This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

The day after students spoke with University President Peter Salovey in a closed-door meeting and publicly questioned Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway and Silliman College Master Nicholas Christakis about the racially charged events of the past week, all three have sent out mass messages addressing the recent controversies and outlining future steps.

Holloway’s Friday morning email directly addressed the two controversies that have rocked campus since last Friday — an alleged “white girls only” party at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and an email written by Silliman Associate Master Erika Christakis pushing back against the Intercultural Affairs Council asking students to be thoughtful about the cultural implications of their costumes. Holloway not only said he takes seriously the allegations against SAE and is in the midst of investigating the incident, but also that he supports the content of the IAC’s email.

“Let me be unambiguous, I am fully in support of the email message that went out from the IAC to the Yale community,” he wrote. “I understand that some, maybe many of you, found the tone off-putting or even pedantic, but the intention of the message was exactly right: we need always to be dedicated to fashioning a community that is mindful of the many traditions that make us who we are.”

Holloway said he absorbed the words and emotions shared with him on Cross Campus yesterday when roughly two hundred students questioned his and the administration’s lack of action. After the gathering, student leaders met with Holloway and Salovey to express their pain and disappointment with the University.

Salovey said in an email to the Yale College community Friday evening that the meeting left him deeply troubled, adding that he would announce at least some policy response by Thanksgiving.

“The students last night made many thoughtful and constructive suggestions. Some of these we can implement right away or begin planning for immediately,” he said. “The leadership of Yale College and the university are working on next steps. You will hear from me again before Thanksgiving about some of these actions.”

Both Salovey and Holloway emphasized that all students are valued members of the Yale community, and Holloway acknowledged the concerns of those who believe he took too long to respond to the events of the past week.

In a separate email addressed to the Silliman community this afternoon, which was jointly signed by Nicholas and Erika Christakis, the couple wrote that the original email Erika Christakis sent did not acknowledge how extraordinarily hard it is to be a person of color at Yale.

“We understand that it was hurtful to you, and we are truly sorry,” Friday’s email read. “We understand that many students feel voiceless in diverse ways and we want you to know that we hear you and we will support you.”

However, they did reiterate that they thought Erika Christakis’ email was well-intended and added that the “tremendous expression at Yale this week” has proved their conviction in the personal agency of students.

In the email, Nicholas and Erika Christakis stressed that they remain committed to every student in the Silliman community and extended an invitation to all Silliman students for lunch this Sunday to discuss their concerns and views on the issues of free speech and related campus events.

Correction, Nov. 7: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Nicholas Christakis was the author of an email sent to the Silliman community on Friday. In fact, Nicholas and Erika Christakis jointly signed the email. 

  • 100wattlightbulb

    It’s a no win situation. It’s time to make a mental health check part of the admit package (and maybe stop using skin color and gender confusion as badges of honor, as neither one is an “accomplishment”).

    • matt10023

      Didn’t you read the article where applicants mine their miseries to show how they’ve overcome a life’s challenge in their essays? The trick is to have something horrible happen, but then show how it’s made you stronger.

      Mental illness is tricky. So you can’t present it as sickness, but a response to society.

      Once you’re in, then you can lobby for more free mental health services. All that strength and personal development can evaporate, and you can expect college administrators to “feel your pain” and coddle you for whatever ails you.

      Remember, these are the elite of America who wilt at at the sight of a mariachi band costume. I’m not sure if the 1960s civil rights activists who put their lives on the line would agree, but it’s really hard to read a letter saying that freedom of expression in Halloween costumes is OK and not break down in tears.

      Just the thought is so terrible that we must have a crisis.

  • eli1

    Dean Holloway is a coward. Any administrator not willing to stand up for free speech does not belong on a college campus. The fact that this guy just got bullied into submission by the militant left is embarrassing.

  • Boola97

    Wait, did I just read this in the YDN in light of all of the current controversy? Do these people consider themselves journalists, or is it becoming clear why the only strong piece written in the last few days was from someone who left the YDN and was published in the WaPo?

    Way to demean a guest of the college, YDN.

    **Poker? I barely know her.** Berkeley College will host a Master’s Tea with two-time American Women’s Chess Champion Jennifer Shahade at 4 p.m. this evening. Shahade is also a world-ranked poker player who recently won first place at the 2014 Open Face Chinese Poker Tournament.

  • td2016

    “’Remember that Yale belongs to all of you, and you all deserve the right to enjoy the good of this place, without worry, without threats, and without intimidation,’he wrote.”

    And that right to be free of worry, intimidation and threats includes the co-masters of Silliman, members of SAE and anyone who chooses to wear what someone else thinks is an “offensive costume” … and even the Dean of Yale College.

  • yalie13

    We are not doing this discussion justice. The issue is more complicated than a pacification of the momentary popular sentiment within the student body will address. While the student body has been raising urgent, valid points, there is more to this discussion in order to give it the justice and respect it deserves and the student body deserves, even if it’s messy.

    The rift on campus reminds me of the contentious issue of the pejorative Mohammed cartoons. The issue is very complicated, with well intentions all around, but there was a tendency of being addressed with varying value systems yelling across each other, with the louder one getting sanctioned so those with stake can protect their skin.

    I think a first productive step the YDN could take at the very least would be to stop editorializing in the way they have presented these reports and release, IN FULL, the Christakis email. The email, taken out of context, can be perceived to be particularly incendiary and no one of fair mind should take sound bites out of it. Agree with it or disagree with it, don’t change its message or even reference it without a link to the full thing. That’s just crap journalism.

  • Mario Rossi

    This campus is fast becoming a veritable New Haven gulag under the thumb of wandering PC commisars. A Donald Trump presidency cannot come soon enough

  • germ_16

    It’s clear that being sensitive and understanding of the thoughts and feelings of these students is not enough. They demand any who disagree with their worldview to be silenced, and in their eyes that only means racists lose out. However, in actual practice it stifles the ability for open discussion and unbalances the power dynamic between students and administration. Some students seem to be aware of this, but feel that it’s an easy sacrifice to make. The college administration must make a strong stand for free speech on our university campuses. It’s clear that these students are not interested in debate, only in cowed compliance. Being exposed to new ideas and mindsets is a huge part of the college experience. This looks more and more like a power struggle, and many people are foolish enough to believe that the underdogs should always win. I refuse to back those who would silence me.

  • Charybdis

    I fear that Master Christakis has the right overall idea, wanting to
    defend a broader freedom of speech against authoritarian efforts to
    curtail it. I worry that the administration overall is heading in an
    unfortunately authoritarian direction, though, wanting to penalize
    speech and behavior that they dislike.

    • ldffly

      Another tell is how the administration ultimately handles Christakis.

  • Kuku Koo

    Free Speech just lost. A sad day for Yale, once a bastion of fierce defender of the Freedom of Expression. Remember this…?

    ‘Yale’s commitment to freedom of expression means that when you agree to matriculate, you join a community where “the provocative, the disturbing, and the unorthodox” must be tolerated. When you encounter people who think differently than you do, you will be expected to honor their free expression, even when what they have to say seems wrong or offensive to you.’

    • groenima

      Civility was lost in this exchange, but not free speech. What were these students’ words, if not “provocative, disturbing, and unorthodox”? And what was Christakis doing, if not honoring “their free expression, even when what they have to say seems wrong or offensive”? If he was forced to quit his post, I’d agree that free speech was lost, but if this exchange is the worst that happens, then as a parent of a Yale student, I’m happy to see both Christakis’s modeling civility in provocative exchange; I hope that more faculty and students will follow their examples soon.

  • David

    I was impressed Nicholas Christakis demonstrated his guts and leadership in front of students who bullied him. This is what makes Yale Yale, not the poor manner from that female student who is never shy to use word F|~>>€

    • Kerryman

      Christakis should have turned on his heel and informed the student who berated him that he would be available when she wanted to have a civil conversation. That young woman was way out of line.

  • Peter Adolf

    I think I have it figured out for anyone who needs to catch up:

    IAC: Please think twice before you decide to use Halloween to act like an a**hole.

    Christakis: Students are going to a**holes sometimes. It’s just kids being kids. Use it to start a conversation! That’s free speech!

    Students who have actually had to deal with a**holes in the past:
    OK, Christakis, I guess we’ll act like a**holes to you and see how you like it.

    Christakis: I immediately regret this decision.

    • td2016

      Actually, one of the most significant aspects of free expression is that what is expressed is often VERY unliked and unlikeable.

      If one likes everything one hears, one definitely has one’s head up one’s a**hole, a condition that unfortunately often results in one thinking one sees infinity.

      In a “safe space” one likes everything one hears. That’s the point. Yale University is definitely NOT a “safe space.” Not for anyone. In fact, in my opinion student organizations that encourage or maintain “safe spaces” should not be part of the University and are fundamentally hostile to its mission.

      But while Yale University is definitely not a SAFE space it is definitely a POLITE space. Being free to express unliked and unlikeable opinions and thoughts is not the same as freedom to be rude and abusive. The scene in the Silliman courtyard where some agitated students shouted at Christakis (and most others fled in embarrassment) was rude and abusive, and not justifiable by any right of free expression. It was, instead, tolerated by the very impressive and formidable good nature of Christakis.

      • Peter Adolf

        I think you missed the point. The “speech” Christakis is defending is not the exchange of ideas, but the rudeness and abusiveness of wearing a costume that denigrates your fellow students on the basis of race, ethnicity, etc. That is arguably worse than a student who has been the target of that kind of denigration being rude and abusive to the defender of the rudeness and abuse. So, if Christakis thinks students should be free to be rude and abusive to each other, then the abuse he suffered is exactly what he had coming.

        TL:DR: If you say that it’s OK to dress up for Halloween in blackface or as a stereotypical old-Hollywood American Indian, then it is equally OK for someone to yell “shut the f— up” at you for saying it.

        • Peter Tobias

          Peter, if I accept your conclusion, it would equally mean:
          If it’s OK for someone to yell “shut the f— up” at you, like this sweet girl yelled at Mr. Christakis, then she should be also OK with other people dressing up for Halloween in blackface or as a stereotypical old-Hollywood American Indian. (“Equally” is commutative.)
          . . . I doubt she would be.

        • td2016

          No, you are wrong.

          Are we now to expect Yale to prohibit the wearing of business attire because some members of the community are professed anticapitalists or feel such attire connotes odious imperialism or racism? Do such people hold a hecklers’veto based on their refined sensitivities or putative marginalized positions in society over the garb of others? No. You are wrong.

          The right of academic free expression encompasses one’s right to dress as one chooses on the basis of message, meaning and connotation. Costumery is a well established and paradigmatic form of expression, and the matter is beyond peradventure as much as writing, speaking and painting are paradigmatic forms of expression. Free expression is not limitless, but it is extremely broad, generally extending until it’s further reach would abridge the expression of others. That’s why one has to raise one’s hand in class, for example. But a choice of costume does not abridge anyone else’s own right of expression, so no justification for suppression can be found in that quarter. Further, the current controversy demonstrates conclusively that the ideas expressed in Halloween costumery are of profound significance despite the childishness of Halloween.

          Advocating suppression of certain classes of costumes on the basis of their meaning is exactly on par with advocating suppression of certain classes of books and the corresponding suppression of the ideas they express. That costumery may in some cases be restricted on the basis of security (one does not wear a mask at a bank), health (no shoes, no shirt, no service) or on other general grounds not implicating message,meaning and connotation, is not to the contrary. Even old obligations to wear academic robes or jackets in dining halls were found to be unjustifiable despite such obligations not being bottomed on the desire to suppress profound ideas, which is exactly the pernicious motivation behind the current drive to suppress CERTAIN Halloween costumes on the basis of the connotations.

          Simple costumery is expression. That you do not care for what another wears, writes, says or paints does not make it rude or abusive behavior in the applicable senses of those terms, notwithstanding the physical sewing, scribbling, puffing and smearing that those things involve. And that remains true despite your concerns having some merit, at least at the extremes. What is without merit is demanding that others be restrained if you fail to persuade them of your position.

          But nobody has ever had the right to speak to another person at Yale the way Christakis was addressed in the Silliman courtyard, and nothing has happened to change that. People go to college exactly to be taught to express themselves without acting that way. No institution of higher learning and exchange of ideas could function if people acted that way because It obviously suppresses the expressions of others and impairs their free expression.

          Some of the most important exchanges of ideas occur between people in extreme disagreement, who find each other’s expressions (and clothing) offensive. It is in exactly such context that freedom of expression is most important in prohibiting suppression and it is most important to remain civil…not in the current trendy, false, politicized sense of “civil,” but in its sense of politeness and respect for the dignity of others regardless of the meaning of what is expressed.

          The University’s purpose and mission is disrupted if expression is abridged. That is a major reason why academic freedom of expression has been painstakingly secured since the Middle Ages. But behavior that might be protected by the First Amendment in a public park or street (such as screaming obscenities) is not the same as behavior protected by academic free expression at a university. And neither are requirements of politeness suspended towards those in “offensive” costumes any more than they are suspended towards University representative (such as Christakis) defending free expression: There are no outlaws at Yale based on garb. Suppression of ideas is to be rejected, but there is no inconsistency in requiring those expressing their ideas to remain respectful of and polite towards others. In fact, free expression depends on it. But requiring respect does NOT extend to requiring the avoidance of censored ideas or connotations.

          Don’t raise your voice, create a better argument. It is a central purpose and mission of the University to aid a student in doing that kind of thing. But not shouting. Or cursing. Or intimidating. Or trespassing. Or disrupting. Or spitting.

          Yale University is not a safe space. But it is a polite and civil place. It has to be.

          • Peter Adolf

            I find it telling that for you, a student of color’s offensive and denigrating speech to a professor is “impolite” and has no place at the University, while a white student’s offensive and denigrating costume is free speech that must never even be discouraged. Add to that the fact that the original administration email was simply trying to remind people to respect each other on Halloween – akin to the “politeness” you hold so dear – it begins to look like your ideology is a post hoc justification for feeling a kinship with some of the students and not others. Which is precisely the problem.

          • td2016

            When and if you have something to say about what I wrote (even venturing a response to an argument, perhaps?), rather than sharing phantasmagoric images that popped into your head, please don’t hesitate to write.

          • Canbuhay

            Again, so a wrong makes another wrong, right? Both should not be done by thinking adults at a prestigious university. But to ban both is to treat students their like babies and shows just how this generation is incapable of having thoughtful discussion.

            Shouldn’t Yale worry about that MORE than silly costumes?

        • libertyftw

          *theoretically wearing a costume.

          And while your point is valid, it killed any and all students’ credibility who called for him to “step down” as a result of defending free speech.

          Continue to yell “shut the f— up” by all means, but the “safe space” rhetoric leaves alumni around the world with a clear picture of the fragility (or nonexistence) of their intellectualism.

        • Bystander

          Peter I think you missed the point. The original Christakis email was not promoting people to go out and denigrate others with their costumes, it was protesting the heavy hand of the administration for 1) not respecting students as adults to make their own decisions, and 2) setting an awful precedent of censorship. Part of college is learning from others, and learning from your mistakes. Think for a second if someone did wear a denigrating costume, and students did speak up to the individual in a civil fashion (as recommended in the email)… Seems like a much more valuable lesson to me. And what if the student insists on being an a**hole? Well, perhaps he just lost a lot of friends. But that’s the beauty of it: with free speach, people are responsible for their actions, and although others might not be free from exposure to their ideas, they are free to dissociate from them. There is no “right” of freedom from pain or hurt feelings, but there are rights against the initiation of force… In this case it seems the students are acting way more forceful to Christakis than vice versa. Again, the students have a right to yell at the dean, but they also have to face the consequences of acting hypocritical and disrespectful. Doubtful that any disciplinary action will be passed down though.

        • Prince Monolulu

          “wearing a costume that denigrates your fellow students”

          And who gets to decide? You can’t live in a free country and have Saudi style morality police enforcing the latest diktat from the high-priests of the PC cult.

          .

        • Kerryman

          Halloween costumes are like comedy. They poke fun at certain images and evoke a sense of offense. Don’t be so defensive and stop being a free speech hater. No free speech was what that other guy named Adolph was all about. Do we want to go in that direction? No, I didn’t think so.

        • Canbuhay

          So that justifies the rudeness of the students? Defending their actions because they have “less power” than you is quite racist and treats all minorities like myself as less equal than you.

          Please cue the screaming banshees to censor you now.

    • Havid Damburger

      Peter Adolf is Jewish. Ironic

  • td2016

    “’Remember that Yale belongs to all of you, and you all deserve the right to enjoy the good of this place, without worry, without threats, and without intimidation,’he wrote.”
    And that right to be free of worry, intimidation and threats includes the co-masters of Silliman, members of SAE and anyone who chooses to wear what someone else thinks is an “offensive costume” … and even the Dean of Yale College.

  • aaleli

    Expulsion and probation or suspension of students, are a few terms I would like to see bandied about. Act now admin or regret it later; you’re already reaping the sort of “no consequences for rudeness or disrespect” seeds you have sown.

    • thubten

      Affirmative action has been a miserable failure.Select students that actually belong at Yale based on intelligence,not skin color

      • groenima

        This is unfair. Given that Yale reports that the majority of its candidates for admission are academically qualified to attend, affirmative action isn’t relevant. Students are chosen for diverse reasons, but given the enormous (30,000+) pool of candidates Yale admissions can draw on, does it really make sense that the students of color who are offered admission would be substantially less qualified than their white counterparts?

        • aaleli

          This is SO not true. Affirmative Action exists in various forms. I think it is actually the genesis of the anger- knowing you are attending Yale, but really should not be there.

          • groenima

            What exactly is so not true?

          • groenima

            What exactly is SO not true?

  • JetsFan1984

    So female professors aren’t allowed safe spaces from people screaming in her face, threatening her livelihood, and demanding obedience? Weird school. Yale has really lost its luster.

  • JetsFan1984

    Yale has an enrollment of over 12,000.

  • je2016

    A lot of this discussion seems misguided.

    The most important threat to education at Yale is not political correctness etc., it is the focus on everything BUT education: more deans, fancier buildings, more programs for this and that. But no more faculty or other educational resources.

    This business with the tweet illustrates on consequence of this weird focus. Salovey talks a lot about “emotional intelligence,” but the people he appoints have very little of it. Christakis is an arrogant self-promoter. That tweet was not intended for Silliman or the Yale community, he was trying to position himself in a national debate. There is clearly room for serious thought and discussion about the issues raised in the IAC email and the Christakis reply, but it won’t happen in a tweet intended to impress the TV chattering classes. If he and his wife were interested in the issue, or in Silliman, they would have sat and had a calm discussion with a group of students.

    Look at all the videos. I do not approve of students dropping f-bombs on faculty. By far worse is the constant interruption of anyone else talking. He cannot disguise his lack of interest in what other people say.

    I really hope they do not fire him. That would be hypocrisy. If Salovey wanted to fire everyone who acts this way the list would be really long.

  • eli1

    Why does the YDN keep calling this a “white girls only party,” when it is clear that there were several black people at the party. It should be referred to as an alleged “white girls only” comment by someone at the party. Please stop trying to imitate the over sensationalism of every other click-bait “media” outlet.

    • Kerryman

      The term “white girls only party” incites more racial agitation than “black girls only party.” The latter would be viewed as a benign FUBU expression.

  • jeburke

    Salovey’s supine surrender to the so-called IAC’s absurd “warning” about Halloween costumes (!) reveals him as a man singularly unsuited to preside over a once great university. The inmates are running the asylum.

    As for the accusation against the frat, if Las Vegas were taking odds of the truth of that charge, I would bet heavily that it turns out to be a total hoax.

  • Craig

    My Yale student recently shared concern over recent incidents on Yale’s campus surrounding the Halloween emails and racist allegations directed at a particular member of the SAE fraternity.

    I suggested pause prior to forming judgments and to wait for the
    facts to unfold. If the allegations against the brother of SAE are true, his behavior is inexcusable, and the local chapter, SAE’s national organization and Yale should take disciplinary action. However, this is the action of one man and
    should not be an indictment of the entire house. I imagine my student would not want to be held responsible for foolish actions and idiotic remarks made by members of the team to which they are a member if the case should arise.

    I have since read the Halloween emails and am shocked at the
    reaction to Erika Christakis email. This is a student body whose generation demands personal choice when it comes to their bodies, sexual choices, spirituality etc., but the moment they feel offended many they want big brother/sister to step in and protect them, and make it right.

    I dropped my child off at Yale for the first time 15 months ago and left encouraged. I had listened to and have since re-listened to and shared with others President Salovey’s remarks at the First Year Convocation at Woolsey Hall. He reminded incoming students that Yale is an institution that welcomes and defends free speech. That this is necessary in order to foster and environment of intellectual diversity necessary to academic growth. He went so far to say, that if you are expecting to never be offended, perhaps Yale is not the place for you. He stated that Yale would not tolerate a speaker silenced or shouted down for voicing opinion even if those remarks might be hurtful. He also made clear the line between threatening speech and offensive speech. I encourage the entire Yale community to re-listen to this speech to gain perspective.

    The alleged actions of the SAE member, if true, are racist, Erika Christakis’ email is not. The pressures of political correctness continue at the risk of silencing voices that deserve to be heard. Opposing points of view are vital to a liberal arts education. To mock, intimidate and bully Erika Christakis is shameful. Free speech is the cornerstone of education and a free society.

    If you disagree, perhaps Yale should adopt single sex campus housing, curfews, ban alcohol on campus, and place house moms on every floor to protect students from the social bogeymen.

    Erika’s words are part of your education, a different point of view to be considered while molding your views of the world, believe me when I say, your opinions will change on many things as you move beyond college and into adulthood.

    Liu Xiaobo reminds us “Free expression is the base of human rights, the root
    of human nature and the mother of truth. To kill free speech is to insult human
    rights, to stifle human nature and to suppress truth.”

    • Kerryman

      This is truthful.

    • Yale1984

      “The pressures of political correctness continue at the risk of silencing voices that deserve to be heard.”

      There is tremendous pressure among the students at Yale to parrot the politically correct creed. I have heard from several current students that you cannot openly support the professors Christakis for fear of social media backlash. If students discuss the issues at hand in terms of free speech, you are labeled a racist and oppressor.

    • Lesley Cate Donovan

      Craig – Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. You made me feel a little better about the situation.

  • chuckles99

    The university will attempt to further censor free speech. Someone will sue and the Federal Courts will strike down Yale’s restrictions. To date, the Federal Courts have rejected ALL attempts to create “safe spaces”. Universities won’t learn.

  • Robert Ajolotl

    Universities are an embarrassment of censorship. Even those who try to hold out on principle eventually “see the light”.

  • Asempa

    I am disappointed that freedom of speech and the freedom to dress in ways that ridicule or humiliate others are being equated. I am also dumbfounded that advice to young people who can get carried away, to be sensitive to others in their choice of dress during these moments when young people can get carried away, is being equated to attempts to curtail free speech. Our shared humanity requires that we feel well when others feel well. And don’t feel well when others hurt. If our free speech or dressing may potentially cause harm, and another points this out in warning, this is wisdom not cutting free speech. Free speech is a gift that must be used wisely or it ceases to be valuable to society if it leaves many broken and wounded. Yale parent

    • cranky critter

      “Free speech is a gift that must be used wisely.”

      Who gets to decide when and whether it’s being used wisely? As soon as someone else gets to decide for you, it isn’t free anymore.

      That’s why it can’t be compromised. There’s simply no way around that. The only remedy for objectionable speech is more speech. Not censorship, no matter how well-intentioned.

      • Asempa

        Hmm, so it’s okay to respond with expletives in response to unhappiness… Until we are all screaming f-u at each other as we respond in free speech to free speech? As some have said, an eye for an eye would lead to most if not all of us being blind. It may not be easy to define ” wise” but I think we all know wisdom when we see it.

  • Phil Ostrand

    I am thinking about telling my daughter not to apply to Yale. What a disgrace the University has become. Free speech, even offensive speech is protected. But students f bombing the Dean? Seriously?

  • Juan Diaz

    Why is the Yale administration accommodating these pampered students? They do not feel safe because some one might wear a Halloween outfit that might offend them and because an Associate Master sent out an e-mail in defense of freedom of expression? One of them feels she can shout down the Master of Silliman College? Honestly, what rubbish.

    Yale should not accommodate students who behave in this manner. Instead of appreciating everything Yale has to offer and responding to the perceived offenses by writing an opinion piece in the YDN or holding a peaceful rally, they have resorted to shouting at and threatening Yale administrators. If I had ever spoken to any master or dean at Yale the way this student spoke to the Master of Silliman College, I would have been thrown out of Yale.

    I, too, was a minority student at Yale from modest means, but rather than shout down the place, I learned to listen and learn from all that Yale had to offer, and to contribute in a constructive way to make Yale an even better place. These few students are giving all minority students a bad name at Yale. They do not speak for me.

    • http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/lists/the-10-worst-ways-to-die-in-a-hieronymous-bosch-painting-53872 Hieronymus Machine

      Pampered? Yes! Don’t forget *those* in the safe-space setup outlined by Mark Strum, above. Depends on one’s poise, though…

  • Mark Strum

    I strongly agree with the student activists in this. Safe space is an inherent right, and debate and discourse is fundamentally wrong the modern world. Social justice requires that they be agreed with, without debate.

    I was also very pleased to hear that the social justice group that confronted the professor is currently working on a safe -space policy, as part of which Yale will create a safe space room with the following features

    – Colored crayons, soft pillows for students to draw when stressed and take comfort when crying
    – Bottles of organic milk – to take them back to happier times when they were babies, also mommy and daddy dolls
    – A handbook on how to cope up as a mentally challenged student
    – Posters of Jancey Paz

    These important development are critical to the development of US higher education. Thank you. Fully support the students again.

    • FlameCCT

      That wasn’t a drip, it was a flood of sarcasm! Well done.

      I wonder if temperature control for special snowflakes is a requirement for the safe space.

    • http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/lists/the-10-worst-ways-to-die-in-a-hieronymous-bosch-painting-53872 Hieronymus Machine

      Milk? But what of the lactose intoler… er… differently labeled? Beyond the pale (or pail), my good fellow.

      I think “mentally challenged” is also toeing a bit close to the “hate speech” line And colored crayons? Not just “crayons?” Lastly, your assumption that safe-space refugees would benefit from both a “mommy” and a “daddy” doll is a macroaggression on many axes: gender normatively, ozzy & harriet-ly and patriarchally, just to name a few. Two-parent families are inherently triggering.

  • SirEarl

    I don’t know if Mill’s “On Liberty” is still allowed to be discussed in Yale courses, but if it is I fully expect some of these airhead protesters to demand its immediate removal and public burning. After all, Mill had the temerity to say, “If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.” Mill was apparently oblivious to the PC dogma that certain people have the right to not be offended.

  • je2016

    I’ll bet he gets a lot more speaking invitations (= $$$) now. Way to raise your profile!!

    http://www.harrywalker.com/speaker/Nicholas-Christakis.cfm?Spea_ID=1419

  • willdriscoll

    “Extraordinarily hard,” which the WAPO article put in quotes, may be a mocking statement.

  • Prince Monolulu

    A lot of the hysteria on display is displacement.

    These kids arrive at Yale, and whilst not being exactly dim find that they are far from being the brightest bulbs in the room They find it difficult to cope, migrate to soft majors and become increasingly agitated over ever more trivial or purely imaginary grievances.

  • anattorneyatheart

    As a parent sending my child to Yale to be educated in how to engage in discourse and debate as an adult ON HIS OWN, I fully support the Christakis email. The position in that email was extremely thoughtful and in keeping with our free and constitutionally-governed society. As an attorney, I learned early on the fundamental principle of free speech including attire such as black armbands, also offensive to some at the time that they were worn) in which the standard clearly is that “I hate what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Now, students and the general public want to shame and lock away anyone who says something hurtful or offensive or even just disagreeable to their ears. Such is the path to a totalitarian state.

    The Christakis email should have provoked better discourse from the student body than swear words and whining. Shame on the students, and the administration, for not embracing the opportunity to work out boundaries and associations by themselves–that is, after all, one of the primary purposes of college, especially one like Yale.

  • Peter Adolf

    The Christakises mistake was not content, but context. If you say that all human beings are precious and worthy of protection from harm, that is totally uncontroversial. But if you answer “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter,” the exact same sentiment now denigrates the struggles of people of color. The Christakises and their supporters failed to recognize that difference.

    The point of free speech is the free flow of the “marketplace of ideas,” the ideal to which the University aspires. But once people begin to suspect that you don’t understand or appreciate how racist speech affects them, you can have all of the free speech you want, but no one is listening. “Safe space” means an environment where people feel respected and valued, and can let their guard down enough to be open to listening to new ideas. The marketplace of ideas, like the actual marketplace, is skewed by power: the powerless can’t hear, and the powerful have no incentive to listen.

    I applaud the students whose outcry has thrown the rest of the Yale community back on its heels a bit. It is only when both sides of a debate are equally safe – or equally uncomfortable – that free speech can actually bridge the gap from speaker to listener. The University succeeds in its mission not simply by allowing all free speech without judgment, but as an environment where people feel both free to speak and secure and valued enough to listen.

    • Barbara Gelhard

      Thanks Peter.

    • Canbuhay

      This message makes me feel unsafe as an advocate for free speech. Please cue the protestors who now censor you and impose a safe space on you to prevent you from sharing your ideas. Would that be the only way people like you can learn why censorship is hateful?

      It’s fine and dandy to impose “safe spaces” on others when YOU get to decide what is safe. And at this point, it seems anything that you and your friends deem offensive is unsafe! When that happens, that isn’t free speech.

      As a past victim of real racism, let me assure you the best way to stop hate speech is to use better speech, which means both have to be protected under free speech.

      Unless anyone has actually declared that they will kill someone because of their race (that would be a death threat), nothing I’ve seen or read on this campus constitutes hate speech that deserves this kind of protest.

      Please take these arguments for a “safe space”and make them on behalf of persecuted gays, Christians and minorities in ISIS-controlled lands NOT spoiled brats who go to prestigious ivy league schools which most of us cannot afford to go to. Understand, what is happening there is REAL hate against minorities who truly deserve to be safe.

      • Øystein Rennesund

        Can’t say I agree with either of you completely. Yes, context matters. Yes, minorities will have less power than majorities. Yes, being in the minority is a bitch.

        However, if we are claiming that the minority and the majority should be of equal power, isn’t that quite antithetical to the basis of democracy? Democracy is based on majority rule after all.

        I agree wholeheartedly that we should all be aware of these issues. It is important to remember that it is tiresome and hard to be in the minority in any social or professional setting. I just don’t see how we can make it any better by condemning this act or that outright.

        As I see it, if you take an off-handed comment to heart, and are offended by it since you feel it belittles or oversimplifies your cultural heritage (just an example), the offending element isn’t really what is said, but the underlying values or opinions in society. So censorship wouldn’t really change anything, just hide the bigger issue.

        Lastly, I can’t agree to discriminating between “real” and not “real” racism. The problem isn’t that the group is “spoiled” or “pampered”. The problem is that their solution to the problem seems less of a solution and more of a quick-fix.

  • Alan Jones

    What they all are is a bunch of politically-correct fascists who only want people to think what they think and say what they say. No form of disagreement to their beliefs is tolerated.

    Look it up. college girls an boys: You’re all acting like fascists.

  • Lesley Cate Donovan

    If the students want respect they need to start treating others with respect.