The move-in plans of more than 1,300 freshmen continued unabated Friday morning, parents and freshman counselors trudging back and forth bearing luggage, even as several local organizations petitioned for their causes on traffic-heavy Elm Street and inside Old Campus.
About 20 members of Unidad Latina en Acción, which has been protesting the name of Calhoun College every Friday for the last several weeks, took advantage of Friday’s chaos, striding out onto the corner of Elm and College Streets during red lights with a yards-long orange banner demanding that Yale “CHANGE THE NAME.”
Organizers from the national labor union UNITE HERE told the News that over 400 members of Locals 34 and 35 were out on campus raising awareness for job security. Members wore shirts stating, “ASK ME ABOUT LABOR PEACE” and handed out flyers noting that it has been 13 years since University workers went on strike over contract negotiations.
“It’s kind of a perfect storm,” one observer said.
Over the past several weeks, ULA members have rechristened the controversial college themselves, last week writing the name “Hitler” on tape pasted over the name “Calhoun” on its Elm Street plaque. This week, they wrote “Osama Bin Laden.”
“So now you know how people of color feel,” an organizer said into a megaphone. “And we will keep on doing it until you get the point, Yale.”
Later, several protesters added “Or Ida B Wells” to the sign on another piece of masking tape.
Several Yale students who support changing the name of Calhoun told the News they dispute those tactics.
Despite the controversial methods of the protestors in front of Calhoun, move-in proceedings for the college’s freshmen and FroCos in Bingham seemed largely unaffected.
Calhoun FroCos interviewed said they were not overly concerned about the demonstrations surrounding their college.
Head FroCo Isaiah Genece ’17 said he and his team had been discussing the issue beforehand.
“As we begin to move away from the name of Calhoun, any support is important. As our shirts and memorabilia show, we are moving away from the name,” said Genece, adding that as far as he knows, the protesters are not Yale-affiliaited.
This year’s Calhoun freshman move-in T-shirts do not bear the college’s name, in a nod to the ongoing debate.
“When we contacted freshmen, we addressed the issue of Calhoun directly. Our job is not to indoctrinate them, but to let them form their own opinions and traditions,” Genece said.
Calhoun FroCo Lindsey Hogg ’17 said the demonstration was not really affecting move-in. Freshmen will discuss the name of Calhoun in nightly FroCo meetings, she said.
Both Frocos stressed that they want to encourage freshmen to form their own opinions about Calhoun.