The Email That Made Yale Students Cry

There are full posts at The Fire by Haley Hudler and Reason by Robby Soave, and they say what needs to be said about the very angry, very fragile, students at the very elite Yale University.

What was Christakis’s crime? His wife, an early childhood educator, had responded to a campus-wide email about offensive Halloween costumes by opining that it was inappropriate for the college to tell students how to dress. According to The Washington Post:

“Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? It’s not mine, I know that,” wrote Erika Christakis, an early childhood educator and the wife of Nicholas Christakis, the Silliman College master. Both later took to social media to defend the e-mail, incensing students by tying it to debates about free speech and trigger warnings. At a Wednesday night forum hosted by the Afro-American Cultural Center, Erika Christakis sought to leave the meeting during a discussion of her e-mail, further provoking student anger. …

And it’s already been made abundantly clear how critical Halloween costumes are to the safety of society.  If you don’t yet appreciate it, consider the harm:

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.

Oh yes, they can’t do their homework. If only that excuse worked when I was in college. But I digress.

As it happened, Greg Lukianoff, the big guy at FIRE, just happened to be at Yale as this was happening, and he turned on his video camera!  Here’s my favorite of the four videos taken:

Not to diminish anyone’s feelz, but if an email about how no one should dictate what Halloween costume students wear gives rise to such outrage and trauma, then there has been a terrible mistake made at the Yale admissions office:

“Then step down! If that is what you think about being a [inaudible] master, then you should step down. It is not about creating an intellectual space! It is not! Do you understand that? It’s about creating a home here! You are not doing that. You’re going against that.”

If it’s not about “creating an intellectual space (“It is not!”),” but about that beloved safe space where no infant is exposed to any idea with which they disagree, then they belong in Busy Bee Nursery School, not Yale.

And that any grown up would tolerate the inane shrieking like this says something even more disturbing about Yale.  Be the grown up. Tell the children that this is not acceptable behavior because an idea expressed in an email did not conform to their feelz.  This was intolerable, and yet you not only tolerated it, but enabled it.

College is a place for children to grow into young adults.  Do your job.

36 thoughts on “The Email That Made Yale Students Cry

    1. SHG Post author

      The hopeful meter took a nosedive on this one. But there are still a few of you, and with so little competition, you’ll own the world.

    1. alpharia

      Yes, sadly though how do you get away from a whole bunch of them that you also supposedly have to teach as well, Though how the entitled narcissistic little shits learn anything is beyond me… though I digress

  1. LTMG

    “…Christakis has shown that he does not consider us a priority.”

    The students are a priority. Paying undue attention to childish behavior and/or reinforcing it is not. Whomever uttered these words needs a spanking and to be sent to bed with no dinner.

  2. Jay

    “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….”

    Buckle up kids, your friends have a VERY long and VERY draining life ahead in the real world….where they are apparently going to starve themselves to death…

    1. Damon

      People have been saying this for 25 years which is when I went to Penn and played a bit part in helping the kid who yelled water buffalo. And yet the kids graduate and do ok. In the 60s, I’m led to believe worse occurred, and yet civilization did not collapse. The email did what it was intended to do: provoked vigorous debate, not all of which is conducted by the mature. But so what?

      But I got it: people pushing 50 love to tsk-tsk at the kids these days, and so we get these “get off my lawn” push backs. Nothing new to see here.

      1. Jay

        @Damon “And yet the kids graduate and do ok. ”

        As someone who teaches at the college level, I have never seen anything like this in my classroom — or even on my campus. So the majority of this generation are fine. The specific students I was talking about are the ones who are taking all the discrimination they have felt in their lives and foisted it upon two people that had nothing to do with discrimination.

        But what of these specific students? What will they become? Where is “water buffalo” girl? In many cases, after they leave the rarefied air of university, reality hits them. Real life isn’t put on pause for a safe space. Unless you want to stay indoors and be a recluse.

        I had just graduated high school in 1993, it seemed these types of incidents were few and far between (of course, social media didn’t quite exist yet, also….had to get our info from the TV news or paper first…or AOL).

    2. GS

      I don’t think the kids are as fragile as their rhetoric suggests. I believe completely that she has “friends who are not going to class, who are not doing their homework.” I don’t believe for a single minute that any of them are “losing sleep,” “skipping meals” or “having breakdowns.” And she doesn’t seem “drained” at all. She is thoroughly enjoying herself. Righteous indignation is pleasurable to the adolescent soul, and shouting down her elders and betters without adverse consequences to herself is an adolescent fantasy come true.

  3. Mark

    College is not a place for children to grow into young adults. College is a place for young adults to study for their chosen profession.

    1. Harrogate

      Huh? College at its best should definitely remain a place for young people to grow into young adults and thoughtful citizens. What you’re describing sounds like more a technical school instead.

  4. KP

    “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….”

    Just amazing that there is such a lack of common sense in that ANYONE would take those words seriously! I can’t see those people killing animals to eat, or dragging smashed-up accident victims from crashes, or even changing nappies!

    hmmm… terrorists or Americans, who’s going to be tougher?? The future will be interesting…

  5. Grum

    “I have had to watch my friends defend their right to this institution…” Hard to track down the source for this spectacularly asinine piece of twattery, since the Yale site referenced is apparently undergoing maintenance, as well it might, since it would appear that even computers have their limits. I don’t know much about Yale, but do they, perchance, have an arts faculty (this includes other spurious shite, such as sociology BTW)? Used to be they taught Law and Theology, then we got smart and added Natural Philosophy (mostly started by people who read Theology). Where did the other stuff creep from? Is it the academic equivelent to the late Robin Williams’ crack that cocaine is god’s answer to having too much money? I’m beginning to think that the reason that the (self-acclaimed) intellectuals are first up against the wall in any self-respecting revolution is not so much that they are a threat, as that they are frequently such idiotic bastards that the whole thing would drown in verbiage if you let them live. Either that, or they are useful idiots, parachuted in by the Man, to stop you having nice things. It’s hard to tell. This one should win the award for most depressing post on SJ ever (and there is plenty of competition).

    1. Anne Krone

      I’m sorry, but this isn’t really in the running. Adult children having a temper tantrum because of feels is nothing for depressing compared to children gunned down by pants-wetting cowards with qualified immunity because of their feels.

        1. Patrick Maupin

          Darn, and I just bought a ribbon to award to you for writing “the most depressing post on SJ.”

  6. losingtrader

    Seems from watching this stuff the school representatives–and in general I think this is true–just are not very good at debate “on the fly”. I’d love to see Scott in the man’s shoes and watch his performance.

    I’m curious what you would have done if you were him…or in any of the myriad cases you discuss

  7. Mike G.

    You know what’s really sad? These kids’ parents paid over 47,000 a year for their kids to be indoctrinated by crap like this. They would have been better off sending them to trade school.

    1. SHG Post author

      Without knowing more, it’s hard to say that the kid’s parents aren’t thrilled by how she’s doing. You assume she’s been indoctrinated. Never assume. That may be how she came through the door. What did not happen is her being taught to behave like an adult capable of interacting in a mature way. And for that, her parents should get a refund.

      1. Mike G.

        Perhaps I was a bit hasty blaming the schools. Maybe the blame lies on the parents for raising such a special snowflake and not teaching her the realities of life.

        1. SHG Post author

          Even if the parents raised a special snowflake, that doesn’t absolve the school from doing its job. This isn’t a binary choice.

          1. Mike G.

            I guess we can say then, that both the parents and the school have some culpability in this young adult’s behavior.

            The parents for not teaching their child the harsh realities of life, because no matter your status, whether rich or poor, life can be a bitch.

            The school because in the ongoing battle for the almighty tuition dollar, the schools are treating the students more like customers than students, basically catering to their every perceived “microaggression.”

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  9. delurking

    While this all looks very depressing, I retain some small bit of hope. Here is why: If you look up Erika Christakis’s full email, she opens by saying that she is writing it because multiple students contacter her and her husband, frustrated by the earlier email from the administration which dictated what they should and shouldn’t wear on Halloween. So basically, I am hopeful that there is a silent majority of students rolling their eyes at the behavior of the crybabies in the room, and ignoring them because they don’t matter.

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  11. SJE

    What horrifies me is that these people are going to be our Judges, SC Justices, Senators, Presidents, etc.

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