NEW HAVEN - With racism and inclusion at the forefront this week, especially on the campuses of Yale and the University of Missouri, Yale students have rallied again, this time burning the midnight oil last night.
A new Yale student organization, calling themselves Next Yale, marched on Yale President Peter Salovey’s home on Hillhouse Avenue at around midnight last night. The president and his wife listened intently.
Next Yale says their demands supersede those of the Black Students Alliance at Yale and they expect students of color to be an integral part in the implementation of these demands.
“Number one, an ethnic studies distributional requirement for all Yale undergraduates and the immediate promotion of the ethnicity, migration and race program,” said Alicia Ponce Diaz, a Yale student.
They want that requirement given departmental status and have requested the promotion of Native American studies, Chicanas and Latinas studies, Asian American studies and African studies to program status.
“Two, mental health professionals that are permanently established in each of the four cultural centers with discretionary funds,” said Ponce Diaz.
Additionally, Next Yale is demanding these centers be staffed with more mental health professionals who are of color.
“Three, an increase of $2 million to the current annual operational budget for each cultural center,” said Ponce Diaz, who also noted the centers must include 5 full-time staffers in each center and additional emergency and miscellaneous funds from the Provost’s office.
“This to support the needs of first generation, low-income, undocumented and international students,” said Ponce Diaz.
Number four on the group's list: rename Calhoun College, which is named after former Vice President John C. Calhoun, a well-known advocate of slavery. Students want Calhoun and two new residential colleges after people of color.
They also expect the university to recognize its roots.
“Build a monument designed by a native artist, on Cross Campus, acknowledging that Yale University was founded on stolen, indigenous land,” read Autumn Shone, another Yale student.
The students are requesting the immediate removal of “Nicholas and Erika Christakis from the position of Master and Associate Master of Yale’s Silliman College,” said Shone.
Erika Christakis, in response to a campus wide email encouraging students not to offend others cultures with their Halloween costumes, replied with her own email, asking, in part, “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?”
“Throwing things like that to the mix, offensive costumes like that, into the mix of an event like Halloween at night it can be dangerous,” said Yale freshman, Janine Comrie.
This nightcap with Salovey came on the heels of a Facebook post by black, female sophomore, Neema Githere, who wrote, “I'd just like to take a moment to give a shout out to the member of Yale's SAE chapter, who turned away a group of girls from their party last night, explaining that admittance was on a "White Girls Only" basis.”
“Yale, Brown, those kind of schools, it's like really liberal, accommodating type of universities and then you like wake up and see something like this on Facebook like SAE says white girls only,” said Jamachi Eluchie, a Yale freshman.
President Salovey says he will respond at some point next week.