Three female Yale students have filed a lawsuit in federal court against Yale and nine of its fraternities, charging that they host an “ongoing epidemic of sexual harassment and assault” and breed “a very toxic sexual culture.” The remedy they seek? Ending gender discrimination so they can join.
According to their complaint,
Studies have found that fraternity brothers commit sexual assault at three times the rate of other male college students. Brothers are also reportedly more likely to use alcohol to obtain sex, more likely to be involved in gang rapes, more likely to endorse traditional gender roles, and more likely to espouse rape myths. Nevertheless, fraternities remain powerful institutions.
Of those, being “more likely to endorse traditional gender roles” may be the worst sin. Yale’s sororities are missing from this gender discrimination lawsuit, but the plaintiffs have little regard for them. According to their complaint,
“Separate but equal” Greek life reinforces gender norms, stereotypes, and prejudices. Sex segregation can hinder cross-gender relationships, facilitate the objectification of people of other genders, and normalize sexual assault. Greek life, with its binary assumptions, also largely excludes non-binary students.
Because Title IX specifically exempts fraternities and sororities, the plaintiffs are not likely to gain entry.