The tensions at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut continue to escalate after a series of racist events that have left black students feeling vulnerable.
Student activists at the University have created a brand-new organization titled Next Yale to protest the institutionalized racism at the Ivy League school.
Of course, the African-American pupils are upset about the racist “White-Girls Only” Halloween party that promptly sparked protests on campus. But instead of addressing the main concerns of the students after the Halloween incident, President Peter Salovey and Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway (the University’s first Black Dean) chose to send out an email announcing an initiative to create a tobacco-free campus.
Last week, almost 1,000 students expressed their solidarity with each other by attending the “March of Resilience” across campus last week as well. However, shortly after the march, the possibility of violence against African-American students became frighteningly real.
On Thursday, around 1:00 PM, African-American Studies Department Chair and English professor Jacqueline Goldsby informed faculty members and students at Yale that the administrative staff had received a hate call.
Goldby’s staff was sent home for their protection while Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins increased security measures around the building. Goldsby said the phone call was “very disturbing, violent and racist.”
|Yale President Peter Salovey|
Late last week, just before Paris was rocked by deadly simultaneous suicide attacks, over 200 students with Next Yale took their beef to President Salovey’s house, with a set of demands.
The students demands could be problematic for President Salovey to meet.
Next Yale wants undergraduates to be required to take mandatory courses in Ethnic Studies, as well as access to better mental health services. They are also asking Calhoun College and several campus buildings to be renamed after people of color while simultaneously seeking a ban of the title “Master.”
Students are also asking for $2 million to hire five full-time staff members at Yale’s cultural centers, as well as a monument recognizing Yale was founded on stolen, indigenous land.
Lastly, Next Yale is seeking the ouster of Nicholas and Erika Christakis, two faculty members who penned a controversial open letter, basically arguing that the students should get over the offensive Halloween costumes.
Last week, the Christakis’ published a long email attempting to clarify the original piece.
Even though his job could be on the line depending on his reaction, President Salovey said he was fine with the students choice to protest in front of his house.
“This was a peaceful group of students visiting me at my home at a somewhat late hour, completely consistent with University protest policy,” he said, promising to address the demands soon.
The students have the support of thousands of Yale’s alumni. Last week, the organization wrote a letter supporting the protests and calls for change at the storied learning institution.
“The current student protests may have been provoked by a controversy over Halloween costumes, but they have much deeper roots in Yale’s history and culture,” alumni wrote in the open letter. “They have made it clear to us that institutional racism continues to be a powerful force at Yale, as it was when we were students.”
It’s also taking a toll on Dean Jonathan Calloway, who is a scholar of African-American History. He told The New York Times that he’s lost 5 pounds since the tensions started to flare earlier this month.
‘You know, I always knew that when times were tough here that you would always have our back. That helped me get through. And now I don’t know if you do,’” Dr. Holloway said. “It broke my heart.”