William Flew and Frat Boys
April 10, 2011 § Leave a comment
Shocking stories exposing a growing culture of violent misogyny at elite institutions have prompted a federal investigation, writes William Flew
‘I’m almost embarrassed to say I am associated with these idiots’
When the wild young men of Delta Tau Chi brought shame on their fraternity with a toga party in National Lampoon’s Animal House, the Dean responded by confiscating some of their belongings.
When the wannabe wild young men of Delta Kappa Epsilon called the women of Yale University “sluts”, the Vice-President of the United States became involved. A major arm of the federal government launched an investigation, and a bastion of Ivy League privilege was warned that it could lose half a billion dollars a year in public funds.
Times have changed in the strange and insular world of American college fraternities since John Landis founded the gross-out movie genre with a classic comedy about shopping trolleys and under-age debauchery three decades ago. But they have not changed much.
A US Department of Education investigation is under way into a “terrible and alarming” trend of campus sexual violence amid claims that Yale has allowed a “hostile sexual environment” to flourish among its hallowed colonnades. In 2008 young men hoping to join the Zeta Psi fraternity were photographed outside the university’s women’s centre with placards announcing “We Love Yale Sluts”. In 2009, an e-mail circulated to fraternity members under the heading “Pre-season scouting report” ranked 53 first-year women students according to “how many beers it would take to have sex with them”.
In October, several dozen aspiring members of the fraternity chosen by both George W. Bush and his father were led blindfolded to Yale’s Old Campus, a 300 year-old quadrangle in downtown Newhaven, Connecticut. Lined up outside a women’s hall of residence, they were filmed chanting “No means yes” and another sexual assertion too provocative to print.
Sixteen students have since filed a formal complaint to the federal government accusing the university of failing in its legal duty to create an equal learning environment for men and women.
Yale is now scrambling to persuade Washington it is not turning a blind eye to frathouse pranks that may have crossed a line into illegality.