An email about Halloween costumes sent to students at Yale University continues to have repercussions this week, with some calling for the resignation of two residential administrators.
Because the story spans multiple episodes over the course of weeks, Newsmax has gathered below 11 things to know about the controversy.
1. Email about Halloween costumes
— On Oct. 28, Yale Dean Burgwell Howard and Yale’s Intercultural Affairs Committee sent an email to students
asking them to be "safe and thoughtful" about their Halloween costumes. They wrote that Halloween is "unfortunately a time when the normal thoughtfulness and sensitivity of most Yale students can sometimes be forgotten and some poor decisions can be made including wearing feathered headdresses, turbans, wearing 'war paint' or modifying skin tone, or wearing blackface or redface. These same issues and examples of cultural appropriation and/or misrepresentation are increasingly surfacing with representations of Asians and Latinos."
2. Response email about student's rights
— On Oct. 30, Erika Christakis, a lecturer in early childhood education and associate master of the residential Silliman College, wrote a response to the Halloween email
. She said her response was inspired by what she and her husband had "heard from a number of students who were frustrated by the mass email." In the email, she said, "As a former preschool teacher, for example, it is hard for me to give credence to a claim that there is something objectionably 'appropriative' about a blonde-haired child’s wanting to be Mulan for a day . . . I wonder what is the statute of limitations on dreaming of dressing as Tiana the Frog Princess if you aren’t a black girl from New Orleans? Is it OK if you are eight, but not 18?"
3. Argument for free speech
— In the same email, Christakis wondered aloud about the current state of free speech on college campuses. She wrote, "Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious . . . a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive? American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition."
4. Halloween party at Sigma Alpha Epsilon
— On Oct. 30, Yale's chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity held a Halloween party at its off-campus house, the Yale Daily News reported
. Sofia Petros-Gouin, a Columbia freshman who was visiting friends at Yale, and Neema Githere, class of 2018, accused the frat of telling some students that admittance was reserved for "white girls only." Petros-Gouin said she was denied attendance. Githere was not present at the party and did not attempt to get in. Yale SAE President Grant Mueller vigorously denied the accusations. One fraternity brother said that they began turning people away around 11:15 p.m., after the police visited the house due to a noise complaint. After one woman was turned away, she screamed, "It’s because I’m black, isn’t it?" said the SAE member. The fraternity brothers working the door at the time were African-American, Portuguese, and Costa Rican, he said.
5. Uncle Tom accusations
— According to The Washington Post
, the fraternity brother said that "some in Yale’s black community have called black SAE members 'Uncle Tom' on Monday, making them feel like they are being forced to choose between siding with the fraternity or others of their race."
6. Mob confrontations
— On Thursday, the Yale Daily News reported
that students confronted Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway about a perceived lack of administrative response to allegations of racial discrimination. That impromptu confrontation lasted three hours.
7. Confrontation video
— After confronting Holloway, "around 100 students gathered in the courtyard of Silliman College to confront Silliman Master Nicholas Christakis about a Friday email sent by his wife, Associate Master Erika Christakis," reported the Yale Daily News. "I apologize for causing pain, but I am not sorry for the statement," Christakis told the crowd. "I stand behind free speech. I defend the right for people to speak their minds." During the confrontation, The Daily Caller reported that Jerelyn Luther, a senior at Yale, screamed in Christakis' face, calling him "disgusting," demanding he "step down," and shouting "Who the f*** hired you?" As the Caller reported, "Luther actually served on the search committee that chose Christakis as the master of Silliman College." Video of the heated exchange
8. Protest of free speech forum
— On Friday, Yale student Edward Columbia was forcibly removed from a William F. Buckley, Jr. Program conference on free speech for putting up signs that said, "Stand with your sisters of color. Now, here. Always, everywhere." The conference was planned long before the Halloween flap, and Columbia had not registered in advance.
9. "Indian village" protest
— "Looking at the reaction to Erika Christakis’ email, you would have thought someone wiped out an entire Indian village," speaker Greg Lukianoff said at the Buckley Program conference on Friday. After a student posted Lukianoff's quote to the Facebook group "Overheard at Yale" on Friday afternoon, "over 100 students gathered around Linsly-Chittenden Hall to voice their anger," reported the Yale Daily News
. Lukianoff "is the author of “Coddling of the American Mind,” an article in The Atlantic that Erika Christakis tweeted last week in response to criticism of her Oct. 30 email," according to the Daily.
10. "What's Really Going On" essay
— On Sunday, Yale senior Aaron Z. Lewis penned an essay on Medium.com
, in which he attempted to "tell a more complete story and set a few facts straight" about the tension on campus. "Last year, there were swastikas found outside a freshman dorm. The Yale College Dean, Jonathan Holloway, sent an email to the entire student body condemning this 'shameful defacement' within one day," he wrote."It took almost a full week for Yale’s president to formally acknowledge students’ legitimate concerns about racism and the incident at SAE." He said the "larger issue" was "systemic racism on campus."
11. March of Resilience
— On Monday, hundreds of students staged a massive "March of Resilience" at the school's Connecticut campus. They chanted, stopped traffic, and marched past the SAE fraternity house, according to Mashable
. Yale President Peter Salovey participated in the rally.
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