems like Yale could use it.

h/t Texasinafrica.

Amanda Taub


  1. Surely you see the difficulty of Yale using the term “rape”? As the other student has not been convicted of any crime related to the matter, the university has no option but to tread carefully. If the student had been convicted, the university could easily justify the term as well as harsher action, but as it is, all punishment is essentially enforced by agreement.

    At the risk of me being accused of blaming the victim and in full recognition of how rape cases are typically twisted to try to do just that, if the woman wanted him to be recognised as a rapist, she needed to have this established by the courts. Yale is unable to affix the rapist label, so their unwillingness to try is understandable. In fact, I’d be worried if they saw it otherwise – due process and all that…

  2. Outrageous, yet typical. When I reported a sexual assault (oh, I’m sorry, nonconsensual groping of my genitalia) by a co-worker to the fairly prominent environmental organization that we both worked for, he was found guilty and given a 30-day suspension. I was expected to then return to working with him. Sigh. I appealed, and he did end up getting fired eventually. They were probably afraid of a lawsuit.

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