Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway announced Tuesday an updated account of an investigation of alleged spitting at a November William F. Buckley, Jr. event, days after some students criticized his office’s investigation process.
In order to bring closure to a fall term dominated by racially-charged controversies and discussions, Holloway informed the Yale College community last week of the results of investigations into two incidents: an alleged “white girls only” entrance policy to an Oct. 30 part at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, and accusations that student demonstrators had spat on attendees of a Buckley conference about free speech. The YCDO concluded that it would not seek disciplinary actions as the investigations did not find evidence of either incident.
But student leaders of the Buckley program found the investigation of the spitting allegation unacceptable, stating that they had not been made aware of the investigation. Holloway’s Dec. 15 email acknowledged this response and affirmed that a student attendee had said he was spat on, correcting his original email, which wrote that no direct accounts of spitting had been provided. Still, his update made no mention of disciplinary actions for anyone involved. Holloway told the News that since no complaint about the spitting incident had been reported to the YCDO previously, his office had not engaged in an active investigation.
“We had several Yale Police officers and YCDO staff members at the Buckley event and no one reported an incident of spitting,” Holloway said. “There was also no complaint filed to the Dean’s office or to the police. We can only act on things that are reported.”
Following Holloway’s original email, Buckley program president Zach Young ’17 and Buckley member Misael Cabrera, who said he was spat on, contacted Holloway and said they were unaware of the investigation and had not been contacted. Holloway directed the students to Dean of Student Engagement Burgwell Howard, who heard the students’ accounts.
In his update Tuesday, Holloway said Buckley leaders had brought to his attention an incident of spitting reported by one student attendee. Holloway stressed that spitting violates the university’s policy on free speech and is an unacceptable form of protest.
Young told the News he is glad that there is a community-wide update and that the YCDO has taken steps to correct the investigation. But he noted that Holloway’s email did not contain an apology or an acknowledgement of the investigation’s mishandling, adding that he has mixed feelings on the update.