Incidents of past year mandate a pause for Yale’s self-reflection

To the Editor:

As we face our fourth hate act of the school year, we need to ask questions: Who are we, as Yalies, and why it is that we have allowed the level of intolerance and hatred on this campus to reach such heights?

As a freshman, I came to this campus impassioned by Yale’s commitment to diversity and by a globalized campus, which they touted as the best in the world. Six months later, I have seen more acts of hatred within these ivy-covered walls than in my entire education up to this point. So why have these acts continued and why have they seemed to escalate as the weeks pass?

They began with words of hate in graffiti, evolved into physical demonstrations of hatred by our friendly brothers of Zeta Psi — and, five weeks later, we find ourselves faced with a mark of hatred which symbolized the death of six million Jews and six million others.

Why did the perpetrator (or perpetrators) of the swastikas and SS symbols on Old Campus commit such an offensive crime? We, as a community, have allowed it. We, as “a company of scholars and a society of friends” from all different walks of life in 108 countries, from over 25 religious affiliations, of different genders, sexualities, socio-economic backgrounds and life experiences have allowed the acts of hatred against blacks, homosexuals, women — Yale women — and now Jews.

We have let each act go by with little or no response as a community. We (most of us) did not attend the rally against hate, mocked the Women’s Center and sent one another a very clear message in so doing — we allow hatred.

We allow it in our speech, in our actions, in our classrooms, in our dorms and on our campus. We allow it because it doesn’t affect us, because we’re apathetic, because we think the world is “too politically correct.” We have allowed hatred to permeate our campus and our relations with one another. But it’s time to stop the hatred.

It’s time to say, I am a Yalie and I do not allow hate. Unless we take a stand as a community, these acts will continue and will touch each one of us. So this time, let’s not be apathetic. Let’s take a stand against hatred, for our fellow Elis who have been hurt by all of the acts of hate this year, for ourselves, and for Yale.

Stephanie Goldfarb

Feb. 25

The writer is a freshman in Jonathan Edwards College.


  • John Calhoun

    I would hope that most of us are philosophically inclined against hatred. Attending a rally against hate, of course, does many things--but it can't prevent hateful people from doing hateful things. I can't imagine that hateful people, in other words, will decide to not be hateful because of a community rally. So there is a question to ponder about what well-intentioned people are to do, and I appreciate the way this letter prompts the question. That said, "taking a stand against hate" strikes me as vague, banal, and insufficiently demanding. It's a start…but if it's as far as we get, we've got a problem.