‘Skin deep’ is not deep enough

To the Editor:

In “Calls for ‘diversity’ don’t hold up under scrutiny” (1/27), James Kirchick suggests that for GESO and local 35 the issue of diversity is merely about “skin pigmentation” and that instead of attacking inequality “at the source,” the unions blame Yale for the existence of racism.

Let’s be clear: The “source” of social inequality is not biology, labor unions or universities. It is society itself. Yale is a part of society, and the reduction of social inequality should be a priority for all members of our community.

We are deservedly proud that Yale leads in scholarship and research. Our institution has also exercised leadership in community and social programs, both on- and off-campus. But we can still do better.

How else can one explain the extreme dearth of individuals from disadvantaged groups on our campus, particularly among tenured faculty, other than by concluding that Yale hasn’t done enough to find and keep those with quality ideas and scholarship? Surely Kirchick doesn’t mean to imply that they don’t exist?

The issue is not that diversity problems are not “Yale’s fault.” It is that getting real outcomes at Yale is everyone’s responsibility. We’re not talking about quotas. We’re talking about a change in the process. That’s why GESO and Local 35 asked for something simple: a public forum.

In the interest of realizing a fairer and more equitable society, we reiterate the simple request that prompted Mr. Kirchick’s dismissive and mean-spirited column. We call on the administration to enter into an open discussion with the Yale community on this issue.

The undersigned graduate students of the Sociology Department very much look forward to that conversation.

Ates Altinordu ’02, GRD ’08

Adrian Cooke GRD ’08

Martin de Santos GRD ’07

Sarah Egan GRD ’10

Jesse Einhorn GRD ’10

Rui Gao GRD ’10

Christy Glass GRD ’05

Ben Herzog GRD ’09

Janette Kawachi GRD ’06

Malik Martin GRD ’07

Molly Martinez GRD ’08

Shoham Melamed GRD ’08

Samuel Nelson GRD ’09

Sebastian Schnettler GRD ’10

Michael Yarbrough LAW ’07, GRD ’10

Feb. 1, 2005

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