Three female Yale University students have filed a lawsuit against the school’s all-male fraternities in an attempt to force them to allow female members.
The students claim in the lawsuit that the fraternities at the university are plagued by sexual harassment, discrimination and sexual assault. They claim that they have been groped at fraternity parties and know other students who were sexually assaulted and harassed at the parties.
“Yale is a microcosm of the ongoing epidemic of sexual harassment and assault at all-male fraternities,” the lawsuit says.
Anna McNeil, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said that the students believe that seeking gender integration is more feasible. Another plaintiff, Ellie Singer, said that lawsuit focuses on creating a “paradigm shift.”
“Right now, students are forced to make a choice between having a social life and not feeling safe at parties or feeling safe but barely being able to go out at all. We want Yale to take decisive action to make that change so people no longer are forced to make that choice,” Singer said.
Rikki Klieman, a CBS News legal analyst, described the lawsuit as “enormously complicated” and that it had contradictory goals: introducing women into an environment while claiming that environment is plagued of sexual assault.
“If I am someone who goes into a party at the only place available for me to socialize, which is a fraternity, and I am being groped and sexually assaulted and in an environment that I think is unsafe, why do I want to join the fraternity? Why don’t I want the fraternity banned?” Klieman asked.
The women in the lawsuit are part of a group which has repeatedly asked Yale to regulate fraternities.
“Yale’s response has been deliberately indifferent. Yale has known about the problem of fraternity-related discrimination and sexual misconduct for at least a decade,” said their lawyer, David Tracey.
A lawyer who is representing the fraternities said that the claims in the lawsuit are “baseless and unfounded” and they “look forward to vigorously defending this action in court.”