A Brown University student group, Decolonization at Brown, wants the school to remove two Roman statues displayed on campus, claiming the statues represent white supremacy and colonialism.
The student group at the Ivy League university in Rhode Island has lobbied the schoolâ€™s Undergraduate Council of Students to support its initiative to remove of statues of Roman Emperors Caesar Augustus and Marcus Aurelius.
Removing the statues â€œis one step in a broader project of decolonization by confronting Brownâ€™s institutional and ideological legacies of colonialism and white supremacy,â€ members of the group wrote in The Blognonian, a student publication at the university.
The Undergraduate Council is scheduled to vote on endorsing the initiative on Thursday after it bumped the vote, originally scheduled for October 22.
Jason Carroll, the student body president, would not comment on the proposal yet because the body has yet to hold a vote.
â€œThere is not a resolution and the potential endorsement would be for an on-going student initiative run by Decolonization at Brown,â€ Carroll said via email to The College Fix.
â€œIt is not that difficult to see how a statue of (Caesar Augustus) would serve as an icon of colonial and imperial domination,â€ Kelley Tackett, a leader of the decolonization group, said at an October 14 Undergraduate Council meeting.
â€œThey function not as monuments to ancient Rome, but to a set of values and political stances which existed when they were commissioned on Brownâ€™s campus,â€ Tackett said, according to student paper The Brown Daily Herald.
The Caesar Augustus statue has been on campus since 1906 and the Marcus Aurelius statue has been on campus since 1908, according to a university website.
Sam Kimball, another student leader, asked â€œwhat kind of impactâ€ the statues have on â€œstudent well-being and inclusion of students of color,â€ according to the Daily Herald.
Junaid Malik, a leader in the effort, said, according to the student paper:
For those of us who come from countries that were also colonized, these statues carry the symbolism of conquest, one that we think is incompatible with the continued occupation of Indigenous land in the U.S.
Brown students will obviously not be the first Americans to self-identify as “persons of color.”
Whether costumes and banjos will be issued remains a mystery, according to the College Fix.
Brown University is implementing a change to its graduate school application that will allow applicants to â€œself-identifyâ€ as persons of color. Multiple efforts by The College Fix to clarify the details of this change were ignored by campus officials.
The policy comes as a result of complaints made by graduate students on the Graduate School advisory board that international and Asian American students are not treated as members of historically underrepresented groups by the university, according to The Brown Daily Herald.
One graduate student, Lydia Kelow-Bennett, told The Herald that this decision has led to â€œinstitutional invisibilityâ€ for these students. Brown defines historically underrepresented groups as â€œAmerican Indian, Alaskan Native, African American, Hispanic or Latinx and Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander.â€ The schoolâ€™s diversity initiatives are intended to benefit members of these groups.
Brownâ€™s criteria for historical underrepresentation â€œcaused some students to not receive invitations to certain events, such as a multicultural student dinner,â€ The Herald reported.
How allowing applicants to self-identify as persons of color will affect policy relating to the diversity initiatives, and whether the university will take any steps to verify applicantsâ€™ self-identification, remain unclear. The Fix reached out multiple times to Brownâ€™s graduate admissions office to inquire into how Brown would ensure that applicants were telling the truth about their self-identified ethnicity. The office did not respond.
Brown University in Providence, R.I. houses one of the countryâ€™s most selective undergraduate colleges. The Brown Daily Herald, a student-run newspaper, cites Dean of Admission Logan Powell in reporting that the school received a record-high 32,724 applications this year, and admitted just 8.3% of applicants.
Among those lucky few is the daughter of a Journal reader who is still trying to make sense of a letter the family received this week from Mr. Powell. Our readerâ€™s bright daughter had already received news of her acceptance when a letter arrived that was addressed to her â€œParent/Guardian.â€
Oddly, the note referred to the accepted student not as â€œsheâ€ but as â€œthey.â€ Dean Powellâ€™s letter also stated that our readerâ€™s daughter had no doubt worked hard and made positive contributions to â€œtheirâ€ school and community. Our reader reports that his perplexed family initially thought that Brown had made a word-processing error. That was before they listened to a voice mail message from the school congratulating his daughter and referring to her as â€œthem.â€…
It turns out that the errors were intentional. Brown spokesman Brian Clark writes in an email that â€œour admission office typically refers to applicants either by first name or by using â€˜they/theirâ€™ pronouns. While the grammatical construction may read as unfamiliar to some, it has been adopted by many newsrooms and other organizations as a gender-inclusive option.â€
Participants in â€œNudity in the Upspace,â€ a weeklong series of events running from September 30 until October 5 at Brown University, are angry. It’s offensive and exploitative when a forty-something-year-old-man from Fox News asks if young women feel comfortable becoming nude in that kind of space, because the look on his face says you ought to be ashamed if the answer is yes. It is entirely inappropriate for middle-aged men to be interviewing young college girls about what they are doing with their bodies. Asking them what their fathers would think of what they are doing is deeply misogynistic. After all, these students are pushing back on ideas about what naked bodies are for, exploring concepts like privilege and what is a naked body, and “creating art” around body positivity and consensual sexuality that includes everyone, that doesn’t exclude any kind of body (!). These students, you see, are on a mission. They’re not at a frat party getting naked. All this is an intellectual and productive activity.
The Yale Daily News recently did a feature exploring what life is like for meritocratic recruits from financially disadvantaged backgrounds at Yale.
MacBooks. Dooney & Bourke bags. MoMA and the Met. These were the things that [she didn’t have, that Shanaz Chowdhery â€™13] says, set her apart.
It didnâ€™t take long for [her] to notice that people were different at Yale. â€œThere was all this cultural capital that people seemed to have,â€ she says.
Where she was from, no one read The New Yorker on Sundays.
The differences werenâ€™t just cultural, either: Chowdhery recalls her shock at seeing girls walking around campus with $100 handbags.
After she noticed that so many students here used Macs, she says, she looked up the price and couldnâ€™t believe her eyes. Her classmates were lounging on Old Campus with $2,000 laptops.
Chowdheryâ€™s father put her generic Windows laptop on a credit card. She believes he was paying it off her entire freshman year.
Even after being admitted, many students from lower-income backgrounds feel socially aloof from their wealthier classmates.
For Leonard Thomas â€™14, feelings of difference and isolation were the largest obstacles to overcome as he transitioned from life in Detroit to being a student at Yale. â€œI felt poor here,â€ he says. â€œI didnâ€™t necessarily feel poor in Detroit because I wasnâ€™t the extreme case.
â€œIâ€™m an extreme case of poverty here.â€
David Truong â€™14 still remembers what it was like to move into his freshman dorm. As he watched a suitemate buy a TV stand, a TV and an Xbox without hesitation, he cringed while paying for clothes hangers and plastic storage bins for his room. That first weekend when everyone was getting to know each other, Truong struggled with suite discussions about splitting the cost of a couch. The expectation that everyone would be contributing to the cost of furnishing the suite, while he thought it fair, was an adjustment.
That expectation of spending does not disappear after move-in weekend. Jennifer Friedmann â€™13 says that Yale has a â€œculture around money.â€ â€œYou were expected to be able to go out to dinner,â€ she said. â€œIf I had a coffee date with someone, it was expected that everyone was buying coffee and that it wasnâ€™t a financial burden for anyone.â€ But Friedmann did not want the fact that she was on financial aid to interfere with her ability to socialize with anyone on campus, regardless of socio-economic background. By shopping at thrift stores, she says she found it more feasible to â€œbe a social person on this campus without making people feel weird about me being on financial aid.â€
I can remember friends of mine doing the thrift shop thing, and sometimes finding some really excellent Harris Tweed sport coats at derisory prices, back during the Cretaceous Period, when I was at Yale.
I grew up in an economically-depressed mining town in Northeastern Pennsylvania and got a full scholarship to Yale, so I’m personally quite well acquainted with the kind of experiences described in the Yalie Dailey’s feature.
I was well-insulated from social insecurity by personal arrogance and family pride, but financially I was a total idiot. I had never previously had a checkbook, and the Yale Coop presented you on arrival as a freshman with a credit card (and access to a store full of books and records).
My approach to poverty at Yale was to join in happily with the revels of my more-affluent classmates and perhaps even to cut a bit more of a dash than some of those. Like Mr. Micawber, I assumed all that financial stuff would work itself out somehow or other. However, the dour Puritan prep school regime extended onward into college life in those days, and fiscally-irresponsible black sheep like myself faced unlimited possible forms of vengeance at the hands of their residential college deans.
Inevitably, I found myself, before long, out of Yale, back in Pennsylvania in disgrace, and now classified 1-A by Richard Nixon’s draft board.
When I returned to Yale, several years later, I accidentally became involved in operating a successful film society, which happily provided me with the kind of income I needed to survive.
The Yale Daily News, I think, is basically correct in noting that naive and immature adolescents from extremely provincial backgrounds, however talented, are going to run into some real adaptation issues if they decide to accept the gold-engraved invitation to jump into the great big pond of elite university education, and not everyone will adapt.
I was one of six meritocratic Yale admissions accepted into a special Early Concentration in Philosophy program. Of our six oh-so-gifted young men, four got kicked out of Yale. Two of the four were eventually re-admitted. The other two never came back, and have never been heard from by the rest of us again. There has always been a pretty high casualty rate in the meritocracy.
We’ve recently learned that it isn’t only Harvard which has acquired a NSFW site where students (and/or alumni) post naked pictures.
Unlike Harvard’s gay-interest-only site, the Brown site is coed and publishes student-written porn.
There wasn’t any Internet back during the consulate of Plancus, but I expect we also had an adequate quantity of horny exhibitionists willing to post personal pictures on these kinds of sites back then, too.
A bit over a year ago (22 Nov 2005), the New York Sun was reporting on the spread of Naked Parties from Yale (and possibly Brown) to Columbia.
But the earliest public report probably appeared in the novel Chloe Does Yale published in March of 2004 by then Yale Senior (Timothy Dwight) Natalie Krinsky.
Today’s Times reports that the fad for naked parties was created in 1995 by the Yale Pundits, an undergraduate society which in earlier days contented itself with jokes and champagne-and-lobster lunches on the library steps.
The Pundits, founded in 1884 as a society of “campus wits,” have a history of rebelling against Yale tradition, often through elaborate pranks. They organize six to eight covert naked parties a year, which attract anywhere from 30 to 300 people to off-campus houses, neglected rooms in classroom buildings and even small libraries on campus.
“It’s one of those things people feel they need to do before they graduate,” says Megan Crandell, a senior who estimates that she has been to a half-dozen naked parties during her time at Yale. “The dynamic is completely different from a clothed party. People are so conscious of how they’re coming across that conversations end up being more sophisticated. You can’t talk about how hot that chick was the other night.”
News of Yale’s contribution to modern undergraduate social life has spread all the way to Scotland. The Scotsman.
While one campus source at Yale… says naked parties are “the No1” thing to do before graduation, students who attend the six to eight parties held each year say it can be a life-changing experience, far from the “frat-house” bawdiness portrayed in films such as Animal House…
Another Yale student, who did not want his name to become known by campus authorities – which do not try to stop the parties but do not encourage them – said: “Part of it is just the mystique of not knowing where you’re going. It’s become a hip thing to do.”
The events are magnets for social-climbers at other top academic institutions, including Columbia, MIT and Brown.
A better history, and a first person account from a Yale coed, appeared in the Yale Herald back in March of last year.
The New York Sun has discovered a recent undergraduate fad spreading from Yale (& Brown?) to Columbia: Naked Parties.
Columbia undergraduates are staging parties with one basic ground rule – all guests must part with their clothes upon arrival. The invitation circulating around Morningside Heights bans three additional items: cameras, masks, and “spikey things.”.. A student who attended the party in the spring, Richard Lipkin, said about 80 to 100 naked people – including a fair number of law and business school students – were concentrated in one apartment. Clothes were dumped near the entrance. Women slightly outnumbered men, and people were generally – if not exclusively – good looking, the type who are often more willing to flout culture’s restrictions on nudity.
Mr. Lipkin said he had no recollection of the music that was played.
“It was surprisingly comfortable,” he said. “Most of the people were quite comfortable. Everyone was pretty mature about it. I don’t think anything inappropriate went on. … People were definitely networking, but there wasn’t anything bad going on.”
A novel published last March by recent Yale graduate Natalie Krinsky (Timothy Dwight, 2004) features an account of her fictionalized heroine attending one.