Yale University President Peter Salovey stated his intention on Wednesday to tackle the “very public debate about racism, diversity and free expression,” following weeks of racial tension on campus.
In an email sent to Yale alumni, Salovey applauded the “constructive responses” he has seen so far, including Monday’s student-organized March for Resilience — which drew over 1,000 people to the school’s Cross Campus — as well as enhanced “conversation and support” within Yale’s cultural centers.
“Yale stands firm in its commitment to protect the free and open exchange of ideas,” he wrote. “We are working now to develop a suite of initiatives focused on improving our campus climate and fostering diversity.”
Students and alums can expect an update on those plans next week, he added.
Salovey and Jonathan Holloway, dean of Yale College, sent a separate email to students on Tuesday that emphasized the university’s commitment to respecting diversity.
Racial tensions escalated on campus around Halloween. On Oct. 30, black females trying to enter a party at a fraternity house were allegedly told that the party was for “white girls only.”
The same weekend, Erika Christakis, who holds the title of “associate master” of one of Yale’s residential colleges, emailed students at the college to suggest that they respond to potentially offensive Halloween costumes by engaging in discussions or just looking away.
Some students reacted by lashing out at faculty members last week.
By the time Monday’s march came about, the tone on campus had softened. Right now, moving forward, we are looking to heal ourselves so that we can strengthen ourselves, regroup and push for specific demands and positive change for the future,” one student told the Yale Daily News.