Unhappy with a series of small concessions from the administration, protesters at Yale University have released a new list of demands that include firing people they don’t like and giving their favored programs a budget increase of at least $8 million a year.
The new demands, released by a group calling itself Next Yale, were read aloud to Yale president Peter Salovey Thursday night by protesters who marched to his front door at midnight. The group says the demands are necessary to “reduce the intolerable racism that students of color experience on campus every day.” Salovey is given until Nov. 18 to respond.
As evidence of Yale’s hostile racial climate, the demands cite a widely debunked alleged exclusion of black women from a party hosted at Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity. There is substantial evidence this alleged segregation did not happen.
Of the Yale student’s demands, the most expensive is the third, which orders the school to increase the budget for Yale’s four cultural centers (for Asians, blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians) by two million dollars each, a total expense of $8 million. Along with this increase to their budgets, the students demand that the cultural centers hire five additional full-time employees each.
Along with the money for cultural centers, students also call for Yale to create a new “ethnic studies” distributional requirement for all Yale students, to be accompanied by the elevation of the school’s “Ethnicity, Race, and Migration” program to a full department, on par with traditional departments such as history and physics. Within this new department, they want various racial studies programs, including one for “Chicanx and Latinx Studies,” a way of describing Hispanic studies that avoids the use of gender inherent in “Latino” or “Chicano.”
Another grievance for protesters are the words associated with Yale’s residential college system (essentially a network of super-dorms that students are placed in for all four years at Yale). They demand Yale immediately rename Calhoun College, currently named for Yale graduate and pro-slavery senator John C. Calhoun, after somebody non-white, and also demand the school do the same thing for two new residential colleges that are due for construction. They also call for Yale to abolish the title of “master” for those who head each residential college (because of alleged slavery connotations), and also demand the college erect a monument “acknowledging that Yale University was founded on stolen indigenous land.”
The demand list also shows that students haven’t forgiven Silliman College master Nicholas Christakis and his wife Erika. Erika outraged Yale activists by sending an email prior to Halloween which criticized administration efforts to censor certain Halloween costumes and urged students not to become too angry over costumes that constituted cultural appropriation. Nicholas in turn defended his wife, and gave a public defense of free speech which led to him being publicly shrieked at by student Jerelyn Luther. (RELATED: Meet The Privileged Yale Student Who Shrieked At Her Professor)
Nicholas Christakis apologized for offending students during a meeting at his home Sunday, but the demand list still demands that he and his wife be removed from their posts as master and associate master. They also call for Yale to implement a “racial competency” system for all faculty, and say that semester evaluations for professors should include a question on the class’s “racial climate.”
President Salovey told the Yale Daily News the college was “seriously” reviewing the list of demands and would issue a response next week, in accordance with their request. What Next Yale will do if some of their demands are rejected is unclear.
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