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Racism Or Free Speech? Yale Couple Resign Over Email Controversy

Jelly Dude

Two Yale educators who sent an email last fall defending racist Halloween costumes as free speech have resigned from their administrative posts. 

Nicholas Christakis and his wife Erika Christakis lead Silliman College, a university residence.

Before Halloween last year, campus multicultural groups sent an email asking students to avoid racist Halloween costumes like headdresses or blackface. Erika Christakis responded with her own email saying that students should be able to express themselves freely. Her email catalyzed widespread protests about a culture of racism on campus.

A new email from Nicholas Christakis yesterday says that the couple will leave their residence posts in July, and he will continue teaching and researching as a professor. The email read “We have great respect for every member of our community, friend and critic alike. We remain hopeful that students at Yale can express themselves and engage complex ideas within an intellectually plural community.”


Kathie is a former editor at WSHU.
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