Following an off-campus Halloween party at Yale Friday night, several college students are accusing the fraternity that hosted it of blocking people of color at the door.
It all started with a witness account from a young woman named Sofia Petros-Gouin, a Columbia student and freshman who tried to get into the Halloween party at the Yale frat between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., the Washington Post reported.
She claims to have watched as a white brother with the Sigma Alpha Epsilon turn away a group of dark-skinned students from the Halloween bash, telling them “No, we’re only looking for white girls.” Though she clarified that the brother in question didn’t see her as the crowd in front of the door grew, she claims she did hear the shocking exchange.
“A group of girls came up who were predominantly black and Hispanic. He held his hand up to their faces and said, ‘No, we’re only looking for white girls.’… He pulled a blond girl up from the bottom of the stairs — over some people — pushed her inside and said, ‘We are looking for white girls only, white girls only.’ No brothers corrected him or said anything.”
Being a “woman of color myself,” Sofia said she decided not to try to gain entry at the Yale Halloween party due to its “bad vibes.”
And she’s not the only one telling this story. A separate Facebook post from a Yale student named Neema Githere, published the day after the Halloween party, accused the Yale frat of turning away anyone who wasn’t white and asked people to respond with their own stories of racism at Yale. Many did, including a girl who said her group of minority friends were turned away from Friday’s Halloween party.
Add to this an account from an anonymous Yale freshman who said his friends tried to get into the Yale Halloween party after midnight. He was turned away for a different reason.
“When I first came up to the door they said, ‘Who the [expletive] do you think you are — you’re clearly gay.'”
Worried about his female friends who did get in, the young man waited outside for 20 minutes and heard a Yale brother recite the night’s alleged party rule — white girls only — watching as dark-skinned women were turned away and a brother pushed an African-American girl. Eventually, he was able to get in by stealth, and during his 10 minutes inside the Halloween party, witnessed a pretty homogenous group of revelers.
“[I saw] older white men and lots and lots of white blond girls. A few Asian girls had got in but I did not see one black girl at the party,” he recalled.
Yale is denying that frat brothers enforced a “white girls only” rule at the Halloween party. One of the members who attended described a very different scene, saying that people were turned away to avoid overcrowding at the request of police. No one with a Yale ID was turned away from the party before 11:15 p.m., but one woman who wasn’t allowed in screamed, “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?”
Sigma Alpha Epsilon has been accused of racism before. Just this spring, brothers at a University of Oklahoma chapter were caught in a video chanting their exclusion of black students from the frat and used racial slurs and lynching references to get their point across. SAE’s national leaders have since promised reforms.
According to the Yale Daily News, the accusations at Yale’s chapter of SAE will be investigated, and the students who claimed discrimination at the Halloween party have been contacted. The chapter president, Grant Mueller, called the claims upsetting.
“Obviously I was shocked and flabbergasted [at the idea] that anyone in SAE would even have these words come from their mouths. It’s just kind of upsetting for me because we try to be so incredibly accepting and take pride in our diversity.”
They have denied all allegations.
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