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Hurt at home
The Yale Herald ^ | November 6, 2015 | Jencey Paz

Posted on 11/07/2015 2:25:05 PM PST by sparklite2

The following is from the self-described "Yale's most daring publication since 1986"

This op-ed has been yanked from the Yale Herald web-site. What follows is from a web archive from which I've posted the entire op-ed in case it disappears again. In addition, in the first comment block, I have reposted the comments the article originally garnered before it was deleted, as a possible reason for why the article was deleted from Yale's most daring publication since 1986. Okay? Okay.


As a Silimander, I feel that my home is being threatened. Last week, Erika Christakis, the associate master of Silliman College, sent an email to the Silliman community that called an earlier entreaty for Yalies to be more sensitive about culturally appropriating Halloween costumes a threat to free speech. In the aftermath of the email, I saw my community divide. She did not just start a political discourse as she intended. She marginalized many students of color in what is supposed to be their home. But more disappointing than the original email has been the response of Christakis and her husband, Silliman Master Nicholas Christakis. They have failed to acknowledge the hurt and pain that such a large part of our community feel. They have again and again shown that they are committed to an ideal of free speech, not to the Silliman community.

Today, when a group of us, organized originally by the Black Student Alliance at Yale, spoke with Christakis in the Silliman Courtyard, his response once again disappointed many of us. When students tried to tell him about their painful personal experiences as students of color on campus, he responded by making more arguments for free speech. It’s unacceptable when the Master of your college is dismissive of your experiences. The Silliman Master’s role is not only to provide intellectual stimulation, but also to make Silliman a safe space that all students can come home to. His responsibility is to make it a place where your experiences are a valid concern to the administration and where you can feel free to talk with them about your pain without worrying that the conversation will turn into an argument every single time. We are supposed to feel encouraged to go to our Master and Associate Master with our concerns and feel that our opinions will be respected and heard.

But, in his ten weeks as a leader of the college, Master Christakis has not fostered this sense of community. He seems to lack the ability, quite frankly, to put aside his opinions long enough to listen to the very real hurt that the community feels. He doesn’t get it. And I don’t want to debate. I want to talk about my pain.

My dad is a really stubborn man. We debate all the time, and I understand the value of hearing differing opinions. But there have been times when I have come to my father crying, when I was emotionally upset, and he heard me regardless of whether or not he agreed with me. He taught me that there is a time for debate, and there is a time for just hearing and acknowledging someone’s pain.

I have had to watch my friends defend their right to this institution. This email and the subsequent reaction to it have interrupted their lives. I have friends who are not going to class, who are not doing their homework, who are losing sleep, who are skipping meals, and who are having breakdowns. I feel drained. And through it all, Christakis has shown that he does not consider us a priority.

Christakis attended the forum on Erika’s email at the Afro-American Cultural Center on Wed., Nov. 4, where students were vulnerable and shared deeply personal stories. After leaving the event early, Christakis tweeted an article on his personal account about the importance of free speech. Then, he retweeted his tweet using the Silliman Twitter handle. This is a clear and flagrant violation. No one should use the Silliman Twitter as a personal platform. The residential college Twitters are a place to share information relevant to everyone in the community; no one consented to having Christakis’ personal view published in a manner that indicated that the community was behind him. The event was indicative of a bigger issue: Christakis is using Silliman college as his intellectual sparring ground.

Further, Christakis has yet to truly acknowledge to the entire Silliman community that he has hurt people. The closest he has gotten to this is sending out an open invitation to brunch at his house to further discuss the issue. Essentially, it was an invitation to debate more. But we don’t want to debate more. We want to be able to go home at night in a place where we feel welcome and wanted.

Christakis’ actions have not been aimed at healing a divided community. Instead, they continue to frame the issue in an “us against them” split. Christakis needs to stop instigating more debate. He needs to stop trying to argue with people who are hurting, regardless of his personal opinions. Being the Master of Silliman is a position of power. To use it to marginalize so much of the student body is deplorable.

Today, when many of us, mostly students of color and Sillimanders, confronted Nicholas Christakis in the Silliman Courtyard, he said he was sorry that we were feeling pain. But is he really? I don’t think he understands what many Sillimanders are going through, nor has he tried.

Christakis hasn’t checked in on any of us. He hasn’t given us any indication that he is going to or wants to heal the community. If you know I’m in pain and you aren’t doing anything to try to help me, then how can you be sorry? Christakis is the Master of Silliman College, it is his job to take care of us, and he is failing.

TOPICS: Education

5 Responses

  1. Gent says:

    "my feefees are hurt! take care of me!"


  2. Thomas says:

    It blows my mind that people this emotionally fragile and frankly mentally troubled are in an institution of higher learning period, much less at Yale.
    What is going on with the world. Grow up.

  3. John Brown says:


  4. Adam says:

    Yale should remove all of these crybabies from campus for creating an environment that isn't conductive to receiving an education.

1 posted on 11/07/2015 2:25:05 PM PST by sparklite2
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To: sparklite2

Existential Cage Theory

1: Get a cage
2: Put the liberal in the cage
3: Weld the door shut
4: Walk away.

There is the solution for this stupidity

DANGEROUS stupidity.

2 posted on 11/07/2015 2:29:22 PM PST by Norm Lenhart (Existential Cage Theory - Embrace it)
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To: Norm Lenhart

I especially liked the accusation that the professor is intent on elevating free speech over comity. The people who need teaching the most are too fragile to get it.

3 posted on 11/07/2015 2:31:59 PM PST by sparklite2 (All will become clear when it is too late to matter.)
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To: sparklite2

Yup. And thats why it is so dangerous. A teacher, a LIBERAL put that idea in her head.

4 posted on 11/07/2015 2:33:21 PM PST by Norm Lenhart (Existential Cage Theory - Embrace it)
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To: sparklite2

Amazing, the University as womb. How ridiculous.

5 posted on 11/07/2015 2:36:29 PM PST by Louis Foxwell (This is a wake up call. Join the Sultan Knish ping list.)
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To: sparklite2

My understanding is that Yale is not a preschool, why are they accepting toddlers?

6 posted on 11/07/2015 2:38:52 PM PST by jazusamo (0bama to go 'full-Mussolini' after elections: Mark Levin....and the turkey has.)
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To: jazusamo

Are you saying Yale is ... wait for it ... toddler coddling?

7 posted on 11/07/2015 2:41:38 PM PST by sparklite2 (All will become clear when it is too late to matter.)
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To: sparklite2

“toddler coddling”

LOL! Good one.

8 posted on 11/07/2015 2:46:57 PM PST by jazusamo (0bama to go 'full-Mussolini' after elections: Mark Levin....and the turkey has.)
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To: sparklite2

“Silliman Community” — really?

Silly is right, but a better name would be “Wussiman Community”, or something that didn’t even have “man” in the name.

9 posted on 11/07/2015 2:55:44 PM PST by AZLiberty (No tag today.)
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To: AZLiberty


Womens’ studies defined!

10 posted on 11/07/2015 3:02:27 PM PST by If You Want It Fixed - Fix It
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To: jazusamo
But wait ... there's more.  Here is some context.

A confrontation over race at Yale: Hundreds of students demand answers from the school's first black dean

November 5

By Isaac Stanley-Becker
Washington Post

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Hundreds of students surrounded the first black dean of Yale College on the university's quad here Thursday, demanding a public response to recent events that have stoked anguished debates about the treatment of racial minorities on this Ivy League campus. The college community acknowledging allegations that the Yale chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon had turned away black women from a fraternity party on Friday night, with one brother saying, according to an eyewitness, that only "white girls" were welcome. The fraternity's president has denied the claims.

Thursday evening, students were drafting a formal letter calling for the removal of Christakis and his wife from their roles in Silliman.

Another student, Dianne Lake, tied anger over the Halloween e-mail to recent debate about the title "master" used for the heads of the school's residential colleges, asking: "Why do Yale students call these administrators master? The world is watching."

11 posted on 11/07/2015 3:05:21 PM PST by sparklite2 (All will become clear when it is too late to matter.)
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To: sparklite2

Isn’t it racist to criticize a black dean?

12 posted on 11/07/2015 3:31:53 PM PST by AZLiberty (No tag today.)
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To: sparklite2
I like #3's comment.

The whole op-ed is emotionally based. Another hysteric with a persecution complex. Yet these people feel justified in attacking other people's views or culture.

Free speech for me but not for thee.

13 posted on 11/07/2015 5:06:21 PM PST by MoochPooch (I'm a compassionate cynic.)
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To: MoochPooch

By “#3” I meant Thomas.

14 posted on 11/07/2015 5:08:46 PM PST by MoochPooch (I'm a compassionate cynic.)
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