In response to the Yale men’s basketball team’s continued display of support for former captain Jack Montague, actions from campus groups — and from anonymous individuals — have ramped up.
Four days after the team earned an NCAA Tournament berth with a win over Columbia, and six days after Montague’s father confirmed to the New Haven Register that his son was expelled, a third wave of posters appeared on campus, including some that singled out specific members of the men’s basketball program. The initial batch of posters last week featured images of players wearing T-shirts honoring Montague, and called on them to “stop supporting a rapist.” On Wednesday, three student groups will “chalk-in” on Cross Campus in response to campuswide discussions about the team, as well as in support of sexual assault survivors at Yale, according to United Against Sexual Assault at Yale co-director Helen Price ’18.
The chalk-in has been organized by USAY, the Yale Black Women’s Coalition and the Yale Women’s Center, but it is unclear who is responsible for the posters, which were posted inside Dunham Laboratory’s room 220, a lecture hall that seats around 150, early Tuesday morning.
“People at the moment are feeling very angry and upset and frustrated, and perhaps they have no official way to channel that,” Price said. “We wanted to provide that outlet and a place for people to express their solidarity, to get together and take a stand and show they’re not isolated and to publicly make a statement that this isn’t the kind of culture we want on Yale’s campus.”
Around 100 copies of the posters — which were found in Dunham around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning and were cleared out by 7:30 a.m. — referred to statements made by members of the team following Saturday’s game, when they fielded questions from numerous media outlets about their former captain. In interviews, players largely downplayed the significance of Montague’s departure while reaffirming their support for him.
While one poster again made reference to the entire team, the other two were more targeted. One featured a picture from Sports Illustrated of guard Khaliq Ghani ’16, who had written Montague’s nickname, “Gucci,” on his wrist tape for the game. The picture showed Ghani displaying the tape while holding up four fingers to represent Montague’s jersey number. Above the picture, the poster read “Shame on you” with the caption “Khaliq Ghani supports a rapist.”
The other poster had a statement attributed to head coach James Jones, who was quoted as saying, “[Sexual assault] isn’t of any interest to me … Jack knows how we feel about him — we love him.”
The quoted words combined two statements Jones made to media outlets on Saturday. He told Sports Illustrated, “That isn’t of any interest to me,” referring not to sexual assault, but to online rumors about Montague’s departure. He added, “The only interesting thing to me right now is winning a basketball game.” That same night, he told ESPN, “Jack knows how we feel about him — we love him.”
Neither Ghani nor Jones responded to a request for comment on Tuesday night.
All posters had been cleared out of the lecture hall well before the first class of the day, “Introductory Data Analysis,” began at 9 a.m.
It is unclear why Dunham 220 was chosen to house this set of posters, though statistics professor John Emerson, who teaches the 9 a.m. course, has done work on statistical analysis of NCAA brackets. Emerson said he was not notified of any posters and did not see anything unusual in the classroom when he arrived.
“The only thing I can say is every time around this time of year I do some basketball-related analysis, because we’re going into March Madness, so we did some analysis,” Emerson said. “So I have a feeling that’s just a coincidence. I don’t see any reason why [the class’s basketball exercise] might be the reason behind it.”
Despite the allegations made on the posters, claims made about Montague’s departure remain unsubstantiated. New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said in his department there is currently no complaint filed against Montague, who also does not appear in any criminal or civil investigations. University administrators have declined to comment on Montague’s departure, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which prohibits educational institutions from releasing a student’s private academic records without the student’s prior written consent.
Another message chalked on classroom blackboards and featured on posters is a pledge started last week by Jonathan Simonds ’18 to show support for survivors of sexual assault. It has now received over 180 signatures.
“We have tried to increase visibility in the past few days,” Simonds said. “Its success as a campaign is dependent collecting support, so that’s what we set out to do … However, I think it’s passed that point and reached a level where it’s clear that there are people on this campus who feel strongly about the issue and who aren’t afraid to stand up for one another.”
Correction: This article previously named David Hartman as Chief of New Haven Police. In fact, he is the NHPD spokesman.