Category Archive 'Peter Salovey'
23 Oct 2020
Peter Salovey, God help us! President of Yale. My dog would do a better job.
When Yale President Peter Salovey intends to make a grandiose concession to the small minority of radical student demonstrators, he first protects himself from reproach by forming an “expert committee” to develop applicable principles to be applied to the issue in question.
Salovey’s cherry-picked committee, of course, will be composed of ultra-liberal profs specifically ideologically-committed to the intended radical course Salovey intends to pursue.
A few years ago, the goal was renaming Calhoun College. This time, Yale is going to bow to student activist demands to use its investment program to make political statements stigmatizing fossil fuels.
Yesterday, Yale issued the following pretentious claptrap initiating the whole ridiculous sham process.
Yale University has formed an expert committee to guide the university as it evaluates its investment policies in relation to companies producing fossil fuels, President Peter Salovey announced Oct. 22.
The new committee is charged with recommending a set of principles that will inform Yaleâ€™s Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility (CCIR) as it applies the universityâ€™s ethical investment policy to fossil fuel companies. The CCIR works in consultation with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR).
The new committee, which will collect input from the Yale community, will begin its work immediately and will deliver the report during the Spring 2021 semester.
After a Feb. 20, 2019, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Senate meeting on fossil fuels divestment, the FAS Senate proposed that the president appoint a committee to reexamine ethical investing at Yale with respect to companies that extract or produce fossil fuels.
In Saloveyâ€™s charge to the Committee on Fossil Fuel Investment Principles (CFFIP), he noted that the changes necessary to avert an irreversible climate catastrophe â€œcannot be implemented overnight, and depend not only on scientific advancement but also [on] significant political, economic, and personal contributions.â€
â€œNonetheless,â€ he continued, â€œclimate change poses an existential threat to life on our planet, and we have a responsibility to examine whether our investment policies are appropriate or need to be modified with respect to this challenge.â€
In 2014, Yale, acting in its role as an institutional investor, asked its external investment managers to incorporate the full cost of carbon emissions in investment decisions. At the time, managers were told to avoid investing in companies that disregard the social and financial costs of climate change and that fail to take economically reasonable steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
â€œWithout diminishing the significance of these [past] efforts, I am fully aware that the alarm bells are growing louder, as scientific projections worsen, natural disasters intensify, and governments are slow to develop and implement effective policies,â€ Salovey wrote in the committee charge.
Salovey said the new committee will produce a â€œconcrete frameworkâ€ for applying to fossil fuel producers the guidelines set forth in â€œThe Ethical Investor,â€ Yale professor John Simonâ€™s highly influential 1972 book. That book established general criteria for universities to consider factors beyond economic return when making investment decisions and exercising rights as a shareholder.
The committee will identify the activities, behaviors, and/or characteristics of fossil fuel producers that would constitute â€œsocial injuryâ€ of such grave character that divestment could be warranted.
â€œThe formation of this committee demonstrates significant concern at the highest level of the university about climate change and a commitment to act proactively,â€ said CFFIP chair Jonathan R. Macey, the Sam Harris Professor of Corporate Law, Corporate Finance and Securities Law at Yale Law School. â€œOur principles for making decisions related to divestment should reflect changing circumstances and the lack of decisive action by entities such as governments that we might normally rely upon for coordinating the nationâ€™s response to existential threats like global warming.â€
The committee will include experts drawn from the Yale faculty, and may also consult with other experts in relevant fields. Its members, in addition to Macey, are Ruth Blake, professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences; Benjamin Polak, William C. Brainard Professor of Economics, School of Management, Department of Economics; Mary-Louise Timmermans, professor and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences; Xinchen Wang â€™09, director, Yale Investments Office.
The committee additionally will seek input from the wider Yale community.
Talk about the culture rotting from the top down.
19 Sep 2019
Laurie Santos, new “Head” of Silliman College, famed for teaching an extremely popular course on Happiness.
The Yale Daily News reports that a Yale junior’s Instagram quip has the campus again in a turmoil over Free Speech, with many students demanding punishment, Silliman Head Laurie Santos promising action and then crawfishing, Peter Salovey timidly defending Free Speech, and faculty arguing.
All this ICE but no detention centers in sight,â€ read the caption, beneath an Instagram photo of a Yale junior smiling amid a backdrop of snowy mountains.
Was the gaffe a distasteful joke or an affront to undocumented immigrants? Yale administrators and faculty disagreed. Screenshots of the post â€” a play on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and ice itself â€” quickly went viral on social media. Students denounced the junior for joking about the plight of undocumented immigrants, who sometimes spend weeks and months in border detention facilities. Tweets criticizing the post received thousands of likes and more than 900 retweets. One student said he is â€œglad to see that Yale is still prepping for the future generations of Kavanaughs.â€ Others urged their peers to email the head of the juniorâ€™s residential college, psychology professor Laurie Santos and demanded consequences for the junior. …
As emails requesting the student to be held accountable for his Instagram post inundated Santosâ€™ inbox, the Silliman Head of College responded to at least one studentâ€™s call for action against the junior.
â€œI have now heard about this incident from many, many students,â€ Santos wrote in the email, which was obtained by the News. â€œIâ€™m upset that a member of my community would post something like this and I will take action on it. I will be bringing this up with the proper channels.â€
While some students said they appreciated Santosâ€™ note, many members of the University community voiced concerns about the emailâ€™s implications on whether administrators and faculty members have the jurisdiction to regulate studentsâ€™ speech.
English professor David Bromwich said the idea that the junior â€œshould somehow be punished, or cited to justify a reprimand, seems a clear overreach of authority.â€
â€œ[Of] course the result [of Santosâ€™ email] would be to chill speech generally,â€ Bromwich said. â€œPeople say silly things like this all the time, on campus and in everyday life elsewhere. Will you install microphones in the potted plants and try to catch them all?â€
In an interview with the News, Chairman of the Institute for Free Speech Bradley Smith said Santosâ€™ email is â€œabsurd and anti-liberal.â€ The email sends a message that students now have to be extra careful to not upset others and â€œgives a license to social justice warriors to pick on students they donâ€™t like,â€ Smith said. He added that free speech is not only about a lack of censorship, but also about an open attitude of accepting controversial ideas.
In an email to the News on Wednesday, Santos said in hindsight, she â€œwould have worded things differently to make it clearer that what I wanted to do was gather more information â€” that was the action I had in mind.â€ …
Salovey did not comment on whether he had spoken with Santos about her handling of the matter.
â€œI would like to take this opportunity to underscore that Yale is committed firmly to free expression,â€ Salovey said. â€œTo learn, to create knowledge, to teach and to improve the world, we must engage in the exchange of ideas freely, especially when we disagree with one another. I have always encouraged members of the Yale community to participate in open discussions because the answer to speech that offends us is, most often, our own speech.â€ …
Thomas Kadri GRD â€™23 â€” who is a fellow at the Yale Information Society Project â€” added that while people should have the right to speak freely, free speech does not mean that people cannot criticize others if they dislike what is said.
â€œThat said, it might also be worrying if many students â€˜fearâ€™ the â€˜consequencesâ€™ of expressing their ideas and opinions,â€ Kadri added. â€œQuite how worrying it is would depend on a few things, I think. Are their fears reasonable? What do they actually fear will happen â€” criticism, social ostracism, bad grades on assignments, worse job prospects?â€
American Studies professor Matt Jacobson said that while the University may have some work to do, feeling uncomfortable is â€œemphatically not a â€˜free speechâ€™ issue of the constitutional sort.â€ Self-censorship is different from government censorship, and is in some cases â€œan organic response to the contending interests and the internalized dissonance brought about by social change and societal polarization,â€ Jacobson said.
He added that even if the climate issues on campus are very real and need to be addressed, it is important to recognize that there is a concerted effort on the right to use free speech as an instrument to advance a particular agenda, such as framing discrimination of ethnic, religious and racial minorities as freedom of expression.
06 Mar 2019
Michael Rubin (DP ’94) provides a nearly complete list of Peter Salovey’s atrocities as President of Yale and reports that the chickens are finally coming home to roost: big donors are declining to support the Salovey regime.
He threw respect for free speech and decorum under the bus when he compelled the resignation of Silliman College master Nicholas Christakis in the face of the â€œshrieking girlâ€ controversy. He legitimized violence when he rehired a dishwasher who smashed a historic stained glass window. In general, he catered to the loudest on campus, always willing to grease the squeaky wheel regardless of the consequence.
When students complained that the term “freshmen” disrespected women and “master” made African-Americans uncomfortable, he simply ordered their change, never mind that it was he who was racializing a term that had ancient collegiate roots. That Yale continues to issue masterâ€™s degrees only highlights the lack of intellectual consistency.
Then, when decades-long student protests persisted with regard to a residential college named after 19th century statesmen and Vice President John Calhoun due to the support Calhoun professed during his lifetime for slavery, Salovey first said he would keep the name out of respect for history but, when criticized by student activists, convened a handpicked and Orwellian â€œ Committee to Establish Principles on Renamingâ€ which recommended changing the name of the college. The problem with such a move was not simply the willingness to erase history at one of the nationâ€™s most elite universities, but also intellectual inconsistency: Calhoun may have provided intellectual sustenance to the pro-slavery south, a not uncommon position at the time, but Elihu Yale, after whom the entire university is named, actually traded slaves during his lifetime.
Saloveyâ€™s hostility toward history has extended further to university tradition. Yale long prided itself on being centered on its undergraduates. Admissions officers sang the merits of residential colleges, each a unique community within the broader university. But, Salovey, who did not attend Yale as an undergraduate, homogenized the colleges in order to eliminate any differences between them. While the freshmen class dined together in â€œUniversity Commonsâ€ since 1901, he closed the iconic dining hall in order to build a student center whose need (or need in that location) most students (let alone alumni) continue to question. Most recently, Salovey has put the open stacks of Yaleâ€™s underground library on the chopping block.
Now, it seems that the university is paying the price for Saloveyâ€™s general gutlessness. Yale has, for years, been seeking to undertake a major capital campaign. Often, universities announce their campaigns after a silent stage in which they get high-profile donors to commit to the effort. According to staffers within Yaleâ€™s fundraising arm, the university was forced to delay its campaign for several years because big donors are rightly worried about Yaleâ€™s direction and its tendency to prioritize politics above academics.
Yaleâ€™s embrace of identity politics reinvigorates self-segregation and pits groups against each other. An ever-expanding array of ethnic deans spoon feeds ideology to students rather than make them organize for themselves. Yale administrators, largely for political reasons, increasingly seek to weigh in on the private lives of students off campus. Donations are declining as faculty and student antics increasingly hit national headlines or the courts. Giving in the first quarter of the last fiscal year, for example, is lower than in the period for the four previous years.
Yale is also falling behind in fundraising among its peer group of universities as alumni decide not to give. Older alum largely disagree with the direction of the university as it subordinates academe to social action, while the younger alumni whom Salovey sought to appease do not understand why they should donate to a university with a nearly $30 billion endowment. Rather than question fundamentally why the money is no longer rolling in, the universityâ€™s response is simply to cease reporting donation statistics.
While Yale cultivates a reputation as an educational and intellectual center, its emphasis under Salovey has been more about politics and social justice. The university trumpets ethnic, religious, and sexual orientation diversity, but shuns intellectual diversity which arguably should trump every other kind.
Perhaps the decline in donations is a sign that Yaleâ€™s, and, by extension, other elite universitiesâ€™, ability to coast on reputation while treating its core education mission with disdain has come to an end. Perhaps it is time for Salovey to resign.
Michael Rubin was himself too-PC to include in Salovey’s list of crimes the naming of one of the two new residential colleges for a black lesbian communist whom nobody outside the Radical Left had ever heard of.
Salovey’s concession to Charles Johnson ’54 of Franklin Resources, who ponied up the $250 million to build two new residential colleges in naming one of the new colleges after Benjamin Frankin, a particular hero of Johnson’s unfortunately lacking any meaningful connection to Yale, was regrettable, but comprehensible. He who pays the piper calls the tune and all that. But a lot of us would rather have seen New Residential College 2 named for “Benjamin Franklin’s Dog” instead of for an obscure agitator with only the tenuous connection of a post-Law doctoral degree acquired at Yale Law at the age of 55. Only Peter Salovey would overlook the opportunity to name one of two new colleges located at the foot of Science Hill for Josiah Willard Gibbs.
15 Nov 2018
According to the Yale Daily News, mocking African-American group poses is “racially provocative.”
The Oldest (and seriously competing for Left-est) College Daily was outraged.
The Yale Police Department is investigating reports from Yale students who witnessed two masked people post racially provocative flyers on bulletin boards around Cross Campus on Tuesday night. …
Yale students took photos of the posters, removed them from the bulletin board, replaced them with messages of support for people of color and reported the incident to Yale student life staff and the YPD on Tuesday night. The flyers depicted the symbol of a â€œWhite Students’ Union of Yaleâ€ and quoted slavery advocate and class of 1804 graduate John Calhoun â€” the former namesake of what is now Grace Hopper College. The quote reads, â€œIn looking back, I see nothing to regret, and little to correct.â€
YPD officers are currently reviewing camera footage to identify the perpetrators, Goff-Crews told the News. … The department has also stepped up its patrols in â€œsensitive areas on campus,â€ including the center of Yaleâ€™s campus, where the incident occured [sic].
â€œI find the sentiments signified by these flyers deeply troubling, and I want to be clear: hate is not welcome on our campus,â€ Salovey wrote in a campuswide email. â€œAs I have said in the past, the answer to speech one finds repugnant is more speech. [Flyers aren’t speech? Quotations from Calhoun aren’t speech? – JDZ] I have no doubt that the members of the Yale community will respond to expressions of hate, racism, and exclusion on this campus with even stronger affirmations of our valuesâ€”and a renewed commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive community where all people are welcomed.â€
In the email, Salovey confirmed that the perpetrators violated a University policy which only permits registered student organizations to post flyers on campus [Oh, my! that is an expulsion-worthy offense for sure. –JDZ].
Yale has notified the Southern Poverty Law Center â€” which monitors hate groups in the U.S. â€” and the Anti-Defamation League â€” a Jewish group that fights anti-Semitism and bigotry â€” about the incident, according to Saloveyâ€™s email. …
On Tuesday night, a student posted a photograph of the flyer on the popular Facebook group â€œOverheard at Yale,â€ prompting heavy backlash against the perpetrators among commenters.
Students and alumni interviewed by the News condemned the flyers. Prior to Saloveyâ€™s email, at least two individuals told the News that they contacted Saloveyâ€™s office calling for the University to respond to the incident.
On Wednesday morning, Gene Lyman â€™92 also emailed Saloveyâ€™s office calling on the University to investigate the situation thoroughly, discipline any current students involved and â€œreassert Yaleâ€™s values as an inclusive and intellectually honest community.â€
â€œEven if this should prove a hoax, or someoneâ€™s sick idea of a joke, I cannot emphasize enough how unacceptable the sentiment expressed in these flyers is,â€ Lyman wrote in the email to Salovey.
Lyman said he received a response from Joy McGrath, Saloveyâ€™s chief of staff, as well as Saloveyâ€™s email to the Yale community.
Sohum Pal â€™20 sent an email about the incident to Salovey, Goff-Crews and Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun on Tuesday night. In his email, Pal called for the establishment of a Title VI office, which would enforce the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color and national origin at educational institutions, and for a systematic change in University responses to grievances around racial discrimination. Pal said that the University should create a â€œmechanism for changeâ€ instead of releasing emails to â€œreaffirm its commitments.â€
â€œTonight, people put up these fliers around campus,â€ Pal wrote in his email. â€œI felt vulnerable â€” is it any surprise? My time at Yale has been many things â€” sometimes empowering, but more often Iâ€™ve been struck at how expendable students, faculty, and staff of color must be to the university.â€ Unlike Lyman, Pal said he received no direct response to his email.
Ashtan Towles â€™19, a former peer liaison for the Afro-American Cultural Center, told the News that while the perpetrators remain unknown, the act was â€œdone in cowardice,â€ comparing the masked individuals to Klu Klux Klan members who don masks to protect their identities.
â€œThis incident is merely one of thousands through which white nationalists have attempted to stoke fear in Black communities, but I am always in awe of the resilience and pride that exists in the Black community at Yale,â€ Towles said in an email to the News.
According to Simon Ghebreyesus â€™21, the sentiments of white pride in the flyers are a â€œsinister presenceâ€ for students of color to grapple with at Yale and across the country.
Epongue Ekille â€™21 told the News that she had generally viewed Yale as a racially inclusive place but the flyer incident â€œnegates it all.â€
â€œIt was both surprising and not at the same time. Although Yale is proud of its diversity, the matter of the fact is that the student population is majority white and wealthy,â€ Ekille said. â€œIâ€™m not surprised that people who have these opinions exist at Yale, Iâ€™m just surprised that they would publicly advertise it.â€
Evidently, the answer to speech satirizing the rhetoric and poses of African-American Identity Group activists is not actually “more speech.” The answer is to publish hysterical news stories, to refer to the “repugnant speech” as “discrimination,” and “exclusion,” and “hate,” to suggest that it constitutes a possible violation of federal anti-discrimination law, and to treat it as a proper basis for investigation, notification of national left-wing speech and thought supervisory groups, and disciplinary sanctions.
How terribly cowardly it was of those right-wing students to conceal their identities!
13 Dec 2017
If you were a member of the Yale community, you received this Christmas card (carefully designed to avoid so much as mentioning Christmas) from Yale President Peter Salovey.
25 May 2017
Heather MacDonald debunks Peter Salovey’s sanctimonious PC nonsense.
Yale Universityâ€™s president recently provided a window into the modern universityâ€™s self-conceptionâ€”an understanding embraced by both liberals and conservatives but flawed in essential ways. A primary purpose of a Yale education, President Peter Salovey told Yaleâ€™s freshman class last year, is to teach students to recognize â€œfalse narratives.â€ Such narratives, Salovey claimed, are ubiquitous in American culture: â€œMy sense is that we are bombarded daily by false narratives of various kinds, and that they are doing a great deal of damage.â€ Advocates may â€œexaggerate or distort or neglect crucial facts,â€ Salovey said, â€œin ways that serve primarily to fuel your anger, fear, or disgust.â€ (Salovey repeated this trilogy of â€œanger, fear, and disgustâ€ several times; it was impossible not to hear a reference to Donald Trump, though Salovey tried to stay nonpartisan.)
According to Salovey, the Yale faculty is a model for how to respond to false narratives: they are united by a â€œstubborn skepticism about narratives that oversimplify issues, inflame the emotions, or misdirect the mind,â€ he said.
Two things can be said about Saloveyâ€™s theme: first, it is hilariously wrong about the actual state of â€œstubborn skepticismâ€ at Yale. Second, and more important, Salovey mistakes the true mission of a college education.
To assess whether Yale is, in fact, a bastion of myth-busting, it is necessary to return to one of the darkest moments in Yaleâ€™s history: the universityâ€™s response to a shocking mass outbreak of student narcissism in October 2015. The wife of a college master had sent an e-mail to students, suggesting that they were capable of deciding for themselves which Halloween costume to wear and didnâ€™t need oversight from Yaleâ€™s diversity commissars. (Halloween costumes have been the target of the PC police nationally for allegedly â€œappropriatingâ€ minority cultures.)
The e-mail sparked a furor among minority students across Yale and beyond, who claimed that it threatened their very being. In one of many charged gatherings that followed, students surrounded the college master, berating him for the pain that his wife had caused them. One female student was captured on video violently gesturing at the master and shrieking, â€œBe quiet!â€ as he gently tries to answer her tirade. She then screams: â€œWhy the fuck did you accept this position [of college master]? Who the fuck hired you?â€
Of all the Black Lives Matterâ€“inspired protests that were sweeping campuses at that moment, Yaleâ€™s shrieking-girl episode was the most grotesque. In reaction, Yale groveled. President Salovey sent around a campus-wide letter declaring that he had never been as â€œsimultaneously moved, challenged, and encouraged by our communityâ€”and all the promise it embodiesâ€”as in the past two weeks.â€ He proclaimed the need to work â€œtoward a better, more diverse, and more inclusive Yaleâ€â€”implying that Yale was not â€œinclusiveâ€ â€”and thanked students for offering him â€œthe opportunity to listen to and learn from you.â€ That the shrieking girl had refused to listen to her college masterâ€”or to give him an opportunity to speakâ€”was never mentioned; she suffered no known repercussions for her outrageous incivility. Salovey went on to pledge a reinforced â€œcommitment to a campus where hatred and discrimination have no place,â€ implying that hatred and discrimination currently did have a place at Yale. Salovey announced that the entire administration, including faculty chairs and deans, would receive training on how to combat racism at Yale and reiterated a promise to dump another $50 million into Yaleâ€™s already all-consuming diversity efforts.
If ever there were a narrative worthy of being subjected to â€œstubborn skepticism,â€ in Saloveyâ€™s words, the claim that Yale was the home of â€œhatred and discriminationâ€ is it. There is not a single faculty member or administrator at Yale (or any other American college) who does not want minority students to succeed. Yale has been obsessed with what the academy calls â€œdiversity,â€ trying to admit and hire as many â€œunderrepresented minoritiesâ€ as it possibly can without totally eviscerating academic standards. There has never been a more tolerant social environment in human history than Yale (and every other American college)â€”at least if you donâ€™t challenge the reigning political orthodoxies. Any Yale student who thinks himself victimized by the institution is in the throes of a terrible delusion, unable to understand his supreme good fortune in ending up at one of the most august and richly endowed universities in the world.
But the ubiquitous claim that American campuses are riven with racism is not, apparently, one of the â€œfalse narrativesâ€ that Salovey had in mind. Not only did the president endorse that claim, but the husband-and-wife team who had triggered the Halloween costume furor penned a sycophantic apology to minority students in their residential college: â€œWe understand that [the original e-mail] was hurtful to you, and we are truly sorry,â€ wrote Professors Nicholas and Erika Christakis. â€œWe understand that many students feel voiceless in diverse ways and we want you to know that we hear you and we will support you.â€ Yaleâ€™s minority students may â€œfeelâ€ voiceless, but that feeling is just as delusional as the feeling that Yale is not â€œinclusive.â€
So Saloveyâ€™s claim that Yale resolutely seeks out and unmasks â€œfalse narrativesâ€ is itself a false narrative.
04 Feb 2017
John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850), Yale Class of 1804, 7th Vice President of the United States 1825-1832.
Peter Salovey’s hand-picked committee of Social Justice Warriors has deliberated and, what do you know? They decided that John C. Calhoun should be singled out among all nine slave-owner and slavery defender namesakes of three quarters of the original twelve Yale residential colleges for elimination.
Oldest College Daily:
A University task force has recommended that Calhoun College be renamed, according to Yale officials with knowledge of the groupâ€™s report.
The recommendation from the task force, which was charged with applying the Universityâ€™s newly created principles on renaming to the Calhoun debate, positions the Yale Corporation to rename the college when it meets the weekend of Feb. 10 and 11.
University President Peter Salovey formed the Calhoun task force in December, after the Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming released its report. The task force consisted of two faculty members, history professor John Gaddis and English and African American Studies professor Jacqueline Goldsby GRD â€™98, and one alumnus, G. Leonard Baker â€™64. Both Gaddis and Goldsby signed a faculty petition last spring calling for the renaming of Calhoun, named after slavery proponent John C. Calhoun, class of 1804.
On Jan. 13, the task force submitted its recommendation â€” which came in the form of a report running less than 10 pages â€” to Salovey, who will present it to the Corporation at the February meeting.
Last month, Salovey told the News that he did not plan to release the recommendation until after that meeting. Salovey was not involved in the task forceâ€™s deliberations, although he did have some input on the final draft of the report.
â€œThe task force did their work independently, and their analysis and recommendations are their own,â€ Salovey said in January. â€œThey gave me the courtesy of letting me see a next-to-final draft of their report, and make some comments. But my comments to them were really only about sort of clarifying the way their findings were expressed.â€
If the Corporation accepts the task forceâ€™s recommendation, the University trustees would be voting to reverse their decision last April to keep Calhounâ€™s name. The April renaming decision incited months of student and faculty backlash, and helped unite Yale activists and New Haven community members in a growing â€œchange the nameâ€ movement.
Last August, primarily in response to faculty criticism of the decision to keep the name of Calhoun, Salovey charged the CEPR with outlining broad guidelines for all renaming disputes at the University, starting with Calhoun. The committee released its 24-page report on Dec. 2, calling on administrators to consider historical context as they determine whether the legacies of controversial namesakes like Calhoun justify renaming campus buildings.
Vice President for Communications Eileen Oâ€™Connor declined to comment on the nature of the task forceâ€™s recommendation, but said the Corporation will decide the Calhoun issue at its meeting later this month.
â€œWe have a process, weâ€™re following the process, and weâ€™ll take all the information into account when we make a decision in the best interests of the University,â€ Oâ€™Connor said.
Why stop there? Roger Kimball asked last August in the WSJ:
I have unhappy news for Mr. Salovey. In the great racism sweepstakes, John Calhoun was an amateur. Far more egregious was Elihu Yale, the philanthropist whose benefactions helped found the university. As an administrator in India, he was deeply involved in the slave trade. He always made sure that ships leaving his jurisdiction for Europe carried at least 10 slaves. I propose that the committee on renaming table the issue of Calhoun College and concentrate on the far more flagrant name â€œYale.â€
Elihu Yale had a little black page.
15 Nov 2016
Up at Yale yesterday, they renamed the dining hall of Calhoun College for Roosevelt Thompson, a Yale student of color of the Class of 1984 who got killed in a car crash his senior year.
John C. Calhoun, a non-colored Yale graduate of the Class of 1804, was originally the namesake of the Yale residential college and dining hall which opened in 1933. Calhoun was singled out for that honor on the basis of having been Vice President of the United States, and thus being, as the college’s Wikipedia entry notes, “the only Yale graduate to be elected to a federal executive office in the school’s first two centuries, until the election of U.S. President William Howard Taft in 1909.”
John C. Calhoun served additionally as Secretary of State and Secretary of War. He was elected four times to the House of Representatives, and twice to the U.S. Senate. In the Senate, the strength of his ideas and his rhetorical powers won Calhoun the very exceptional place in History of being traditionally regarded as one of the three all-time giants, along with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay, as the “Great Triumvirate” or the “Immortal Trio,” of that legislative chamber.
John C. Calhoun, beyond his political career, was distinguished as the greatest and most influential writer on Political Philosophy ever produced by Yale. Calhoun was on the losing side of history, as a supporter of Secession and States’ Rights, and as an agrarian defender of Slavery as a benevolent institution and a positive good. His opinions on those issues were defeated on the battlefield, and History has turned the page, but his spirited defense of the rights of minorities to be protected as “concurrent majorities” by limitations on the numerical power of the majority still deserves contemporary consideration and respect.
Roosevelt Thompson is demonstrably considered worthier of (so far, only) Calhoun’s Dining Hall simply on the bases of being born with melanin in his skin, being a popular and successful student, and having died young. Whether the appropriation of John C. Calhoun’s honors at Yale stops with the dining hall remains to be seen. Yale President Peter Salovey mendaciously announced last April that Calhoun College would be keeping its name, then, in late summer, announced the appointment of a “Committee to Establish Principles of Renaming.” Salovey’s Stalinist Renaming Committee is stocked fully with Social Justice Warriors and opponents of hierarchy, Southern Agrarianism, States’ Rights, and John C. Calhoun, so the fix is in.
26 Oct 2016
Former Silliman College Master Nicholas Christakis told by Shrieking Student to resign. He promptly went on sabbatical and then did resign.
Richard Epstein contemplates the shame of Yale’s sexual misconduct star chamber tribunals along with the hypocrisy of President Peter Salovey’s claim that Free Speech flourishes at Yale.
Salovey takes great pride in noting â€œthe Yale administration did not criticize, discipline, or dismiss a single member of its faculty, staff, or student body for expressing an opinion.â€ That sentence may be technically true, but it does not explain why Salovey did not mention the unfortunate fate of Nicholas and Erika Christakis, both of whom resigned from Yale under massive pressure after student protestors demanded that Nicholas be removed from his position as master of Silliman College. Why? Because Erika had written an email that took issue with a letter from Yaleâ€™s Intercultural Affairs Committee that warned students against various insensitive forms of behaviors, like wearing offensive Halloween costumes. The letter noted, like Saloveyâ€™s op-ed, that Yale values â€œfree expression as well as inclusivity.â€ But the massive level of abuse directed at Nicholas and Erika Christakis reveals how strongly Yale weighs one imperative over the other.
Read the whole thing.
Yale surrendered to the Obama Justice Department’s Russlyn Ali, immediately upon receipt of her infamous “Dear Colleague letter,” which threatened withholding of federal funds to universities which failed to establish
Sexual Harassment Inquisitorial procedures forthwith.
President Salovey announced last Fall that he was firmly behind the Christakises, when outraged student demonstrations erupted after Mrs. Christakis wrote an email questioning the appropriateness of an Intercultural Student Affairs edict warning against students wearing Halloween costumes which could be interpreted as belittling or culturally appropriative: no sombreros, no blackface, no turbans. Both Christakises, nonetheless, were out of the Master’s House in Silliman in short order and out of New Haven. A decent interval, up until the next Mid-Summer, was allowed to go by to save Yale’s face, before Nicholas Christakis’s permanent resignation was announced. Way to go, Free Speech at Yale!
18 Oct 2016
When Yale established the residential college system in emulation of the independent colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, one of the then ten colleges established was named for Class of 1804 alumnus and one-time Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of War, illustrious Senator and political theorist John C. Calhoun.
Wikipedia puts it blandly:
Because of his political, military, and intellectual achievements, Calhoun was venerated as an illustrious Yale alumnus beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. He was the only Yale graduate to be elected to a federal executive office in the school’s first two centuries, until the election of U.S. President William Howard Taft in 1909.
But the reality is, Southerner and intellectual father of the Lost Cause though he was, John C. Calhoun, in the era preceding the radical left’s Long March through the Culture and the Universities, was universally regarded as one of the three all-time giants of the Senate, and the single most important American statesman and political thinker to have ever graduated from Yale.
Last April 27th, Yale President Salovey announced that the University was declining to comply with demands from snowflakes of color that Calhoun College be renamed. This rebuff was, however, accompanied by other payoffs: the traditional title of “Master” for the distinguished senior faculty member who presided over a Yale residential college would be henceforward changed to “Head,” lest some dimbulb darkie confusing an ancient academic title with a reference to Antebellum Slavery be offended, and one of the two new residential colleges under construction would be named for some African-American leftist dyke whom no non-communist had ever previously heard of.
The fate of John C. Calhoun’s college seemed to be settled, but, no! it turned out that Salovey was a welsher. Just a few months later, when August rolled around, Salovey announced the formation of an Orwellian “Committee to Establish Principles of Renaming.”
The membership of that committee included a variety of individual SJWs, all obviously keenly committed to contemporary political perspectives intensely hostile to the culture and institutions of the Antebellum Southern United States and passionately opposed to the sectional and anti-egalitarian views of the late Senator Calhoun. There will be found on that committee not one single conservative, one defender of the Southern perspective, one admirer of Calhoun, or even one Old Blue traditionalist. The renaming committee is still currently holding meetings, but to say that its ultimate report is a foregone conclusion would be an massive understatement.
1997 alumnus Alexander Zubatov is the kind of graduate who ought to be in charge, but is not. Zubatov writes indignantly:
[T]he very name, â€œCommittee to Establish Principles on Renaming,â€ …sounds like something Josef Stalin would have come up with while attempting to whitewash Soviet history of references to tsars, saints and that sort of thing. The act of erecting a one-issue litmus test for whitewashing American universities of references to slavery is equally myopic and dystopian. Undoubtedly, those immersed in the committeeâ€™s mission would believe the difference is that they are doing the good Lordâ€™s work in furtherance of a just cause, and yet, wouldnâ€™t they have to concede that Soviets visionaries and bureaucrats surely shared that view?
This nation has become obsessed with race, racism, slavery, discrimination and the cancer of regressive, zero-sum, winner-take-all identity politics, with the result that ideologues on the left and right are ensuring Americans are divided, polarized and pitted against each other based on their most superficial identifications. Yale, like many institutions of higher education in America, appears to have lost sight of the fact that part of the mission of an educational institution should be to avoid trend-hopping and to remain above the fray, to stand back from the dust cloud of our present-day turmoil and avail itself of the more nuanced and distanced vantage points conferred by academic disciplines such as history and philosophy, which further deep reflection rather than shallow proclamations and knee-jerk actions. By contrast, a university that is constantly bobbing and weaving in fear as a response to every whim of impulsive students who have not yet acquired the ability to stand back and think is a university that has lost sight of its educational mission. It is a university being run by spineless technocrats and cynical profiteers afraid of losing a few dollars for a few days on account of being branded â€œracistâ€ in some hysterical student screed, YouTube video, or viral Tweet.
I have no doubt whatsoever that those who act most rashly today will be judged most harshly by history tomorrow. What we need today is not the renaming of buildings but a re-framing of the entire debate so that the question is not under what conditions we should or should not rename buildings, but rather, why it is that we have come to a point in our culture where so many people have become so over-determined by what Max Weber referred to as their â€œstatus groupsâ€ (races, gender affiliations, sexual proclivities, etc.) that they are blinded to the common good of our society as a whole.
Read the whole thing and shed a tear for Yale and another for the late Senator from South Carolina.
28 Apr 2016
John Caldwell Calhoun; Y’ 1804; Vice President of the United States, 1825-1832; Secretary of State, 1844-1845; Secretary of War, 1817-1825; Senator from South Carolina, 1832-1843 and 1845-1850; Member House of Representatives representing 6th District of South Carolina, 1811-1817; Author, Disquisition on Government (1849), Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States (1851); defender of States’ Rights and proponent of the “Concurrent Majority” doctrine holding that minorities ought to have the right in extremis to block majority rule; and member of the all-time Great Triumvirate of the U.S. Senate.
1) Calhoun College stays Calhoun College.
Yale President Salovey announced yesterday afternoon, the Oldest College Daily reported, that the residential college named for Yale’s greatest political thinker and statesman would retain its name, despite John C. Calhoun having held, in the first half of the 19th century, positions on Slavery and inherent Racial Inferiority generally regarded with abhorrence today.
Salovey justified this decision on the part of the Administration and the Corporation, saying:
Removing Calhounâ€™s name obscures the legacy of slavery rather than addressing it. Erasing Calhounâ€™s name from a much-beloved residential college risks masking this past, downplaying the lasting effects of slavery and substituting a false and misleading narrative, albeit one that might allow us to feel complacent or, even, self-congratulatory.â€
I suspect that, unreported, unacknowledged, and unsung, somewhere in the decision-making meeting rooms in Woodbridge Hall a dramatic last stand was taken by someone on behalf on history, tradition, and sanity, and that there must have been some terrible threat of a grand financial legacy being withheld were Calhoun’s name to be removed.
Master’s House, Trumbull College
2) The Title of “Master” of a Residential College Will Be Changed to “Head.”
The use of â€œmasterâ€ as a title at Yale is a legacy of the college systems at Oxford and Cambridge. The term derives from the Latin magister, meaning â€œchief, head, director, teacher,â€ and it appears in the titles of university degrees (master of arts, master of science, and others) and in many aspects of the larger culture (master craftsman, master builder). Some members of our community argued that discarding the term â€œmasterâ€ would interject into an ancient collegiate tradition a racial narrative that has never been associated with its use in the academy. Others maintained that regardless of its history of use in the academy, the titleâ€”especially when applied to an authority figureâ€”carries a painful and unwelcome connotation that can be difficult or impossible for some students and residential college staff to ignore.
Among the many comments considered on this matter, the thoughts and recommendations of the current Council of Masters, the twelve heads of the existing residential colleges, were especially salient. The council deliberated at length, informed by a multitude of discussions with students, staff, faculty, and fellows, as well as by reflections submitted to an online site open to all members of each residential college community. The council also monitored similar discussions at other colleges and universities, although its members were determined to arrive at their recommendations bearing in mind Yaleâ€™s distinctive traditions and culture.
The council found that making a recommendation to change the title was far from simple. People held a wide range of views, not as strongly correlated as some might have predicted with circumstances of age, race, or position in the college community. Nothing about the term itself is intrinsically tied to Yaleâ€™s history prior to 1930, or to the relationships that students of each generation have formed or will form with the individuals who lead their colleges. Moreover, a decision to stop using the term â€œmasterâ€ does not compromise the study of larger historical issues. In short, the reasons to change the title of â€œmasterâ€ proved more compelling than the reasons to keep it, and the current masters themselves no longer felt it appropriate to be addressed in that manner.
Not incidental to the discussion was the task of finding an alternative title that speaks to the definition and responsibilities of the office. In this respect, â€œhead of collegeâ€ is the most logical and straightforward choice. In its favor is that archival records show that â€œheadâ€ and â€œheadshipâ€ were placeholders for the title in the original planning documents. Heads of college may be addressed as professor, doctor, or Mr. or Ms., as applicable or as they prefer.
Alumni, particularly those of Calhoun College, actually cared about their college’s name being changed. Nobody particularly cared about the Master title, so Master was obviously the perfect sacrifice to fling upon the PC bonfire to appease the mob.
Yalies tend to be pedantic and good at research, so one does wonder why Peter Salovey and his powers-that-be confreres did not trouble themselves to consider “Warden,” “Rector,” or even “President” (as at Magdalen College, Oxford), but instead followed sheepishly along in the lame footsteps of Harvard and Princeton in changing that title to “Head.” It rankles, I think, that the pathetic creature occupying the chair in which John Hersey once sat, set the contemptible policy which the entire set of residential college will be proceeding to follow.
Benjamin West, Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky, 1816, Philadelphia Museum of Art
3. The new residential colleges will be named for Benjamin Franklin and Pauli Murray (whoever the hell she is).
Peter Salovey explained:
Benjamin Franklin College will recognize the recipient of a Yale honorary degree (1753 Hon. M.A.) whose immense accomplishments span the arts, the sciences, government, and service to society. The 41 published volumes of his papers, which contain the record of Benjamin Franklinâ€™s life correspondence, are among the Yale University Libraryâ€™s most important collections. The Franklin Papers represent the work of many Yale scholars and editors and, among the historical insights they offer, shed light on Franklinâ€™s relationship with Yale University. He carried on a decades-long correspondence with Yale President Ezra Stiles on subjects ranging from scientific research to the growing collections of Yaleâ€™s library.
John Adams, I guess, would have disagreed with this choice. He said of Dr. Franklin, in a 1783 letter to James Warren: “His whole life has been one continued insult to good manners and to decency.â€
But most of us today are nowhere nearly as censorious of Franklin’s illegitimate son and illegitimate grandson or of Franklin’s (1747) The Speech of Polly Baker, defending a fictional woman for bearing illegitimate children.
Franklin’s accomplishments in literature and scientific experiments and as a founder of the United States are so great that nobody could deny his worthiness as the namesake of a college.
The only problem is that he really had no genuine substantive connection to Yale.
Apparently, what really went on here was was explained in a letter from Salovey:
[A]dopting his name for one of the new colleges, we honor as well the generosity of Charles B. Johnson â€™54 B.A., who considers Franklin a personal role model. Mr. Johnsonâ€™s contribution to enable the construction of the new colleges is the single largest gift made to Yale. Pauli Murray College and Benjamin Franklin College, which will open Yaleâ€™s doors to thousands of additional future students, would not have been possible without his philanthropic vision.
Money talks. It isn’t really appropriate, but the man paid for the piper, so he gets to call the tune. It could be worse. We could have a residential college named “Pforzheimer.”
Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray, Y â€™65 J.S.D., â€™79 Hon. D.Div., four-fer, maybe five-fer
And, then, of course, we come to the piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance, the inevitable jolie cadeau de la rÃ©volution franÃ§aise, the big, fat chunk of tokenism:
The northern-most college, sited closest to Science Hill, Pauli Murray College will honor a Yale alumna (â€™65 J.S.D., â€™79 Hon. D.Div.) noted for her achievements in law and religion, and for her leadership in civil rights and the advancement of women. Pauli Murray enrolled at Hunter College in the 1920s, graduating in 1933 after deferring her studies following the Great Depression. Later, she began an unsuccessful campaign to enter the all-white University of North Carolina. Murrayâ€™s case received national publicity, and she became widely recognized as a civil rights activist.
A graduate of Howard Law School, Murray had an extraordinary legal career as a champion of racial and gender equity. United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall cited her book, Statesâ€™ Laws on Race and Color, for its influence on the lawyers fighting segregation laws. President John F. Kennedy appointed her to the Committee on Civil and Political Rights of the Presidentâ€™s Commission on the Status of Women.
Awarded a fellowship by the Ford Foundation, Murray pursued a doctorate in law at Yale in order to further her scholarly work on gender and racial justice. She co-authored Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII, in which she drew parallels between gender-based discrimination and Jim Crow laws. In 1965, she received her J.S.D. from Yale Law School, the first African-American to do so. Her dissertation was entitled, Roots of the Racial Crisis: Prologue to Policy. Immediately thereafter, she served as counsel in White v. Crook, which successfully challenged discrimination on the basis of sex and race in jury selection. She was a cofounder, with thirty-one others, of the National Organization for Women.
Murray was a vice president of Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina; she left to become a professor at Brandeis University, where she earned tenure and taught until 1973. She was the first person to teach African-American studies and womenâ€™s studies at Brandeis.
The final stage of Murrayâ€™s career continued a life marked by confronting challenges and breaking down barriers. At age 63, inspired by her connections with other women in the Episcopal Church, she left Brandeis and enrolled at the General Theological Seminary. She became the first African-American woman ordained as an Episcopal priest..
And you’ve got to hand it to Salovey, the Yale Administration, and the Corporation. When they set out to truckle and to pander to contemporary whiny left-wing identity groups, they do it good and proper. Obviously, in reality, there are no females, there are no African-Americans associated with Yale so eminent or of such accomplishment as to be even close to being genuinely worthy of being the namesake of a Yale College. Hilariously, as well, nobody outside the organized left has ever actually heard of Pauli Murray but, upon looking her up, one finds that, if you are going to pander, she is the cat’s pajamas. Pauli Murray was merely a minor left-wing public nuisance and lived and died in obscurity, but she combines in one small dusky package absolutely everything: she was female, African-American, queer, an Episcopalian priestess, and a transgender wannabee. What a deal! Let’s hope Yale, in future, treats Murray College as its own equivalent of California, and sends all of its commies, fruits, and nuts to go live there at the remote extremity of the campus.
14 Nov 2015
A crowd of student demonstrators dropped by Yale President Salovey’s house on Hillhouse Avenue late on Thursday with a few modest demands.
Yale Daily News:
At close to midnight on Thursday night, roughly 200 students marched to University President Peter Saloveyâ€™s home on Hillhouse Avenue under a new name â€” Next Yale â€” wielding a new set of demands.
The students said the new movement will hold Yale accountable to its students of color and that a diverse coalition of students crafted the new demands. …
Salovey told the News that University leaders will â€œseriouslyâ€ review the new set of demands and reiterated that a response to them will be issued next week.
Salovey said he considers the manner by which the students delivered the demands entirely acceptable and in compliance with University policy.
â€œThis was a peaceful group of students visiting me at my home at a somewhat late hour, completely consistent with University protest policy,â€ he said.
Next Yaleâ€™s six demands each involved several parts. The first, which focuses on ethnic studies, demands that all Yale undergraduates be required to fulfill an ethnic studies distributional requirement and that the Ethnicity, Race and Migration Program be given departmental status immediately.
The second demand centered on mental health services, a topic that has been prominent in campus discussions and forums over the past two weeks. Next Yale calls for the University to hire mental health professionals in each of the four cultural centers, as well as increased mental health professionals of color at Yale Mental Health and Counseling.
Another demand asked for an increase of $2 million to the current annual operating budget of each cultural center, as well as five full-time staff members for each.
The students also demanded that Calhoun College be renamed and that the two new residential colleges be named after people of color. Under this demand, they also asked for the abolishment of the title â€œmasterâ€ and the building of a monument on Cross Campus to acknowledge that Yale was founded on stolen indigenous land.
After the gathering, Salovey told the News that decisions about renaming and naming residential colleges fall under the domain of the Yale Corporation, the governing board and policy-making body for Yale.
The fifth demand, directly addressing recent racial controversies on campus, called for the removal of Nicholas and Erika Christakis from their administrative positions. The final demand focused on allocating resources to support the physical well-being of international, first-generation, low-income and undocumented students.
Robert Long, at Ricochet, looks on the bright side of all this.
At Yale, a group of students has exploited their overseersâ€™ weak and pathetic need to appear â€œinclusiveâ€ and â€œnurturingâ€ and â€œsafe.â€ Weâ€™ve all seen the pictures: thoughtful and intellectually accomplished professors and administrators begging their charges for forgiveness, covering themselves in shame and remorse, confessing to all sorts of crimes and shortcomings. …
[P]retty impressive for a group of students at one of the most elite universities in the world. Think of the exams theyâ€™ve been able to get cancelled! Think of the late term papers that wonâ€™t be penalized!
Letâ€™s total up the life skills on display here: 1. brilliant use of financial leverage; 2. exploiting an opponentâ€™s weakness and cowardice; 3. remorselessly demanding that heads roll; 4. and hereâ€™s the best one: Doing it all on someone elseâ€™s dime!
I donâ€™t know about you, but those seem like some pretty impressive life and business skills. I donâ€™t know about you, but if I were a college recruiter from, say, Goldman Sachs, Iâ€™d have to say that these are exactly the skills Iâ€™m looking for.
Economics, financial statistics, that sort of thing you can learn in a webinar. But an instinct for blood and power? Thatâ€™s some powerful innate stuff right there.
My advice? Hire those brats. Hire them at Goldman and JP Morgan Chase and Cravath. Pay them really well the first year in order to get them hooked on being members of the power elite â€” thereâ€™s nothing that shakes off progressive ideology like a fat end-of-year bonus â€” and watch those killer instincts go into motion.
Just make sure to stay on their good side. You wouldnâ€™t like to see them angry.
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