Yes. We are the ones who sent that “NOGAYS” e-mail early one morning a few weeks ago. Chock full with as much ridiculousness as we could muster in as few lines as possible, the e-mail was intended entirely as a sarcastic and wholly outrageous prank. Imagine then our surprise at waking up the following day and finding that we had been accused of homophobia and hate. How could our joke have gone so dreadfully wrong? At the time of the sending, we thought the e-mail would raise some eyebrows, but we had no idea that it would provoke such a heated reaction. With one of us a member of the LGBTQ community himself, we felt that we were on safe ground. Instead, our plan backfired horribly, and we are very much here to apologize.
We expressly meant to stir things up, to fling a glob of caustic humor into the calm, politically correct waters of campus. That said, we had absolutely no idea that the e-mail would be taken as seriously as it was. Many, many students perceived it as something entirely more sinister, and we cannot be sorrier for this. A prank that causes Yale to take itself more seriously than it already does is a failed prank. In fact, it turned out to be much more than a failed prank, as we are all well aware. We are especially sorry to the LGBTQ Co-op, as the e-mail put an unimaginable damper on all the work they had put into preparing the activities for National Coming Out Day. In addition, we acknowledge the frightening effect the e-mail may have had on students truly struggling with their sexual orientation. As active, involved leaders ourselves in various other organizations and well aware of the time, effort and hope it takes to plan a day such as this, we really feel horrible for what we did. In fact, we personally called for a meeting with the leadership of the Co-op and associated student groups to admit our fault and apologize for our disruptive actions. The Co-op was also interested in initiating a conversation. We were all pleasantly surprised by the meeting’s positive and friendly conclusion. All parties involved came to a mutual understanding, and healthy communication occurred throughout. Even Dean Trachtenberg, who moderated the proceedings, seemed inspired.
In any case, we are still very pained to be the cause of so much negativity. We would like to take the time here to apologize wholeheartedly for the horrible backfiring of our e-mail prank, and for the entirely unintended hurt felt by so many students. Since the incident, the unintentional effect of our work has bothered us on a very personal level, and we are sincerely sorry for ever having sent the e-mail in the first place. We apologize for our actions to the Yale community, and we look forward to more appropriate and better-conceived avenues for invoking our humor on this campus in the future.
As our associate master mentioned to us recently regarding the incident, “nothing is completely negative if you have learned something from it.” These are deeply felt words, something we have been thinking about a lot recently. We feel we can honestly say that this is, in fact, the case here.
Matthew Brimer and William Wilson are sophomores in Jonathan Edwards College.