A Yale teacher has resigned amid rage from the campus after telling students it was OK to wear offensive costumes.
A member of the Yale University faculty has stepped down after massive protests erupted when she said students should be free to wear offensive costumes.
Erika Christakis won’t continue teacher in the spring, the university announced, after being attacked in October when she told the Intercultural Affairs Committee that students shouldn’t avoid wearing Halloween costumes that include Native American headgear, turbans, or blackface, according to an Associated Press report.
Christakis wrote an email to students living in the residence hall where she serves as an administrator that they should feel free to express themselves, even to the point of offense.
She wrote that it was OK to be “a little bit obnoxious, a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive,” according to the report, adding: “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.”
Hundreds of students and faculty marched in protest on Nov. 9, complaining of racial insensitivity at Yale. They demanded that the university become more inclusive, and have pointed to this incident as well as others as signs that the university isn’t doing enough. Protesters also note that the residential hall is named after slave-owner John Calhoun.
Here is the full statement from Yale University on the resignation of Erika Christakis: “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. 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.”