A Yale University lecturer, who whipped up racial controversy when she “challenged students to stand up for their right to decide what Halloween costume to wear, even to the point of being offensive,” has resigned from the university, writes The New York Times.
In an October email, Erika Christakis, an expert in early childhood education, asked if there was “no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious.”
The email, combined with a Facebook post about “White girls only” at a fraternity party, sparked protests over racial insensitivity at the university. It also spurred a discussion about whether the protests were making students and faculty afraid to speak out if they disagreed, writes The Times.
Tensions rose after the campus received a directive from the Intercultural Affairs Committee at Yale warning “students that it would be insensitive to wear Halloween costumes that symbolized cultural appropriation or misrepresentation, or both, like feathered headdresses, turbans, war paint, blackface or redface, or costumes that made fun of people on Halloween,” writes the Times:
Ms. Christakis has made a “voluntary decision not to teach in the future,” according to a statement from the university on Monday. Her husband, Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and a professor of sociology at Yale, will take a one-semester sabbatical, the university said. The statement said the administration hoped Ms. Christakis would reconsider.
“Erika Christakis is a well-regarded instructor, and the university’s leadership is disappointed that she has chosen not to continue teaching in the spring semester,” the statement said. “Her teaching is highly valued and she is welcome to resume teaching anytime at Yale, where freedom of expression and academic inquiry are the paramount principle and practice.”
It’s more than appropriate for the university to make a diversity of cultures feel comfortable on campus. Anything less would be offensive.
SOURCE: The New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty