Yale dean's letter on controversy over expelled basketball captain stirs up more anger

Jonathan Holloway

Screengrab via youtube

Jonathan Holloway

Tension on Yale University's New Haven, Connecticut campus seems to be mounting following the expulsion of the captain of the men's basketball team.

Neither the former captain, Jack Montague, nor Yale have given an explanation for his departure from the school - though his father, Jim, confirmed to the New Haven Register that his son had been expelled.

When his fellow teammates wore t-shirts in support of him, posters appeared around campus telling the team to "stop supporting a rapist," according to the Yale Daily News.Advertisement

More posters and messages posted around various lecture halls over the past week spurred Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway to write students to treat each other "civilly" when talking about the controversy.

That email has drawn derision from some students who feel Holloway is tone deaf.

The email was posted to a Facebook group called "Overheard at Yale," with a strike through Holloway's original text, replaced with "support Yale women and stand with survivors of sexual violence." Holloway's email read:

As the weekend begins, I want you to know that I have been following the public reactions to this week's events involving the men's basketball team's symbolic t-shirts and the posters that appeared on campus in response to them. I know that many of you are upset and angry, and that you are sharing deeply conflicting views. As you engage with each other, I ask that you also treat each other civilly.

I am committed to providing a safe campus for all of you, protecting your privacy, preventing harassment of all kinds, and ensuring that you can make your voices heard. I know that I can count on your to join me in this effort by treating each other with respect -- especially when you disagree"I thought that Holloway's email was misguided," a Yale undergraduate student who wished to remain anonymous told Business Insider.Advertisement

"The problem isn't people not being respectful. It's that there are widespread incidents of sexual assault on campus," the student continued. "Holloway talking about respect rather than demanding a change in the way we treat women on campus is the wrong tone on the wrong issue."

The student also hit out at the basketball team for standing by Montague.

"I don't respect the basketball team for what they did," the student said. Advertisement

To be clear, Yale has never said it launched an investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Montague let alone released any evidence against him if an investigation did occur.

Further, some experts in matters of sexual assault accusations on college campuses say that "sufficient evidence" in these types of cases is not as damning as you might think.

"I've seen students get expelled on very thin evidence," Hanna Stotland, a Harvard Law graduate who advises students on college transfers, told Business Insider. "You have non-professionals in quasi-judicial proceedings adjudicating," she said.Advertisement

Based on reports from Yale University Title IX office, only five students have been expelled for sexual misconduct since July 2011, the earliest time they reported such metrics. In each case, the university said it found "sufficient evidence" of misconduct.

For its part, Yale stands behind Holloway's email. "The University, of course, supports any message from the Dean," a spokesperson for the university told Business Insider.

On Wednesday, student groups held a "chalk-in" on campus to support victims of sexual assault and provide a safe place for students to gather.Advertisement

"We felt that there's a lot of anger and frustration and hurt on campus at the moment, and we wanted to be able to have some sort of an outlet for that," United Against Sexual Assault at Yale co-director Helen Price told Business Insider.

If you are a Yale University student who would like to comment on the current environment on campus, email Abby Jackson at ajackson@businessinsider.com.

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