Scrudato: To avoid discrimination

Some students at Yale believe the University can be a welcoming place where anyone can make friends with his or her fellow students and still maintain a unique identity. While these students, who clearly comprise the oppressive majority, justify their systematic discrimination, the rest of us know better. This University can be, for a few suffering groups, an uncomfortable and unsympathetic place where personal identity is crushed and diversity gleefully trodden underfoot.

Numerous groups at Yale suffer from this type of systematic discrimination. For example, even though the LGBTQ community comprises approximately 10 percent of Yale’s population, according to a recent News poll, it lacks its own cultural house and dedicated resource office. Even more egregious, the department dedicated to it is one of the smallest departments on campus. The fact that Yale still has groups of students to whom they refuse additional administrative and academic recognition is so negligent, it borders on bigotry.

Thankfully Yale has established through its actions a loose set of criteria that a group needs to meet to quality for administrative assistance. One of the primary qualifications is the percentage of the student population that a group makes up. Women comprise the largest of these groups, accounting for 49.1 percent of the population. Obviously, a minority group cannot exceed 50 percent of the population, so supported groups must be no larger than this. The remaining criteria are a bit harder to divine, but previous interventions clearly require that any group which, in addition to its minority status, also finds the University, in the words of LGBTQ co-op coordinator Rachel Schiff ’10, “an alien, hostile place” deserves University resources.

As history has shown us, such groups cannot develop a community without the University’s involvement, and even so, they find it difficult to cope with campus life. The “Gone with the Wind”-themed Freshman Screw highlighted this lack of voice. It took the objections of not just one, but several members of the Black Student Alliance at Yale (BSAY) to force the entire Freshman Class Council to rename their cruelly intentioned event. And last year, after the Zeta Psi “Sluts” incident, the Yale Women’s Center had to wait several weeks before its demands of the Yale Administration were finally addressed.

At least some good came from these events. Though Yale’s response to these issues was delayed, it succeeded in setting yet another criterion for special treatment. If a particular event or policy makes even a few students unhappy, then the offending items must be amended.

I am deeply appreciative of the clarity and foresight with which Yale established these policies, for they provide us with a road map to move toward a better tomorrow. The time has come to make sure every student feels welcome on campus and is free from discomfort. That is why I am openly calling for the formation of Yale’s first conservative co-op with a conservative studies major to follow. Conservatives can demonstrate that they fit into all of these categories.

Recent polls indicate that conservatives make up 12 percent of the student population. Ask conservatives whether they feel comfortable on campus and the answer will be a resounding no.

The Yale culture is often excessively promiscuous and hostile toward religious morality. The Yale administration has completely ignored the consciences of many of its students by allowing events such as Sex Week and seriously considering gender-neutral housing. Both of these examples create undue pressure on conservatives to join in mainstream campus activities which demean their values and threaten to destroy their sense of identity and self-worth.

Some might argue these values are choices. The reality, however, is that conservatives’ world view is often integral to their culture and, according to Yale’s history of intervention, deserves protection. Now that Yale has declared itself the arbitrator of student comfort and conformity, the University must arbitrate fairly or be seen as prejudiced.

To protect these groups against further discomfort, I insist that any campus event which insults or offends more than one person be disbanded or rebranded with an acceptable world view. This view should be chosen before a rebranding is required if we really hope to be proactive.

Any failure to do so implies that Yale continues to discriminate against some for the benefit of others. I know that few Yalies want to promote bigotry, so I propose that all University events embody a universally tolerable world view, perhaps that of “My Little Pony.” By doing so, we can ensure that every one of our events incorporates, in the words of Hasbro, “a world of surprises and spontaneity, sunshine and silliness.” Who doesn’t like rainbow-colored ponies?

John Scrudato is a sophomore in Morse College.

Comments

  • Edmund Burke

    Keep fighting the good fight!

  • Seth

    While I think this is a great and interesting article, I have one huge problem with your logic. You state:

    "To protect these groups against further discomfort, I insist that any campus event which insults or offends more than one person be disbanded or rebranded with an acceptable world view. This view should be chosen before a rebranding is required if we really hope to be proactive."

    The question here is whose world view is acceptable. If the conservatives on campus were to be offended by some event that liberal students were hosting, does that mean it should be canceled or modified to fit a conservative world view? No. Same for if the situation were reverse. While I think I understand what you're trying to say with that statement, the logic and phrasing you use is dangerous. Yes, of course, people should try to be courteous and polite in all they do, but at the same time some of the best discussions are triggered by differences in opinions and world views. If we were to make sure everything that happened on this campus were not offensive to the world view of a single student, nothing would ever happen.

  • Anonymous

    "If we were to make sure everything that happened on this campus were not offensive to the world view of a single student, nothing would ever happen."

    I think that was the point. If we were consistent, nothing would happen. Given that fact and that we want to avoid bigotry and arbitrary inconsistency, we should not defend any group. We're all responsible adults here and should be able to care for ourselves. If a student needs help, we should help them on the basis of his or her need, not their skin color, religious affiliation, etc.

  • ahhh

    Parody (n): humorous or satirical mimicry.
    Took me a couple paragraphs.

  • @ #2

    I think the author's intent was to be satirical. That's why he proposed the "my little pony" theme at the end. A lot of people who are in position to be offended by the University environment currently have special programs and support groups in place. Then why not conservatives?

    Of course, as a Conservative, i don't think this is necessary. I don't need to play the "i'm offended by this" card every time i see an event i disapprove of. I don't like sex week… so i don't participate. Simple as that. The point is, none of the other groups should either, but they are.

  • Anonymous

    great article!

  • Seth

    Hmmm… I obviously missed that it was a parody. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    My Little Pony is racially insensitive.

  • Anonymous

    I still haven't decided if I should think this is serious or not. Maybe the author could enlighten us?

  • Anonymous

    The sad part of the affair is that some people actually think this is reasonable. Its satirical. We shouldn't decided that students need special help on the basis of their race, religion, etc.

  • lol

    brilliant, but the first time I read it, i stopped after the first few paragraphs, thinking you were just a run of the mill yale idiot.

  • The All-Knowing Commentator

    This is obviously a satirical work. Surely, this is meant to show the discrepancy in supporting one group rather than another, and I think it is done brilliantly. Though it is certainly comical in nature, I find it scathingly so; I, too, feel that there exists a certain degree of hypocrisy on campus, due to unwarranted favoritism of specific minority groups. To only allow for a group to form when under oppression is a ridiculous and short-sighted way to regulate an undergraduate community, and I think that this wrong has been duly exposed in the article. Well done, author.

  • Anonymous

    You don't see well-written satire too often in the YDN, but I always enjoy it when it's there, not least because you get to read the comments of all the people on this page who can't figure it out. Ha!

  • why not?

    On this campus, you would get more judging looks when saying "I'm a conservative" than "I'm a woman" or "I'm gay."

    The more I think about it… why don't we have our own counselors? I wouldn't mind if Yale sponsored an annual Trap & Skeet field trip for the Conservative co-op. Heck, I went on a free trip to NYC (thanks to Yale) just because I'm Asian.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant, brilliant piece. Thank you.

  • Righteous Fury

    I congratulate the author on taking a bold stand against bigotry and hatred on our beautiful campus. Too long have the putrid tentacles of prejudice poisoned this environment of life and learning, and I wholeheartedly agree that it is time to put an end to overtly racist freshmen events and any attempt to use racial or gender stereotypes as the basis for humour in campus publications.

    While I laud your reasoning, however, I was saddened and dismayed to discover that your proposed solution is the use of "My Little Pony." In your own words, "any campus event which insults or offends more than one person be disbanded or rebranded with an acceptable world view," and as I am prepared to show you, "My Little Pony" is as insensitive and heinous a theme as any that have been protested against in recent years.

    First of all, the toy collection flies in the face of modern feminism by blatantly upholding the image of little girls obsessed with the pretty, the pink, and the superficial. By the same token, it is a reminder that any little boy who chose to play with "My Little Pony" instead of G.I. Joe instantly became an object of scorn and ridicule among his peers. These stereotyped gender roles are antiquated and should be brought to an end.

    Speaking of gender roles, you end your article by asking "Who doesn’t like rainbow-colored ponies?" This ignorant rhetorical question completely invalidates the worldview of all those who oppose flagrant displays of homosexuality. We may be forced to tolerate homosexual individuals on this campus, but promoting their global agenda with rainbow-themed events is morally repugnant.

    On an unrelated point, the cheaply made, overpriced, plastic toys are a symbol for America's frivolous consumerist culture. Buying large quantities of useless petroleum products for our children increases our dependence on foreign oil and encourages the very behaviour that has landed us in the current economic crisis. Any patriot American would be shocked and appalled at the suggestion that we endorse these practices with such a vile theme.

    Finally, the publicity surrounding "My Little Pony" rudely ignores the needs of a very downtrodden group in our society. Hasbro tells us that the ponies represent "a world of surprises and spontaneity, sunshine and silliness," but their bias has blinded them to the existence of those with speech impediments, for whom this seemingly saccharine slogan is a Sisyphean struggle.

    I thank you again for expressing the just concerns of the many outraged people who struggle through tears of injustice and fury on a daily basis, but I would kindly ask that you refrain from suggesting such patently offensive ideas in the future.

  • Voice of the oppressed

    #16:

    You appear to believe that discrimination is undesirable. Given that, why would you advocate for what amounts to institutional discrimination and racism? Perhaps it is you who should avoid defending outdated, discriminatory policies.

    You should probably focus your efforts on building communities for yourself rather than bending the lives of others to your desire in pursuit of enforced "equality".

    “Beware of him that is slow to anger; for when it is long coming, it is the stronger when it comes, and the longer kept. Abused patience turns to fury.”

    There are too many long abused patient men and women who endure the never ending accusations and complaints of people like you. God willing they will tolerate it no longer.

  • conservative house

    your satire falls a little flat for me. if conservatives wanted a house or a department, i'd be totally (ok, mostly) down with giving them one. but, uh, they don't. ANALOGY FAIL!

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