On Wednesday night, just hours after Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway and University President Peter Salovey sent out a joint email affirming the University’s support for diversity and open discussions, Holloway sent another email to the Yale community notifying students that signs displaying racist messages had been found on Old Campus.
The front side of the signs featured two phrases: “All Lives Matter” and “No More Dead Black Children.” However, the backs of the signs contained additional messages. According to Holloway, those messages included references to black criminality, violence and acts of rape.
Holloway’s email said the Yale Police has obtained video footage of the incident, and the department’s preliminary review indicates that Yale students were not involved.
“Racist messages are disgusting and cowardly,” Salovey told the News late Tuesday evening. “I don’t ever want to see them on our campus. We need to condemn this kind of behavior.”
YPD Lieutenant Brian Logan said his department’s investigation of the incident is ongoing and declined to provide further information, but the self-described comedy group “Million Dollar Extreme” — which, according to its Facebook page, consists of three men who produce “alternative comedy” for the Internet — posted a picture of two men holding the signs in question. Multiple students said they had seen these men carrying the signs on campus earlier in the day. A police report was filed later that evening.
Gaurav Pathak ’19 said that while he was walking past Old Campus between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., he noticed the signs leaning against a statue. He confirmed that the front of one sign read “All Lives Matter” and that the other read “No More Dead Black Children.”
Holloway said he believes the incident is an attempt to provoke members of the community, especially given the racial controversies and tension that have dominated campus recently.
In his second message to the Yale College community, Holloway reaffirmed the University’s values of diversity and respect.
“The University condemns these messages, which are an affront to us all,” he said. “As President Salovey and I wrote just a short time ago, Yale embraces our community’s diversity, and it is committed to increasing, supporting and respecting that diversity; it is what makes our campus such a vibrant and dynamic place, built on mutual respect.”
Correction, Nov. 12: A previous version of this story attributed unauthorized comments to Risë Nelson, director of the Afro-American Cultural Center. She has been removed from the article. The News regrets the error.