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Friday, September 22, 2023

Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor


As the Director of the University of Houston’s Women’s Resource Center, I was disappointed to read the editorial Fraternities receive too much scrutiny (June 15, 2011) by Marcus Smith.

Smith wrote that when Yale University’s Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity members chanted, “No means yes and yes means anal,” those words should be laughed at or shrugged off or were merely “a simple chant.”

However, advocating rape is not a laughing matter or something to be shrugged off. The words were offensive, hateful, and create a hostile sexual environment that promotes disrespect towards women and creates a climate in which sexual assault is not only tolerated, but encouraged. Words have meaning and consequences.

Instead of holding the fraternity members accountable, Mr. Smith employed two fallacies to cloud the issue: 1) making fraternities the victim instead of acknowledging the pain and trauma of the real victims: women who are sexually assaulted and 2) making the imposed five-year campus ban an indictment of all fraternities, when in reality DKE was the only fraternity involved and the punishment was specific to them.

Instead of defending and minimizing this offensive behavior, Mr. Smith could have done UH a service by strongly condemning the actions of this fraternity and demanding respect for women on this campus and all campuses.

I speak to young fraternity men on campus about the importance of gaining affirmative sexual consent.

Opinions like this that minimize hateful language and violence against women make my work all the more difficult.

Beverly A. McPhail, Ph.D., is the director of the Women’s Resource Center.


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