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Yale’s Official (and Racy) List of “Sexual Scenarios”

If you do it, you can lose it at Yale. Sex, or rather the wrong kind of sex, could mean expulsion

Seek carnal pleasures at your peril, lustful students of Yale. Big Brother is watching.

An eye-opening, if not titillating, memo from Yale’s Office of the Provost (the university’s chief financial and administrative officer) went out this week to students and faculty. It outlines, with detail bordering on potboiler eroticism, eight different “sexual misconduct scenarios” that could in many cases lead to a student’s expulsion.

VOCATIV SEXUAL SCENARIOS

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One example:

“Ryo and Casey are dating. Casey is uncertain about whether they should have sex, but Ryo is persuasive and finally obtains Casey’s voluntary agreement. As they engage in sex, Casey says ‘wait—stop—that hurts.’ Ryo nonetheless continues for several more minutes, restraining Casey. Afterwards, Casey is upset. Ryo apologizes, but says they were past the point of interruption.”

The memo concludes that “Ryo” would be expelled for his sexual actions.

Here’s an excerpt from another example, with more nuance:

“As Harper initiates sex, Sidney says ‘this is a bad idea’ and begins to cry, but embraces Harper and the two proceed to have sex.”

Harper’s recommended punishment would “fall in the range of probation to suspension.”

Curious about the choice of names for these fictional couplers? All names in the “scenarios” were intentionally gender neutral “to reflect that sexual misconduct occurs in all gender configurations,” as the missive put it.

And why do Yale students need so detailed a roadmap of what constitutes nonconsensual sex, and of what sexual acts could cast them into the maw of Yale’s highly secretive and extralegal judicial process?

The answer likely lies in that fact that Yale remains embroiled in a multi-year controversy over whether it has created a “hostile environment” for women. Some observers consider the allegations serious. Others find the whole contretemps a sign that some Yale students should learn to take a joke.

Only last year, the university reached a resolution with the U.S. Justice Department of a federal (yes, federal)

VIDEO: DELTA KAPPA EPSILON PLEDGES MAKE OFFENSIVE CHANTS

investigation into Yale’s response to campus sexual assaults and harassment. The most notable complaint? A 2010 fraternity prank perpetrated by Delta Kappa Epsilon, whose alumni include both President Bushes. The frat had its pledges stand outside the staunchly feminist Yale Women’s Center and loudly chant, ”No means yes! Yes means anal!” The rite was immortalized on YouTube. Denizens of the Women’s Center were not amused…the incident coming only two years after members of Yale’s Zeta Psi Fraternity (whose alumni include Bush 41′s father, Prescott) posed in front of the Women’s Center bearing a sign that said, “We love Yale sluts.” The Women’s Center threatened to sue.

By 2011, there were also allegations more serious than the anal sex chant: claims that Yale did not respond properly to reports of rape, attempted rape and stalking. As part of Yale’s 2012  resolution with the feds, the university paid a fine to the Education Department for improperly reporting sex crimes.

As for this week’s list of “sexual misconduct scenarios,” they were most likely released after some students and alumni objected strongly to the university’s August report on actual, nonhypothetical sexual misconduct. It detailed five cases in which the university found “sufficient evidence” that a student had “nonconsensual sex” with another student. All five offending students were allowed to stay at Yale. The perceived leniency angered many observers who felt the university-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which makes these decisions, did not crack the whip hard enough.

It was clear the administration had to respond. Its gender-less “sexual scenarios” missive was meant to clarify the disciplinary procedures for sexual misconduct, and to stress that “nonconsensual sex,” by Yale’s standards, doesn’t just mean rape.

“Yale’s definition of consent requires positive, unambiguous, voluntary agreement at every point during a sexual encounter—the presence of an unequivocal ‘yes’ (verbal or otherwise), not just the absence of a ‘no,’ reads the memo introducing the scenarios, which are as follows, in all their awkward glory:

  1.  Ryo and Casey are dating. Casey is uncertain about whether they should have sex, but Ryo is persuasive and finally obtains Casey’s voluntary agreement. As they engage in sex, Casey says “wait—stop—that hurts.” Ryo nonetheless continues for several more minutes, restraining Casey. Afterwards, Casey is upset. Ryo apologizes, but says they were past the point of interruption. 
While there was initial consent, that consent was withdrawn. The UWC penalty would be expulsion.
  2. Jessie and Vic have been flirting all semester, and agree to meet at a party. After dancing closely together for a while, Vic proposes going to one of their rooms and Jessie agrees. On the walk to Jessie’s room, they send a few texts, letting Vic’s friends know not to worry and asking Jessie’s roommate to please sleep somewhere else. Once in the room, they begin touching. Each is interested in hearing what the other wants, and each is paying attention to the other’s signals. They reach and sustain clear agreement upon mutually desired sexual activities. 
This is consensual sex: Vic and Jessie reached positive, voluntary, unambiguous agreement to engage in sexual conduct together.
  3. Sidney and Harper are dating. On several occasions they are physically intimate, but within limits set by Sidney, who is opposed to having sex at this stage of their relationship. One night, when they are being intimate within their mutually agreed upon boundaries, Harper begins to cross them. Sidney expresses concern, but Harper is encouraging, saying “it will be okay just this once.” Sidney replies “we shouldn’t do this,” but continues to touch Harper in an intimate way. As Harper initiates sex, Sidney says “this is a bad idea” and begins to cry, but embraces Harper and the two proceed to have sex. 
Initial consent was followed by ambiguity. Sidney’s acquiescence to sex was accompanied by too much dismay to constitute unambiguous agreement, especially given Sidney’s longstanding prior refusal to engage in sex. The UWC penalty would likely fall in the range of probation to suspension.
  4. Jamie and Cameron are at a party. It is crowded on the dance floor and they are briefly pressed together. Later, Jamie encounters Cameron in the hallway and smiles. Cameron, who is now very drunk, follows Jamie into the bathroom and forces Jamie to have sex. 
There was no consent to have sex. The UWC penalty would be expulsion.
  5. Devin and Ansley are engaging in a consensual sexual encounter, which Devin begins to intensify. Ansley responds by pulling away slightly, moving Devin’s hands and saying “not so fast; I’m not sure.” Devin cooperates briefly but then intensifies the contact once more. Ansley inches backwards and then becomes still. Nonetheless, Devin has sex with Ansley. While the initial sexual activity was consensual, that consent was not sustained. The UWC penalty would likely range from multi-semester suspension to expulsion.
  6. Alexis and Riley are studying together in Riley’s room. During a break in their studying, they rub each other’s shoulders. Alexis then introduces some intimate touching. Riley moves closer and says “Okay, but I don’t want to go too far—we still have a lot of work to do.” Alexis continues to touch Riley in an intimate way. Riley willingly agrees to some contact, but mostly sets boundaries. Alexis jokes that they deserve to have sex as a reward for their hard work studying; Riley laughs. After their studying is done, Alexis suggests again that they should have sex. Riley responds they should probably get some sleep but continues to touch Alexis. After a few more minutes, Alexis asks once more. Riley pauses, then says okay and pulls Alexis closer. They have sex. 
This is consensual sex. Despite initial hesitation, the ultimate agreement to have sex was voluntary and unambiguous. There is no violation of the sexual misconduct policy. The UWC would likely counsel Alexis about the inappropriateness of sexual pressure, and recommend SHARE’s sensitivity training program.
  7. Morgan and Kai are friends who begin dancing and kissing at a party. They are both drunk, although not to the point of incapacitation. Together they decide to go to Kai’s room. They undress each other and begin touching each other. Morgan moves as if to engage in oral sex and looks up at Kai questioningly. Kai nods in agreement and Morgan proceeds. Subsequently, without pausing to check for further agreement, Kai begins to perform oral sex on Morgan. Morgan lies still for a few minutes, then moves away, saying it is late and they should sleep. 
There was initial agreement, but the bounds of that agreement were not clear. Kai may have thought that Morgan had consented to reciprocal oral sex, but took no steps to obtain unambiguous agreement. The UWC penalty would likely be a reprimand.
  8. Tyler and Jordan are both drinking heavily at an off-campus event. Tyler becomes extremely drunk. Jordan offers to take Tyler home. On the way, Tyler has trouble walking, and makes several wrong turns. Once in Tyler’s room, Jordan initiates sexual activity. Tyler looks confused and tries to go to sleep. Jordan has sex with Tyler. 
There was no consent to have sex. A person who is incapacitated—lacking the ability to make or act on considered decisions to engage in sexual activity—cannot give consent. The UWC penalty would be expulsion.

Reaction among Yale’s student body ranged from triumphal to bemused to vaguely annoyed. Some Yale community members cried overkill—that expulsion for ambiguous consent was too severe of a punishment.

“What is ‘nonconsensual sex’?” K.C. Johnson asks in a blog post that said the sexual scenarios were much too harsh, too quick on the explusion-trigger and sexist against men. “Rape, right? Not at Yale, where the term can be applied to a variety of acts generally accepted as minor offenses or non-offenses in the real world.”

EXCERPT FROM ANN ALTHOUSE BLOG

But quite aside from that, what's with "anti-male"? I have absolutely no idea whether Morgan and Kai are 2 men, 2 women, or a man and a woman. And if they're a man and a woman, I can't tell if Morgan's the man and Kai is the woman or Kai is the man and Morgan is the woman. I think Yale's fiction writers are deliberately making the sex of these 2 characters inscrutable, which makes the scenario damned hard to visualize.

Law professor Ann Althouse expressed bemused sympathy in a blog post for the writers of these fictional scenarios, which are currently the laughing stock of campus.  “…I’m drawn toward pitying whoever got the assignment to write those scenarios.”  “Pitying and laughing at. Imagine needing to describe explicit sex that is utterly not titillating and duly instructive.  Morgan moves as if to engage in oral sex and looks up at Kai questioningly. It’s up to you to picture that move and that look. Later, Morgan fails to look and Kai moves. Or Kai fails to look and Morgan moves. Who are these people? What are they doing?!”

Recently, I discussed the history of sexual misconduct at Yale with an alumnus from the late 1990s. He recalled a vaguely vagina-shaped fountain on campus, just across the street from the much-maligned Yale Women’s Center. The “Women’s Table” was designed by celebrated Yalie architect Maya Lin in 1989 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Yale becoming coeducational.

The alumnus recalled the many pranks played on the campus’ symbol of fertility. A furtive addition of dish soap to the recirculating fountain would make the water foam—rather like a yeast infection. He wondered: Would that manner of joke ever happen at Yale these days?

We don’t know the answer, but we’ll check in with Derek and Ansley.

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