Halloween Costume Uproar Causes Yale Resignation

Lecturer suggested students wear what they want
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2015 6:06 AM CST
Halloween Costume Uproar Causes Yale Resignation
In this Nov. 9, 2015, photo, Yale University students and faculty rally to demand that Yale University become more inclusive to all students.   (Arnold Gold/New Haven Register via AP)

Christmas is around the corner but at Yale, they're still dealing with the fallout from a Halloween controversy. Lecturer Erika Christakis has resigned from her teaching position after causing an uproar in October with her response to an email from the campus Intercultural Affairs Committee urging students to avoid insensitive costumes like Native American headdresses, the New York Times reports. "Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious, a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?" she asked. "American universities were once a safe space not only for maturation but also for a certain regressive, or even transgressive, experience; increasingly, it seems, they have become places of censure and prohibition."

Christakis, who taught courses on child development, became the target of student protesters amid a wider discussion of racial issues on campus, AP reports. Yale said in a statement that it is disappointed she has decided to not to teach next semester and she is "welcome to resume teaching anytime." Christakis and her husband will remain as "masters" of Silliman College, one of Yale's 12 residential colleges. She tells the Washington Post that while she has great respect for her students, the current climate at Yale is not "conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve our urgent societal problems." (At Harvard, house "masters" have decided it is time for "a new inclusive title.")

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