Not sure what the FBI found during their reported six background checks during the course of Brett Kavanaugh’s career, but it looks like Supreme Court nominee was a member of a frat that was notorious for disrespecting women, including hoisting a flag made of women’s undergarments.
According to the Yale Daily News, Kavanaugh joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity in 1984 during his first year at Yale. A photo, which ran in the school paper in 1985, shows Kavanaugh’s frat bros “waving a flag woven from women’s underwear as part of a procession of DKE initiates marching across Yale’s campus.”
While Kavanaugh is not shown in the photo, nor has there been any evidence of Kavanaugh participating in such acts, it encapsulates the culture of the fraternity that Supreme Court nominee joined. The Yale Daily News notes that photo ran under the tongue-in-cheek headline “DKE AT PLAY” and adds that the then president of the University, Bartlett Giamatti, was a former DKE brother.
Kavanaugh is up for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court. He very well could be the deciding vote in critical women’s issues, including overturning Roe v. Wade. What does it say that some of the country’s most powerful men, not just Kavanaugh, were proud members of such groups in college? How did it shape them? What does that say about the uphill climb #MeToo is facing?
At least one Yale student didn’t find DKE’s antics funny.
In a letter to the editor published in the News three days later, a Yale student, Rachel Eisler ’86, charged that DKE’s pledge antics “demean women.” She wrote that she approached one of the pledges carrying the flag to ask whether any briefs or jockstraps were affixed to the pole. “Well, I didn’t make it,” the pledge responded, according to the letter. He then said he doubted that any “guys’ stuff” would be woven into the flag.
“But hey,” he told the female student, according to the letter. “Your panties might be here!”
The Yale Daily News also notes that in addition to joining DKE, Kavanaugh also became a member of Truth and Courage, one of Yale’s secret societies for seniors that was nicknamed “Tit and Clit.”
Kavanugh graduated in 1987 but DKE’s reputation for mistreating women on campus didn’t stop.
Yale banned DKE from campus for five years in 2011 after videos circulated of fraternity recruits chanting ‘No means yes, yes means anal’ in front of the University’s Women’s Center.
And this spring, the University launched an investigation into the fraternity’s sexual climate after reports in the Yale Daily News and Business Insider documented sexual assault allegations against more than half a dozen members, including the fraternity’s former president.
Kavanaugh is currently facing allegations that he sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when the two were in high school. He has repeatedly denied the charges and says he looks forward to a potential U.S. Senate hearing next week to clear his name.