Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Alexandra Brodsky ’12, ’16JD:
‘My school betrayed me’

Last year, when the US Department of Education ended its investigation of a complaint against Yale for the university’s handling of sexual misconduct, we reported that the voluntary settlement “could be described as a win by both the Yale administration and the 16 complainants.”

Apparently at least one of those 16 complainants disagrees.

Alexandra Brodsky ’12, ’16JD, who helped file the complaint during her junior year at Yale College, has now launched a national campaign urging the education department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to enforce more vigorously the sex-equality law known as Title IX. Exhibit A in Brodsky’s case for better enforcement: the Yale settlement.

“My first year at college, the night of the big freshman dance, a guy I thought was my friend tried to rape me,” she writes in an e-mail from, where her group, Ed Act Now, has garnered almost 160,000 signatures on a petition headed: “Hold colleges accountable that break the law by refusing to protect students from sexual assault.”

“When I reported what happened to the authorities at Yale . . . they tried to cover up what happened—and told me not to tell anyone, not even my roommate,” continues the e-mail, under the subject line “My school betrayed me.” Characterizing the OCR settlement as “a slap on the wrist,” Brodsky writes: “I was betrayed by my friend, then my school, then my government.”

On July 15, Brodsky and “a few dozen students” rallied outside the education department’s Washington, DC, office. “Their shouts—which, for the first time in a long time, felt celebratory—were loud enough to lure Under Secretary Martha Kanter from the department’s concrete fortress” to accept “box after box of signatures,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

“Not enough has changed at Yale,” Brodsky said at the rally. “We’re left with little more than empty promises.”

A Yale spokesman provided the following response:

Yale University strives to be a respectful community that is safe and welcoming for all. The university has no tolerance for sexual misconduct of any kind, and has devoted significant resources—before, during, and after the 2011 Title IX complaint and subsequent federal investigation—to improving the campus climate, expanding counseling resources and peer and professional support, and fortifying and streamlining administrative processes available for students who encounter sexual misconduct. The university's processes are robust, and students have found those processes meaningful and effective. Ms. Brodsky, an alumna of Yale College who was one of the Title IX complainants against Yale, acknowledged in 2012 that Yale has been "moving in the right direction." We wish Ms. Brodsky the best when she returns to Yale as a law student in fall 2013.


Filed under Title IX, sexual misconduct, Alexandra Brodsky, Department of Education
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