Yale Probed By Education Department Over Sex Harassment Claim

Yale University is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office after complaints from students about a sexually hostile environment.

Yale, in New Haven, Connecticut, was contacted yesterday by the department regarding the complaint, which it hasn’t yet seen, Tom Conroy, a spokesman, said in an e-mail today.

Sixteen Yale students and recent graduates filed a complaint accusing Yale of allowing an atmosphere hostile to women to flourish, Hannah Zeavin, one of the signatories of the complaint, said in a phone interview yesterday. She cited incidents of harassment including members of fraternities chanting sexist slogans such as “No Means Yes” and holding signs with sexist remarks, she said.

“We believe there is a hostile environment here at Yale University that is precluding women from having the same opportunity for an education as Yale men,” Zeavin, 20, said.

Yale will cooperate with the investigation, Conroy said.

“Yale takes extremely seriously all allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, including allegations of a ‘hostile environment,’” he said.

The Office of Civil Rights received a complaint urging an investigation March 15, Justin Hamilton, an Education Department spokesman, said in an e-mail today. The office receives about 7,000 total complaints a year and investigates a third of them, Hamilton said.

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