Over 1000 students at Yale, one of the world’s most prestigious Ivy League schools, have marched across campus to demonstrate against racial insensitivity.
The march follows several racially charged incidents that occurred on campus, including allegations that a woman was turned away from a Frat party at Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) on Halloween after being told it was for white girls only.
— Roosh (@rooshv) November 10, 2015
“Really what’s at question here is the racial climate on campus,” said Eshe Sherley, a senior at Yale, “SAE is just one part of that. We could dispute what happened on that night forever, but I think what’s important is that there is a consensus that [SAE’s] not a safe space for us and the University needs to take that seriously.”
Students also cite an email from a faculty member who objected to a request from the Intercultural Affairs Committee that students avoid wearing racially insensitive Halloween costumes.
Then, on Wednesday night, just hours after Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway and University President Peter Salovey sent a campus-wide email saying they were deeply troubled by the institution’s atmosphere, Holloway sent another email notifying students that signs displaying racist messages has been found on Old Campus.
The front of the signs featured the phrases: “All lives matter” and “No more dead black children”, but Afro-American Cultural Center Director Rise Nelson Burrow claims the backs of the signs displayed additional messages; according to Holloway, the messages included references to black criminality, violence and acts of rape.
— FOX 61 (@FOX61News) November 11, 2015
“Racist messages are disgusting and cowardly,” Salovey told Yale News, “I don’t want to see them on our campus. We need to condemn this kind of behaviour.”
YPD’s Lieutenant Brian Logan says the investigation is ongoing, but that the preliminary review indicates Yale students were not involved. Police would not divulge further information, but the self-described comedy group “Million Dollar Extreme”, consisting of three men who produce ‘alternative’ comedy for the internet, posted a picture of two men holding the signs earlier that day.
“The words were strong and scary enough that the students who saw it were shaken,” said Nelson, “It’s bad that something like this would happen at a time when students are already so fragile.”
Holloway believes the incident was meant to aggravate members of the community who are caught in the midst of racial tension that is currently rife through campus.
In his most recent message to the Yale student cohort, Holloway emphasised the Universities fundamental values of diversity and respect.
“The University condemns these messages, which are here to affront us all,” he said, “As President Salovey and I wrote just a short time ago, Yale embraces our community’s diversity, and is committed to increasing, supporting and respecting that diversity; it is what makes our campus such a vibrant and dynamic place, built on mutual respect.”
People across the nation, and the world, took to social media to show their support for the cause:
It’s about time that people with privilege speak out against the oppression of other people (2/2) #Yaleprotest
— sighsaias (@run_isaias_run) November 11, 2015
Black students at Yale, Mizzou getting violent threats today. Racism is not just a concept that you can debate into obscurity, academics.
— Suzy Exposito (@HexPositive) November 11, 2015
So powerful to see Yale students united against racism and for equal treatment for all on campus. pic.twitter.com/Buf7GEbQ6w
— Brooke Collins (@BrookeSCollins) November 9, 2015
1) Making what happened/is happening at Yale a free speech issue is derailing the real topic at hand: racism.
— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) November 7, 2015
— stilltheonly (@stilltheonly) November 7, 2015
While others were not so supportive:
— Chez Pazienza (@chezpazienza) November 11, 2015
Comfort and (emotional) safety are not human rights–not on your University campus, not anywhere. Deal with it, you’re adults. #Yaleprotest
— Julian (@JulianDavis) November 11, 2015
— Josie Wales (@JosietheOutlaw1) November 11, 2015
— Batman (@mrsirbatty) November 10, 2015
— Sophia Eris (@HiddenTara) November 10, 2015
Grad students at top tier Ivy League school need to be liberated? From what? Their mother’s umbilical? #Yaleprotest
— Taylor Vincent (@thatsickfilth) November 10, 2015
And so, the battle to improve race relations at one of the United States most reputed Universities continues.
Image via Philipp Arndt Photography.