Did Yale Really Capitulate?
February 17, 2016

I've written about last year's racial activism at Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown, Missouri and other campuses, but I haven't been motivated to figure out exactly what happened at Yale. Fortunately, the Jan/Feb issue of Yale Alumni Magazine includes an article about the events of last November, along with a time line: Race, speech, and values / What really happened at Yale By Kathrin Lassila. On Feb. 5, one of my favorite web sites, American Renaissance, posted some commentary based on the YAM article: Yale Capitulates by Jared Taylor.

I don't think it was really a capitulation. The protesters and the administration were on the same side. It was partly like a Civil Rights Movement Re-enactment exercise, partly like a game of free-form flag football with only one goal post and no explicit rules. Much of the political theater was improvised.

The action began on Oct. 30 when Erika Christakis sent out a kinda dumb email in response to a kinda dumb email about Halloween costumes. That triggered a nine day period of racial/political hysteria from Nov. 4 to Nov. 12 which included protests, confrontations, accusations and shouting matches. The protesters were obnoxious, inappropriate, provocative and offensive, but, as the YAM article points out, ". . . the campus was quiet. There were no sit-ins. No buildings were occupied." And no buildings were burned. Hooray for Yale!

Those Days of Hysteria were bracketed by major announcements from the administration. On Nov. 3, Yale announced a "$50 million initiative to recruit and develop faculty who bring diversity to the university." The closing bracket was on Nov. 17, when President Salovey announced an expanded racial/diversity package comprising the previously announced $50 million faculty diversity measures along with five "academic measures" such as "Hire four new faculty studying unrepresented and underrepresented communities", six "student" measures such as "double the program budgets for the four cultural centers" (black, Hispanic, Asian and American Indian), and an "institutional" measure: "provide training for administrators on combating racism and other forms of discrimination."

That doesn't look like "capitulation" to me. It looks more like the climax of collaborative interplay, the formulaic resolution of a college Civil Rights Drama, the closing promenade of a ritual dance.

Keep in mind that all of the uproar started over a mild rebuke to a pronouncement by the Intercultural Affairs Council of Yale College, the local Diversistaffel. As with every outburst I know about from that weird November of 2015, the level of hysteria was orders of magnitude greater than what would have been justified by the triggering offenses.

If the Yale initiatives looked like they had a reasonable chance of addressing genuine problems to an extent commensurate with the amount of funding they are to receive, I would not complain. Here is my offer to Yale: Spend that money on two related projects:

Do those things and I will whole-heartedly praise your brilliance, your integrity and your humanity.

Copyright © 2016

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