NEW HAVEN, Connecticut — Hundreds of Yale students and supporters marched across campus Monday to protest what they see as racial insensitivity at the elite Ivy League school.
The “March of Resilience” followed several racially charged incidents at Yale, including allegations that a fraternity turned a woman away from a party because she was not White.
Students held signs, including one that read, “Don’t Look Away.” They chanted, “We out here. We’ve been here. We ain’t leaving. We are loved” as they marched from the Afro-American Cultural Center across campus and past the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house.
The fraternity denies the incident happened.
The marchers also were upset over an email from a faculty member who objected to a request from the Intercultural Affairs Committee that students avoid wearing racially insensitive Halloween costumes, such as Native American headgear, turbans or blackface.
Erika Christakis, who is also an administrator at a residence hall, wrote that students should be able to wear any costume they want.
“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?” she wrote to students at the residence hall. “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.”
University President Peter Salovey held a four-hour forum with students last week to hear their grievances.
On Friday, he sent a campuswide email saying he was deeply troubled by the atmosphere on campus. He called on the community to come together to create greater “inclusion, healing, mutual respect and understanding” at Yale.
The school also has been dealing with issues such as a residential hall named after John Calhoun, a prominent slave-owning politician from South Carolina, and questions about how minorities are treated on campus.
The march was held hours after the president of the University of Missouri stepped down amid a controversy over race relations at that school.