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Racial Tensions Lead To Protests At Yale

More than 1,000 students protested on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., demanding an end to what they call a longstanding culture of racism at the school.

They called it a "March of Resilience.'' The march follows several racially-charged incidents at Yale, including allegations that a fraternity turned a woman away from a party because she was not white.

Two weeks ago, a group of administrators that deal with student life on campus sent out an email encouraging students to avoid racist Halloween costumes. That email prompted another email by Erika Christakis. She’s an Associate Master of one of the university’s residential colleges. In the email, Christakis said people who were offended by the costumes should look away, or tell people they were offended.

The email from Christakis spurred objections from several students of color at Yale, and Yale’s Black Student Alliance demanded that Erika Christakis resign from her post at the residential college. They demanded that her husband Nicholas Christakis, who’s the Master there, resign as well.

Alejandra Padin Dujon, a sophomore at Yale, said that this march is no longer about the Christakis’ email.

"Ultimately, all the email did was make the pot boil over, so to speak, because there have been simmering racial tensions in this country forever, there have been simmering racial tensions at Yale ever since students of color have been at Yale," she said.

On Friday, Yale President Peter Salovey sent a campus-wide email saying he was deeply troubled by the atmosphere. He called on the Yale community to come together and be more respectful and inclusive. Students at Monday’s march said they don’t believe the voices of minorities at Yale are being heard.

Students of color also want more input into how Yale faculty are hired and retained, and more mental health resources for students of color.

A response email to Yale students from the Christakises

Kathie is a former editor at WSHU.