What you should see: First and foremost, this is what the protest at Yale looked like. Language on their banners read: We are Loved. We are here to stay.
This is not the image of hostility and aggression portrayed by most of the media. One video clip of a student screaming at Professor Christakis went viral and, unfortunately, was used to set the tone for so many of the articles that came out covering the events on campus.
Updated on November 17: President Salovey addressed Yale and the alumni network with his response. He is increasing funding to all four cultural houses, improving training to talk about diversity for students and Yale’s staff (professors and administrators), improving financial aid for low income students, providing mental health providers through the cultural houses (to provide mental health professionals versed in more of the background their students are coming from), and investing further resources into programs like ethnicity, race and migration that offer academic opportunities outside the traditional “Canon.
The students marched to President Salovey’s house on November 12, 2015 and presented their list of demands at 11:50pm. This is the final list of their demands, as presented that evening.
This is the email about Halloween by Erika Christakis that sparked some of the initial conversations about communities on campus. I suggest reading the full copy, rather than the quotes pulled out of context for several publications online. As of November 18, 2015, the University has confirmed its support for Master Christakis in his appointment to Silliman College.
I kept asking students for a better sense of what was going on and was presented with this list of demands from the community at DOWN magazine (a Yale student publication) as it stands on November 11, 2015.
The order of events in the last week, as presented by a student.
This is the statement issued by the President of Yale Peter Salovey regarding their commitment to a “better Yale,” sent to students on November 6, 2015.
This was the statement sent by Dean of Yale College Jonathan Holloway on November 6, 2015.
This is another piece on the broader context of the protests by an alum. It is particularly powerful and going viral through the Yale alumni network that appears regularly in my facebook newsfeed (11/11/2015). The Yale Daily News also followed up with several members of the alumni to gather and present their reactions.
I keep hearing from students still on campus that they are afraid and that the organizers face regular threats. That campus no longer feels safe. Today (11/11/2015) the Yale Daily News published a story about racist signs that appeared on campus… apparently from non-students. It doesn’t describe the atmosphere in the same ways that students have described it to me, but we need to keep paying attention.
Maybe the hardest part is reading the headlines every morning. Some are reflective of what the students are saying and asking for… others are clickbait or trying to place the story in a quick context for what else is going on in the US around race relations. This means… the headlines are clunky at best.
For example, this Slate headline, “The Yale Student Protests Are Campus PC Wars At Their Best” is terrible and sounds like it’s going to be a frustrating read, but ends up giving some good perspective.
The Atlantic is being inconsistent (and sometimes needs to do better research before it writes about subjects outside of context). For example, we started with this from them: This article published Monday claims this is all a meltdown about a single email. They followed up with this article on Tuesday to add more context and adding that it was less about the specific email and more about the long overdue conversations about race, class and privilege that were missing on campus.
Those that read only the articles about the isolated email incident have taken to calling Yale students “children” and asking “where the adults are.” Several Yale alumni have published pieces about their own experiences at Yale and their concerns with speakers invited to campus, but their own “restraint” in interacting with these speakers… which again, doesn’t bring the larger context of race and class etc. on campus.
The authors from these particular articles need to read this older piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates and think about the experiences he describes so well here.
I will continue adding to this as I find decent sources.