On November 5, 2015, students at Yale University gathered on campus to protest an email sent by Associate Master of Silliman College Erika Christakis on October 30. Christakis’ email responded to a separate email from the school’s Intercultural Affairs Council that asked students to be thoughtful about the cultural implications of their Halloween costumes.
Christakis argued that the council’s email was infantilizing and threatened free expression on campus. There was also a concern that because the email was long, detailed, had 13 signatories, and links to acceptable and unacceptable costumes, it would not be interpreted as a suggestion. But rather it had the “color of law” implicit within it.
FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff was on Yale’s campus during the protests on November 5 and captured this footage on his cell phone of Christakis’ husband, Nicholas, meeting with the protestors. By the time Lukianoff arrived on the scene, Nicholas had been speaking with the protesters for about an hour.
The Washington Post reports that students have begun to organize formal demands for the resignation of Christakis and her husband.
PLEASE NOTE: FIRE has heard secondhand reports that one or more people in these videos have received threats of violence or death. We do not know whether these reports are valid or whether the alleged threats are credible. Regardless, FIRE condemns any such threats in the strongest terms, and reminds viewers that true threats of violence are not protected speech and that credible threats of violence against any person can and should be investigated by law enforcement.