Remember when a couple of faculty members who supervised a Yale dorm were run out of their position by screaming bullies? (The supervisory position was called “College Master” until recently. That term was dropped because students said it reminded them of slavery. You can’t make this up.)
Remember what the bullies were so mad about? It was an email from the College Master who gently told them they could choose whatever Halloween costumes they wanted and, if they saw others wearing costumes they didn’t like, they should try to shrug it off.
Sensible advice? If you think that, you clearly have no moral compass. You are certainly not fit for today’s Yale.
The “Halloween episode” occurred in 2015, and, when the students bullied, Yale’s most senior leaders immediately buckled. The bullies won.
Now, it has doubled down on its mistake. It has showered the bullies with honor. They were recognized and rewarded for their “exemplary leadership.”
Yale has awarded them the Nakanishi Prize for the “two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.”
You can easily imagine the committee that picked the winners.
- Burgwell Howard, Chair, Assoc. Vice President for Student Life, Dean of Student Engagement
- Risë Nelson, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, Afro-American Cultural Center
- Kelly Fayard, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, Native American Cultural Center
- Eileen Galvez, Assistant Dean of Yale College; Director, La Casa Cultural
- and so on
If you think these administrators want to stop the screaming and bullying in the Holy Name of Social Justice, you would be sadly mistaken.
They have just demonstrated they wish to honor it. They think it “enhances race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.”
If they knew the intellectual heritage of their position–a doubtful proposition–they would trace it to the Frankfurt School of cultural Marxism, which teaches that speech can and should be suppressed for a higher goal, that of staunching the power of existing elites and ultimately overthrowing them, violently if necessary (as it surely will be), to create a better society.
“Who determines this better society?” you ask. “Who determines who get to speak?”
“Shut up,” they thoughtfully reply.
James Kirchick tells the contemptible story in The Tablet:
Yale Cements Its Line in the Academic Sand by Awarding the Student ‘Truthtellers’ Who Bullied Faculty
In 2015, an email over Halloween costume propriety prompted a public debate over free speech and race. Its conclusion is telling.
The professors being bullied were Nicholas and Erika Christakis, masters of Silliman College at Yale. The low point came when a student mob surrounded Mr. Christakis, not to engage in rational discourse but to demand an apology:
Of the 100 or so students who confronted Christakis that day, a young woman who called him “disgusting” and shouted “who the fuck hired you?” before storming off in tears became the most infamous, thanks to an 81-second YouTube clip that went viral. (The video also—thanks to its promotion by various right-wing websites—brought this student a torrent of anonymous harassment). The videos that Tablet exclusively posted last year, which showed a further 25 minutes of what was ultimately an hours-long confrontation, depicted a procession of students berating Christakis. In one clip, a male student strides up to Christakis and, standing mere inches from his face, orders the professor to “look at me.” Assuming this position of physical intimidation, the student then proceeds to declare that Christakis is incapable of understanding what he and his classmates are feeling because Christakis is white, and, ipso facto, cannot be a victim of racism. In another clip, a female student accuses Christakis of “strip[ping] people of their humanity” and “creat[ing] a space for violence to happen,” a line later mocked in an episode of The Simpsons. In the videos, Howard, the dean who wrote the costume provisions, can be seen lurking along the periphery of the mob.
Of Yale’s graduating class, it was these two students whom the Nakanishi Prize selection committee deemed most deserving of a prize for “enhancing race and/or ethnic relations” on campus.–James Kirchick in Tablet
Kirchick has another article on the 2015 episode here.
Here’s one of the videos, of Shrieking Girl. This is not just a terrible viewpoint, backed not by reason but by emotion.
It is simply bullying, cloaked in the impregnable armor of victimhood-as-moral-righteousness.
She yelled “who the fuck hired you?”
A better question would be to the admissions department.
The Simpsons captures this zeitgeist perfectly:
Comment: This is Boolah Bull Shit. To honor it is worse than disgusting.
It shows the people who run this university do not understand the most basic feature of a serious educational institution has to be the right to speak and inquire freely and to dispute others’ views through rational discourse, not shouting and bullying.
That the heads of student affairs and various victims’ studies departments don’t understand this is not surprising. That’s par for the course on college campuses these days. They either agree with the shouting students or don’t want to risk irritating them and imperilling their jobs.
What’s shocking is that senior administrators at Yale let this continue. Worse, they actually defend their spinelessness with transparently false statements that they support free speech. They don’t.