HARTFORD, Conn. — A fraternity has been banned from Yale University’s campus for two years over an initiation ceremony that violated the school’s sexual misconduct policy, the Ivy League university announced Friday.
The local chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon apologized in a letter to the Yale community for harm caused by a presentation made during the February 2014 initiation.
A spokesman at the fraternity’s national headquarters, Brandon Weghorst, said its investigation found that two members made inappropriate comments about a female student. He said the fraternity does not condone demeaning language and it ordered sexual assault and harassment prevention training for all members.
“While these comments were isolated actions of those two men, we cannot validate what may have been said,” Weghorst said.
In a message to students, Yale Dean Jonathan Holloway said the fraternity has taken steps to respond to the violation and improve the “general climate that led to it.” He said he was keeping with university policy by maintaining the confidentiality of those involved.
Sexual misconduct on college campuses has been in the spotlight as students and the federal government demand stricter policies and stronger enforcement. Greek organizations also have been under scrutiny, with Sigma Alpha Epsilon among several fraternities banned last year at the University of Connecticut over hazing allegations.
The Yale chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon said in its letter that the University Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct found that fraternity members attempted to impede the investigation into the initiation ceremony. Since the investigation concluded, it said, the chapter leadership has adjusted its initiation process and received guidance from professionals on promoting “a more positive sexual climate.”
“Moving forward, our chapter will strive to promote respect and tolerance on campus,” the fraternity wrote.
In addition to the ban on campus activities, the fraternity also is forbidden from communicating via Yale email systems and using its name in connection with Yale under sanctions that are in place until August 2016.