Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Yale University, under federal investigation over how it handles sexual harassment, investigated 52 incidents of alleged sexual misconduct between July and December, according to the school.
The complaints, which range from accusations of inappropriate remarks to rape, were made public yesterday. The report, which will be filed semiannually, is the first since a university committee began probing how the school responds to the complaints.
The U.S. Department of Education’s investigation began after a group of students and alumni filed a complaint in March saying the university tolerated an atmosphere that was hostile to women. The charge was given new life last week when it was revealed that Patrick Witt, a football player who was a candidate for a Rhodes scholarship, had been accused in an informal complaint, a charge confirmed by his agent.
“The number of complaints of sexual misconduct brought forward and outlined in the report is a matter of deep concern,” President Richard Levin said in a statement. “Even though only a very small fraction of our campus population is alleged to be violating our policies, our aspiration must be to raise the bar so that no one believes that sexual misconduct is acceptable and all act accordingly.”
The report includes 14 complaints of sexual assault and 29 of sexual harassment. Nine faculty and staff members were accused of sexual harassment and one of assault.
Yale has about 25,000 students, faculty and staff, said Tom Conroy, a spokesman.
Yale offers victims formal and informal procedures for making complaints. In the informal process, which is non- disciplinary, accusers can maintain their anonymity, and results include counseling and restrictions on contact between the two parties. Formal complaints receive a full hearing. In cases where assault is alleged, the university may still investigate even if the victim opts for the informal process.
Witt, through the agent representing his football career, said his accuser chose to pursue the informal route and the matter was resolved.
Formal complaints were brought against three undergraduate students, one faculty member and one staff member during the six-month period.
One student was suspended for a semester for “acts of physical force, intimidation and coercion.” The faculty member was given a written reprimand for violating the university’s standards of business conduct. One student’s complaint wasn’t investigated because it contained insufficient information, and the other two cases are pending.
--Editors: Chris Staiti, Lisa Wolfson
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