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!
Yaleâ€™s Nakanishi Prize is awarded every spring to â€œtwo graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.â€ Normally, the bestowal of an undergraduate award, even at an august institution like Yale, is of interest to no one beyond the recipients, their classmates, and their families. This yearâ€™s prize, however, should trouble anyone concerned with the imperiled fate of free inquiry and rational dialogue at our nationâ€™s institutions of higher learning: on May 21, Yale recognizedâ€”out of a graduating class of some 1,300â€”two individuals who did more than most of their peers to worsen race relations on campus.
Our story begins in the fall of 2015, when a mob of students surrounded professor Nicholas Christakis in the courtyard of Silliman, the residential college of which he used to be Master, a term used to describe head faculty members who oversee undergraduate life (more on this later). Christakis, a world-renowned sociologist and scientist, was there to answer complaints about an email sent by his wife, Erika, in response to a campus-wide message distributed by a Yale College dean of â€œstudent engagement,â€ Burgwell Howard, warning students away from wearing Halloween costumes that â€œthreaten our sense of community.â€ For her mere suggestion that Yale undergraduatesâ€”adults who can legally vote and fight and die in the nationâ€™s warsâ€”be entrusted with the responsibility to choose their own Halloween costumes (and, furthermore, be entrusted to share whatever discomfort they may have about potentially â€œoffensiveâ€ costumes with their peers, rather than encouraged to whine to overpaid, utterly superfluous, administrative busybodies), Erika Christakis was denounced by hundreds of Yale students, faculty, alumni, and countless off-campus agitators as an incorrigible bigot and â€œwhite supremacistâ€ whose job should be taken from her. …
Of the 100 or so students who confronted Christakis that day, a young woman who called him â€œdisgustingâ€ and shouted â€œwho the fuck hired you?â€ before storming off in tears became the most infamous, thanks to an 81-second YouTube clip that went viral. (The video alsoâ€”thanks to its promotion by various right-wing websitesâ€”brought this student a torrent of anonymous harassment). The videos that Tablet exclusively posted last year, which showed a further 25 minutes of what was ultimately an hours-long confrontation, depicted a procession of students berating Christakis. In one clip, a male student strides up to Christakis and, standing mere inches from his face, orders the professor to â€œlook at me.â€ Assuming this position of physical intimidation, the student then proceeds to declare that Christakis is incapable of understanding what he and his classmates are feeling because Christakis is white, and, ipso facto, cannot be a victim of racism. In another clip, a female student accuses Christakis of â€œstrip[ping] people of their humanityâ€ and â€œcreat[ing] a space for violence to happen,â€ a line later mocked in an episode of The Simpsons. In the videos, Howard, the dean who wrote the costume provisions, can be seen lurking along the periphery of the mob.
Of Yaleâ€™s graduating class, it was these two students whom the Nakanishi Prize selection committee deemed most deserving of a prize for â€œenhancing race and/or ethnic relationsâ€ on campus. Hectoring bullies quick to throw baseless accusations of racism or worse; cosseted brats unscrupulous in their determination to smear the reputations of good people, these individuals in actuality represent the antithesis of everything this award is intended to honor. Yet, in the citation that was read to all the graduating seniors and their families on Class Day, Yale praised the latter student as â€œa fierce truthteller.â€
Congratulations to Lex Barlowe and Abdul-Razak Zachariah, the 2017 Nakanishi Prize winners!
Lex Barlowe – An African American Studies Major and Mellon Mays Research Fellow graduating with distinction, Lex Barlowe has focused her scholarship on issues of land usage, cooperative economies, and reparations in the American South. She is described as a fierce truthteller who illuminates the challenges affecting her communities, rooting them in history and context in order to promote a deeper understanding of them. Her peers say of her “Lex never fights for just one issue. Her moral imagination operates with the knowledge that issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. are all interconnected.”
Lex has also worked tirelessly to build bridges among organizations and individuals, pushing relentlessly for a more equitable and just campus â€” and world â€” through her activism. Serving as past President and Social Justice Chair for the Black Student Alliance at Yale (BSAY), a Communication and Consent Educator (CCE), and an organizer for the group Fossil Free Yale, she brings womanist, feminist, anti-racist work to the fore with academic rigor and a deep integrity, and she has, by example, taught her peers, faculty and administrators about inclusive leadership.
Abdul-Razak Zachariah – graduates with distinction, has worked to improve Yaleâ€™s racial and ethnic relations through his academic work, both within his Sociology major and in the Education Studies program. A recipient of a Mellon Mays Research Fellowship, he has explored the topic of “respectability politics” in mentorship organizations for Black male teenagers in New Haven in the first of his two senior essays; in his second, he examines multiculturalism and racial representations in childrenâ€™s literature.
Abdul has devoted himself equally to community engagement, mentoring youth of color as a member of Yaleâ€™s Black Menâ€™s Union, guiding and welcoming peers as a Cultural Connections counselor, and caring for first-year students as a Freshman Counselor for Timothy Dwight College. As a member of the Undergraduate First-Generation Low Income Partnership, Abdul has played vital roles as Recruitment Coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the New Haven Outreach Coordinator for Timothy Dwight College, and undergraduate representative to the Yale Presidentâ€™s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.
Bret Weinstein, a biology professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, was surrounded by a group of student protesters Wednesday after he wrote an email objecting to plans for a Day of Absence.
In the past, the Day of Absence has been a day where black and Latino students leave campus to highlight their significance on campus. This year students wanted to change the format. Instead of leaving campus themselves, they wanted white students and professors to leave campus, thereby creating a safe space for the students left behind. Professor Weinstein objected to that format and wrote and email saying he would not be leaving campus and encouraged others not to do so. …
Student protesters decided that email was racist and a firing offense. They gathered at Weinsteinâ€™s classroom and began shouting at him and, eventually, demanding he be fired or resign.
For about 3 minutes there is something like a discussion but when Weinstein suggests this moment could be a turning point in favor of the studentâ€™s values, one of the protesters says, â€œYeah, resign.â€ The professor refuses and the protesters start chanting, â€œHey, hey, ho, ho, Brett Weinstein has got to go!â€
Students then complain that Weinstein isnâ€™t listening to them and that heâ€™s trying to â€œcontrolâ€ the situation. At this point, the audio in the clip drops out.