Yale University announced earlier this month a $50 million plan to increase the diversity of faculty on campus.
“Yale’s education and research missions are propelled forward by a faculty that stands at the forefront of scholarship, research, practice, mentoring, and teaching. An excellent faculty in all of these dimensions is a diverse faculty, and that diversity must reach across the whole of Yale — to every school and to every department,” wrote President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak in a Nov. 3 email to the university community.
The announcement was not enough to satisfy minority students on campus, who issued a list of demands to the administration November 13 that included the implementation of “immediate and lasting policies that will reduce the intolerable racism that students of color experience on campus every day,” according to the students’ letter to administrators.
Stemming from “the exclusion of Black women from a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity party, a letter from a Yale administrator condoning cultural appropriation, and the debate surrounding the renaming of Calhoun College,” the students said “it should now be obvious that the state of the racial climate on Yale’s campus is unconscionable,” noting that “these specific incidents reflect an escalation of a long history of racism at Yale, which has disproportionately harmed women of color.”
The students have asked for “an ethnic studies distributional requirement for all Yale undergraduates and the immediate promotion of the Ethnicity, Race & Migration program to departmental status” that includes in its programmatic offerings Native, Chicano, Asian American and African studies programs — each of which should receive additional $2 million budgets from university discretionary funds. In addition, they are demanding mental health services centers located in each of the four cultural centers, an emergency fund established to help first-generation and low-income students and additional health benefits for these students.
There is also a call to rename several buildings and key positions on campus as well.