Engender
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RESEARCH

 
 

1) Sexual Harassment & Assault

Extensive social science research has confirmed that sex discrimination in fraternities inculcates norms which normalize and encourage various forms of sexual violence, resulting in much higher rates of sexual assault by fraternity members.[i] As has been verified extensively in the workplace, sexual harassment and assault are both produced by and, in turn, reinforce sex segregation.[ii] At Yale, fraternities have been at the center of multiple claims of sexual harassment and assault, including the 2014 UWC claim against Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the 2011 OCR complaint involving Zeta Psi and Delta Kappa Epsilon. [iii] Numerous articles in campus publications confirm that many students expect to experience sexual harassment and are often unsafe and excluded at fraternity parties. [iv] Fraternities’ monopoly over hosting large parties—sororities are banned from doing so and few other social spaces of this size exist—exacerbates this dynamic as fraternity men ultimately have power over everyone in their space.

[i] Lisa Wade, “Rape on campus: Athletes, status, and the sexual assault crisis,” The Conversation, March 6, 2017. Patricia Yancey Martin, “The Rape Prone Culture of Academic Contexts: Fraternities and Athletics,” Gender & Society 30, no. 1 (2016). Catharine A. MacKinnon, “In Their Hands: Restoring Institutional Liability for Sexual Harassment in Education,” Yale Law Journal 125 (2016): 2055-7. Diane Rosenfeld, “Uncomfortable Conversations: Confronting the Reality of Target Rape on Campus,” Harvard Law Review Forum 128 (2015). John D. Foubert et al., “Behavior Differences Seven Months Later: Effects of a Rape Prevention Program,” 44 NASPA J. 728, 730 (2007). Elizabeth A. Armstrong, Laura Hamilton, and Brian Sweeney, “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape,” Social Problems 53, no. 4 (2006). Scot B. Boeringer, “Influences of Fraternity Membership, Athletics, and Male Living Arrangements on Sexual Aggression,” Violence against Women 2 (1996). Patricia Yancey Martin and Robert A. Hummer, “Fraternities and Rape on Campus,” Gender & Society 3, no. 4 (1989). Julie K.Ehrhart and Bernice R. Sandler, “Campus Gang Rape: Party Games?” report (Association of American Colleges, November 1985).

[ii] Vicki Schultz, "Reconceptualizing Sexual Harassment," Yale Law Journal 107 (1998). Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Men and Women of the Corporation (1977), pp. 206-44;  Iris Bohnet, What Works: Gender Equality by Design (2016), pp. 211-12, 230-33, 349; Robin J. Ely, "The Effects of Organizational Demographics and Social Identity on Relationships Among Professional Women," Administrative Science Quarterly 39 (1994), pp. 224-30; Belle Derks, Colette Van Laar & Naomi Ellemers, "The queen bee phenomenon: Why women leaders distance themselves from junior women," Leadership Quarterly  27 (2016), pp. 458-460, 464.

[iii] Nicole Narea, “Harassment at SAE and its fallout,Yale Daily News, April 16, 2015. Jingyi Cui and Britton O’Daly, “DKE case raises questions about fraternity bans,” Yale Daily News, October 27, 2016.

[iv] Larissa Martinez, Anna McNeil, and Ry Walker, Together but different, The Yale Daily News, January, 25, 2017. Gabby Deutch, “Looking at ‘Leo’” Yale Herald, September 16, 2016. Fiona Lowenstein, “The Edge of Sisterhood,” The New Journal, September 2016. Adriana Miele, “Into the rush,” Yale Daily News, January 21, 2016. Phoebe Petrovic, “An Act and Action,” Yale Daily News, November 20, 2015.  Briana Burroughs, “Just say it,” Yale Daily News, November 3, 2015.


2) LGBTQ+ Exclusion

Sex-segregated spaces reinforce traditional conceptions of a gender binary which alienate and exclude LGBTQ students. Setting gender as the most important criterion for gaining membership in a group necessarily stigmatizes students with different gender and sexual identities. As a result, members of all-male organizations such as fraternities are much more likely to engage in homophobic and transphobic harassment and bullying.[v] Trans and queer students at Yale have written extensively in campus publications about how gender segregation excludes and stigmatizes LGBTQ students.[vi]

[v] Heath Fogg Davis, Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? (New York: NYU Press, 2017). Heath Fogg Davis, "Sex-Classification Policies as Transgender Discrimination: An Intersectional Critique," Perspectives on Politics 12, no. 1 (2014): 45-60. Meredith G. F. Worthen, “Blaming the Jocks and the Greeks?: Exploring Collegiate Athletes’ and Fraternity/Sorority Members’ Attitudes Toward LGBT Individuals,” Journal of College Student Development 55, no. 2 (2014). David S. Cohen, “Keeping Men ‘Men’ and Women Down: Sex Segregation, Anti-Essentialism, and Masculinity,” Harvard Journal of Law & Gender 33 (2010): 522-532. Jeffrey A. Hall and Betty H. LaFrance, “Attitudes and Communication of Homophobia in Fraternities: Separating the Impact of Social Adjustment Function from Hetero-Identity Concern,” Communication Quarterly 55, no. 1 (2007). Allison C. Aosved and Patricia J. Long, “Co-Occurrence of Rape Myth Acceptance, Sexism, Racism, Homophobia, Ageism, Classism, and Religious Intolerance,” Sex Roles 55 (2006). Peggy Reeves Sanday, “Rape-Prone Versus Rape-Free Campus Cultures,” Violence against Women 2 (1996). Dana M. Britton, “Homophobia and Homosociality: An Analysis of Boundary Maintenance,” The Sociological Quarterly 31, no. 3 (1990).

[vi] Zulfiqar Mannan, “Goddam, What’s the rush?” Yale Daily News, March 3, 2017. Nat Wyatt, “An amateur police report,” Yale Daily News, February 15, 2017. Roger Lopez, “A half-hearted move,” Yale Daily News, January 27, 2017. Charlie Kenney, “Gender trouble,” The Yale Herald, November 4, 2016. Will McGrew, “Separate is unequal,” Yale Daily News, February 16, 2016. Noah Kim and Rohan Naik, “Rushing out of the closet,” Yale Daily News, October 16, 2015.


3) Unequal Economic Opportunities

Fraternities provide extensive professional networks to their male members, which help facilitate access to employment opportunities, particularly in business and finance.[vii] Given the exclusion of women from and the vast underrepresentation of LGBTQ students and students of color among fraternity membership, straight white men on campus thus have access to economic opportunities unavailable to other students—in clear contradiction of the mission of educational institutions. Beyond explicit networks, fraternities reinforce in-group preferences and out-group stereotypes which have been empirically documented to limit opportunities for employment and advancement for women as well as ethnic and sexual minorities.[viii]

[vii] Jack Mara, Lewis Davis, Stephen Schmidt, "Social Animal House: The Economic and Academic Consequences of Fraternity Membership," Contemporary Economic Policy (August 2017). Max Abelson and Zeke Faux, “Secret Handshakes Greek Frat Brothers on Wall Street,” Bloomberg, December 23, 2013. David Marmaros and Bruce Sacerdote, “Peer and Social Networks in Job Search,” European Economic Review 46, no. 4-5 (2002). Sergey Y. Popov and Dan Bernhardt, “Fraternities and Labor Market Outcomes,” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics 4, no. 1 (2012).

[viii] Kim Elsesser, Sex and the Office: Women, Men, and the Sex Partition That’s Dividing the Workplace (Lanham, MD: Taylor Trade, 2015). Diane Halpern, Lise Eliot, Rebecca Bigler et al., “The Pseudoscience of Single-Sex Schooling,” Science 333 (2011): 1706-07. Vicki Schultz, "The Sanitized Workplace," Yale Law Journal 112 (2003). Mary Blair-Loy, "It’s Not Just What You Know, It’s Who You Know: Technical Knowledge, Rainmaking, and Gender among Finance Executives," Research in the Sociology of Work 10 (2001): 51-83. Vicki Schultz "Telling Stories about Women and Work: Judicial Interpretations of Sex Segregation in the Workplace in Title VII Cases Raising the Lack of Interest Argument." Harvard Law Review 103, no. 8 (1990): 1749-843.