Courtesy of Ari Schaffer

“We stand united against the formation of a liberal-only echo chamber at Yale.” 

Thus goes the dramatic opening line of “Pod and Man at Yale,” the Buckley Institute’s new podcast. The title is a pun on “God and Man at Yale,” the book that launched the career of political commentator William F. Buckley Jr. ’50, from whom the Buckley Institute derives their name. 

The inaugural episode, which features a conversation with student panelists as well as an interview with former Rep. Mick Mulvaney, was released on Spotify on Sept. 8.

“The Buckley Institute wanted to find a way to highlight student voices more effectively in the ongoing debates about the issues facing the campus and the country,” Ari Schaffer, podcast host and Buckley Institute communications director said of the new podcast. “We realized that too much of the debate about the campus intellectual climate is happening without the input of those most deeply impacted by what’s happening there.” 

The first half of the podcast’s inaugural episode showcased the views of three Buckley-affiliated students on two chosen topics: free speech and affirmative action. 

The panelists, Libby Snowden ’24, Trevor MacKay ’25 and Will Barbee ’26, agreed on the importance of free speech, the presence of liberal biases they believe to exist among some Yale faculty and the necessity of those with the minority opinion to speak up and promote intellectual diversity. 

In the episode, Snowden, a chemistry major who is the Buckley Institute’s vice president, described how she feels her learning experiences have been affected by professors’ political inclinations — even in the STEM world.

When podcast host Ari Schaffer pressed for a particular example, Snowden said that “there were definitely a couple [of times] where we were talking about a data set having to do with climate change or forest fires or something like that, and I was like, ‘interesting, I wonder how we’re manipulating the data towards maybe a certain conclusion.’” 

Snowden elaborated further to the News that while she does not deny the existence of climate change, she thinks the facts of the issue have been misrepresented by Democrats and Republicans.

The next topic was the Supreme Court’s recent decision banning affirmative action in the college admissions process, which two of the students interviewed in the episode said they supported. All three said they agreed that there were unfair biases against the Supreme Court’s reasoning among Yale administration and students. 

Barbee said that he found on-campus opinions toward the decision unsurprising. He claimed on the podcast that the Supreme Court decision is “not affecting kids who got into Yale. It’s the voices that aren’t on campus that it most affects. It’s the people who didn’t get into Yale because of the affirmative action policies.” 

In the final section of the podcast, host Ari Schaffer interviewed Mick Mulvaney. The former Congressman and White House Chief of Staff spoke at a Buckley event on Sept. 12. The podcast interview focused on Mulvaney’s career, from his unexpected start in Congress to his work at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and his role as Chief of Staff under the Trump administration. 

When asked about his advice for students pursuing public office, in the podcast, Mulvaney encouraged them to explore careers outside of government first. 

“I’m dead serious about this: get a real life first, and I’m not joking about that,” he said. “I know some really really nice, smart people who are members of Congress who have never had a job outside of Washington D.C. and that doesn’t make for a good lawmaker. You need to have a real life. You need to have had another career. You need to do something else and bring that what I call “real world” experience.”

According to Schaffer, the target audience of the “Pod and Man at Yale” podcast is not just Yale affiliates but also public policymakers and Americans concerned with “the direction of America’s campuses” who want to hear from students about “what needs to be done.”

In regards to the Institute’s plans for the podcast, Schaffer said that the Buckley Institute is looking to amplify student voices on national issues and encourage “heterodox opinions” on campus.

Yale Democrats President Josh Guo ’24 , however, told the News that he has some apprehension about the amplification of certain views. 

“Although we disagree with the Buckley Institute on most ideological and policy issues, we have been and remain open to partnering with them from time to time for events that are hosted with the aim of fostering open intellectual dialogue on campus,” he said. 

Guo added that he will continue to support the podcast, as well as other Buckley platforms for free speech, as long as they do not circulate misinformation or encourage “hateful” narratives which “target and harass members of marginalized communities that make up our membership.” 

Buckley President Ryan Gapski ’24 wrote to the News that he hopes the podcast will encourage students with opinions that differ from what he believes is the Yale norm to speak up. 

The Buckley Institute was established as the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program in 2011.

NORA MOSES