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Yale Rumpus retracts issue over reference to sexual assault – September 2018

New Haven, Connecticut

Shortly after the Yale Rumpus began distributing its first issue of the 2018-2019 school year, several staffers voiced concerns over a joke referencing sexual assault in the editor’s note. Before long, editors began retrieving issues from stands around campus and issued a public apology. More than a dozen students quit the publication, and several called on the two editors-in-chief to step down.

Key Players

The Yale Rumpus is a satirical newspaper at Yale University, started in 1992, that publishes four issues a year. The paper has been criticized for jokes in the past, and often references alcohol abuse and hook-up culture on the campus.

Daniel Kaylor and Kristina Cuello are the editors-in-chief of the Rumpus, and said they were the only ones involved in writing the editor’s note.

Further Details

In the first issue of the 2018-2019 school year, the Yale Rumpus published an editor’s note containing a joke reading: “We here at Rumpus are happy for and would also like to congratulate you on losing your virginity. Now, before you think ‘Shit, does Rumpus know I blacked out and let a senior on the baseball team raw me on that foul mattress in the Sig Nu basement?’ the answer is yes, but we’ll unpack that later.” According to the Yale Daily News, editors from Rumpus decided to pull the issue after other members of the staff voiced criticism of the joke in an organization-wide group chat. The paper pulled issues from the newsstands shortly thereafter, and removed the post from its website.

Rumpus posted an apology on its Facebook page, saying: “Today, Rumpus published an issue which contained unacceptable content that unintentionally referred to sexual assault. (…) As editors-in-chief, we are deeply sorry that we allowed this content to be published. None of the content was intended to reference sexual assault; its presence in the issue was a major editorial oversight entirely on the part of the editors-in-chief, who were the only ones to have access to the final version of the issue.” The apology continued by promising to review the publication’s editorial process and to “be more sensitive to the possible implications of our content.” It also included the phone number for the SHARE hotline, which is dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual assault.

Outcome

More than a dozen Rumpus staffers quit, call on editors to do likewise

According to an anonymous source interviewed by the Yale Daily News, the Rumpus will continue to publish throughout the year. As of October 12, 2018, editors Kaylor and Cuello had not publicly tendered their resignations.

External References

Rumpus retracts issue after staff backlash, The Yale Daily News

The Rumpus’ apology posted on their Facebook page.

Yale Publication Retracts Issue Over Sex Assault Joke, Inside Higher Ed

Prepared by Gustav Honl-Stuenkel ‘20

Uploaded to tracker: October 12, 2018