Female students sue Yale to admit women into male fraternities

Three female students at Yale University are suing the Ivy League school and nine of its male fraternities in an attempt to stop the school's social organizations from admitting people on the basis of their gender.

The women, who filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court in Connecticut on Tuesday, want to admit women to fraternities in response to alleged sexual assault, harassment and discrimination.

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Women, according to the students, are being shut out of social and economic benefits offered by all-male fraternities, including access to their alumni networks that can help land coveted jobs

While there are sororities on the New Haven campus, their power and influence lack in comparison to the school's fraternities, the lawsuit claims.

"It's not only breeding a very toxic sexual culture but also is giving undue economic and professional benefits to the male fraternity members," one of the plaintiffs, Ry Walker, a junior majoring in astrophysics and African-American studies, told The Associated Press.

Lawyers for the other two plaintiffs, Anna McNeil, a junior, and Eliana Singer, a sophomore, said they believe this is the first-ever lawsuit by students against a university seeking to "gender integrate" fraternities.

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All three plaintiffs said they were denied membership to fraternities, and claimed they were groped at fraternity parties and know other students who were sexually assaulted or harassed at frat parties.

The three students said they complained to Yale about sexual misconduct and discrimination by fraternities, but school officials offered them "no meaningful assistance or relief."

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A spokesperson for Yale did not provide a comment on the lawsuit to the AP. An attorney for the fraternities said the students' accusations are baseless.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.