Courtesy of Lindsay Jost

The Yale Police Department is investigating reports from Yale students who witnessed two masked people post racially provocative flyers on bulletin boards around Cross Campus on Tuesday night, according to Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews.

Yale students took photos of the posters, removed them from the bulletin board, replaced them with messages of support for people of color and reported the incident to Yale student life staff and the YPD on Tuesday night. The flyers depicted the symbol of a “White Student’s (sic) Union of Yale” and quoted slavery advocate and class of 1804 graduate John Calhoun — the former namesake of what is now Grace Hopper College. The quote reads, “In looking back, I see nothing to regret, and little to correct.”

YPD officers are currently reviewing camera footage to identify the perpetrators, Goff-Crews told the News. However, they have not yet concluded whether the masked people were members of the Yale community. The department has also stepped up its patrols in “sensitive areas on campus,” including the center of Yale’s campus, where the incident occured.

“I find the sentiments signified by these flyers deeply troubling, and I want to be clear: hate is not welcome on our campus,” Salovey wrote in a campuswide email. “As I have said in the past, the answer to speech one finds repugnant is more speech. I have no doubt that the members of the Yale community will respond to expressions of hate, racism, and exclusion on this campus with even stronger affirmations of our values—and a renewed commitment to creating a diverse, inclusive community where all people are welcomed.”

In the email, Salovey confirmed that the perpetrators violated a University policy which only permits registered student organizations to post flyers on campus.

Yale has notified the Southern Poverty Law Center — which monitors hate groups in the U.S. — and the Anti-Defamation League — a Jewish group that fights anti-Semitism and bigotry — about the incident, according to Salovey’s email. In an email to the News, Goff-Crews added that the University is monitoring similar efforts executed by white nationalist groups on other college campuses. In 2018, the Southern Poverty Law Center has documented 178 incidents of hateful postering on campuses, according to Goff-Crews’ email.

On Tuesday night, a student posted a photograph of the flyer on the popular Facebook group “Overheard at Yale,” prompting heavy backlash against the perpetrators among commenters.

Students and alumni interviewed by the News condemned the flyers. Prior to Salovey’s email, at least two individuals told the News that they contacted Salovey’s office calling for the University to respond to the incident.

On Wednesday morning, Gene Lyman ’92 also emailed Salovey’s office calling on the University to investigate the situation thoroughly, discipline any current students involved and “reassert Yale’s values as an inclusive and intellectually honest community.”

“Even if this should prove a hoax, or someone’s sick idea of a joke, I cannot emphasize enough how unacceptable the sentiment expressed in these flyers is,” Lyman wrote in the email to Salovey.

Lyman said he received a response from Joy McGrath, Salovey’s chief of staff, as well as Salovey’s email to the Yale community.

Sohum Pal ’20 sent an email about the incident to Salovey, Goff-Crews and Dean of Yale College Marvin Chun on Tuesday night. In his email, Pal called for the establishment of a Title VI office, which would enforce the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color and national origin at educational institutions, and for a systematic change in University responses to grievances around racial discrimination. Pal said that the University should create a “mechanism for change” instead of releasing emails to “reaffirm its commitments.”

“Tonight, people put up these fliers around campus,” Pal wrote in his email. “I felt vulnerable — is it any surprise? My time at Yale has been many things — sometimes empowering, but more often I’ve been struck at how expendable students, faculty, and staff of color must be to the university.” Unlike Lyman, Pal said he received no direct response to his email.

Ashtan Towles ’19, a former peer liaison for the Afro-American Cultural Center, told the News that while the perpetrators remain unknown, the act was “done in cowardice,” comparing the masked individuals to Klu Klux Klan members who don masks to protect their identities.

“This incident is merely one of thousands through which white nationalists have attempted to stoke fear in Black communities, but I am always in awe of the resilience and pride that exists in the Black community at Yale,” Towles said in an email to the News.

According to Simon Ghebreyesus ’21, the sentiments of white pride in the flyers are a “sinister presence” for students of color to grapple with at Yale and across the country.

Epongue Ekille ’21 told the News that she had generally viewed Yale as a racially inclusive place but the flyer incident “negates it all.”

“It was both surprising and not at the same time. Although Yale is proud of its diversity, the matter of the fact is that the student population is majority white and wealthy,” Ekille said. “I’m not surprised that people who have these opinions exist at Yale, I’m just surprised that they would publicly advertise it.”

While the University ruled out the possibility of instituting a separate office to address Title VI complaints this October, it created a new website called “Belonging at Yale” that outlines policies, reports, initiatives and resources that address diversity and inclusion at Yale.

Despite student calls for instituting a separate Title VI office, Chun said that the University already has existing procedures to address instances of discrimination. These policies include the “President’s Procedure for Addressing Students’ Complaints of Racial or Ethnic Harassment,” the “Provost’s Procedure for Student Complaints” and the “Dean’s Procedure for Student Complaints.”

Goff-Crews told the News that students should seek out support within “environments where they feel connected,” whether that is their respective school, residential college, chaplain’s office or cultural center. She added that deans and deans’ designees are trained to respond and provide such support.

Director of the Asian American Cultural Center Joliana Yee stressed the importance of community support in her email to the Asian and Asian-American community at Yale.

“The work of social justice is and should be a daily obligation of all of us, not just a one-off response to acts of ignorance and hate,” Yee wrote in her email. “In the face of hate I urge you to be mobilized by the ethic of love to build solidarity within and across communities. Please also remember to take care of yourselves and to show up for one another as we push through these days.”

Yee also encouraged students to work toward building anti-racist coalitions across campus and in New Haven. She cited the success of such coalitions at peer institutions, such as the University of California, Berkeley’s Asian American Political Alliance, “as evidence that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can affect meaningful change.”

Students can report additional information about the incident to the YPD at 203-432-4400.

Jever Mariwala | jever.mariwala@yale.edu

Alice Park | alice.park@yale.edu

  • Higherominous Bosh

    Very. Skeptical. For so many reasons.

    Sad that quoted ppl pretend not to see the likely flaws. Loved the “even if…” omniconditional “outrage.” Stir that pot!

    Because this : “I’m not surprised that people who have these opinions *exist at Yale,* I’m just surprised that [Yalies] would publicly advertise it.”

    11/15 9am

    Pls close the “forums”

  • Guy

    Almost certainly a hoax. They always are. Created up by the SJW thugs who just can’t seem to find enough to be offended over.

  • John Dingle Barry

    Why would the Police be investigating this? What crime was committed? Free speech goes both ways whether you like it or not.

  • Higherominous Bosh

    YDN Eds.: the sic statement “[t]he flyers depicted the symbol of a ‘White Student’s (sic) Union of Yale'” does not comport with the provided photo (not that it matters). Also: YDN is AP versus CMOS?

    Oh, and let’s close those forums…

  • APD

    Salovey: Yale believes in free speech.

    Also Salovey: Our police department will investigate anyone who’s speech we do not like. War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.

    This is truly disturbing, and Yale is sinking to new levels of fascism.

    Any first amendment lawyer want to make some money?

  • Sol G

    I’m not at all sure that I fully understand this article. Assuming that these flyers are loathsome and “racially provocative” and express “unacceptable” and “disturbing” opinions and are a “sinister presence” and were put up by Yale students and make some Yale students feel “vulnerable” and so on, what exactly is the principle under which other Yale students are entitled to remove and replace them? And, assuming these flyers were put up by Yale students, what would the basis of “disciplining” them be? Should such students be “disciplined” if it turns out that they are black?

    What Yale rule or regulation was violated by these flyers, and why does the Yale Daily News not identify the offended rule or regulation in this article? Does Yale prohibit the posting of “disturbing” or “unacceptable” opinions? Is there a Yale rule or regulation under which Yale students can be “disciplined” for posting “disturbing” or “racially provacative” opinions? Or is it only some such opinions, as determined by their content? If so, who makes that determination? Would, for example, a flyer supporting Justice Kavanaugh and demanding that those members of the Yale community who insulted him during his confirmation now apologize to him be considered “disturbing” and “unacceptable?” How about a “Vote for Trump” flyer? Would a flyer stating that Harvard discriminates against Asian applicants and should lose the case now pending in Boston, and that all racially based affirmative action is wicked, be “racially provocative” and “disturbing” and “unacceptable?”

    Would a Yale student posting a flyer stating – as Nancy Pelosi just did – that infamous racial manipulator and provocateur Al Sharpton is a hero who saved the nation be doing something “racially provocative” and “unacceptable” and “deeply disturbing” to the point that other Yale students would be authorized to make such a determination and remove them, and put up flyers to the contrary, an investigation launched and the perpetrators disciplined? Is a sweepingly racist comment such as “the matter of the fact is that the student population is majority white and wealthy…. I’m not surprised that people who have these opinions exist at Yale, I’m just surprised that they would publicly advertise it” not “racially provacative” and “deeply disturbing?” By whose standards?

    How does removing offensive flyers and putting up others constitute addressing offensive speech with more speech? Isn’t removing an offensive flyer just censorship? Why are the Yale students who removed these offensive flyers not subject to discipline for doing so?

    And if no applicable Yale rule or regulation was broken, why does the Yale Daily News not report that?

  • Awal

    Epongue Ekille ’21 told the News that she had generally viewed Yale as a racially inclusive place but the flyer incident “negates it all.”

    “It was both surprising and not at the same time. Although Yale is proud of its diversity, the matter of the fact is that the student population is majority white and wealthy,” Ekille said. “I’m not surprised that people who have these opinions exist at Yale, I’m just surprised that they would publicly advertise it.”
    ———————————
    There doesn’t appear to be any evidence whatsoever that the people who posted the flyers had any affiliation with Yale. In fact, I’d say that it’s very possible, if not probable, that they weren’t Yale students all all. At this point, Ms. Ekille’s commentary is a bit ahead of any actual facts.

  • Sol G

    I think it is important to note that these flyers, while in very poor taste and expressing opinions with which I utterly disagree, do not single out or focus on individuals. Nor are the flyers physically threatening. Calling them “harassment” is almost certainly wrong. Nor do these flyers threaten the safety of others. These flyers differ significantly from messages for which the (alleged) perpetrators have been charged.

    For example, Prosecutors charged Kayla-Simone McKelvey, 24, with creating a false public alarm. McKelvey made an anonymous Twitter account, @keanuagainstblk, during a student rally Nov. 17, the Prosecutor’s Office said. McKelvey left the demonstration, walked to a computer station in a Kean library, and began posting threats of violence:

    “i will kill all the blacks tonight, tomorrow and any other day if they go to Kean university,” one tweet read.

    “i will kill every black male and female at kean university,” read another.

    McKelvey, who had recently graduated from Kean “immediately returned to the rally and attempted to spread awareness of the threats she allegedly had just fabricated,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. The ruse worked. Some students criticized the university’s leaders for what they said was an insufficient response and allowing a climate of racial tension; a coalition of black ministers called for Kean’s president to resign Some students said they felt unsafe.

    Kean sent a message to students, staff, and faculty announcing the charges against McKelvey:

    “As a diverse academic community, we wholeheartedly respect and support activism; however, no cause or issue gives anyone the right to threaten the safety of others.”

  • matt10023

    “Although Yale is proud of its diversity, the matter of the fact is that the student population is majority white and wealthy,” Ekille said

    Most white supremacists are not wealthy. Experts on the topic note that economic distress feeds the movement. When your only tool is Cultural Marxism every problem looks like a class struggle.

  • Higherominous Bosh

    11/18 5 pm
    Now in the 3-5 day moderation zone.
    C’mon, kidz! Let’s close them forums!

  • Higherominous Bosh

    Day 5

  • Higherominous Bosh

    Article published Nov. 15; as of Nov. 21, still no comments “approved.”

    Please, YDN, formalize the “soft” close if the forums. Heck, be ‘The New Yorker’ you always yearned to be; let sing your inner ‘Atlantic. ‘