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Yale to set up sexual misconduct committee following complaint

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Yale will launch a new committee on sexual misconduct amid a federal investigation
  • The school is accused of providing an insufficient Title IX grievance process
  • A complaint alleges that officials allowed a "sexually hostile environment"
  • The committee will begin work on July 1

(CNN) -- Yale University will launch a new committee on sexual misconduct following the initiation of a federal investigation prompted by a complaint over a series of sexually based allegations on the prestigious New Haven, Connecticut, campus.

The school is accused of providing an insufficient grievance process for addressing the federal gender-equity law, Title IX, which may have resulted in "the denial of equal opportunity to education for numerous university students," U.S. Department of Education spokesman Jim Bradshaw has said.

The new committee -- with student, faculty and administrative members -- will build "upon the existing processes of the college and each of the schools," and will address "allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct of every kind," University Provost Peter Salovey said in an e-mail sent to Yale faculty and students Wednesday.

"We believe that this streamlining will make it simpler for students and faculty to initiate and pursue any complaint," he said.

The committee will begin work on July 1.

Suit says Yale a 'hostile environment'

Federal investigators are looking into a complaint that claims university policies allowed a "sexually hostile environment" to exist on campus, Salovey said last week.

The complaint blames the university for failing to adequately respond to alleged incidents of harassment, Bradshaw said Friday.

Yale Dean Mary Miller said in an e-mail to students Wednesday that the university has received a formal notice of investigation from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, but has yet to receive a copy of the actual complaint. She said university officials are "required to submit a request to OCR under the Freedom of Information Act" to obtain that complaint.

"I am saddened and troubled by the allegations of the complaint," she said in the e-mail. "I can also say without equivocation that Yale does not tolerate sexual harassment or misconduct of any kind. Nevertheless, we are always working to improve our policies and practices."

The federal investigation follows a controversial YouTube video released in October that apparently showed new recruits of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity repeating chants encouraging rape as they marched through campus.

The board of directors of Delta Kappa Epsilon issued a statement saying the international fraternity strongly condemns the actions of the Yale chapter and acknowledges that the sentiments expressed were offensive.

The complaint also follows reports of a party in which undergraduate students were allegedly asked to strip naked.