Three women sued Yale University and nine fraternities on Tuesday, saying the off-campus clubs harbored a culture of sexual discrimination and assault, and asking the court to order the all-male social organizations to admit women.
All three undergraduate students of the Ivy League college said were groped at parties held at fraternity houses off campus during their first semesters at the school, according to the complaint filed in federal court in New Haven, Connecticut.
Ry Walker, a 20-year-old college junior from New York, said that someone had pulled up her skirt and grabbed her crotch at a dark and crowded party in 2016, but that she did not report the incident as she had not seen who had groped her. She said she later realized many Yale women had had similar experiences.
The women said the fraternities discriminated against them by rejecting them on the basis of gender, a decision that they said potentially denied them access to networking opportunities that could help their later careers.
Yale spokesman Thomas Conroy declined to comment on the lawsuit.
He forwarded a January message sent to students by the school’s dean about a university investigation that found evidence of sexual misconduct at one of the nine fraternities targeted in the women’s lawsuit.
“I condemn the culture described in these accounts; it runs counter to our community’s values of making everyone feel welcome, respected, and safe,” Dean Marvin Chun said in the message. “I also offer some plain advice about events like these: don’t go to them.”
Reporting by Katharine Jackson in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone