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Yale dumps $85 million more into faculty diversity initiative created after Halloween costume kerfuffle

Reworded so that ‘excellence’ does not depend on ‘diversity’

On Oct. 30, 2015, Erika Christakis defended the right of Yale University students to wear Halloween costumes that may offend their peers.

Easily triggered students lost their minds and took it out on her husband Nicholas, harassing and screaming in his face (above and below). They claimed the Christakises, then the leaders of the Silliman residential college, had harmed marginalized students. The incident helped spark a critical documentary about Yale.

Four days after Erika Christakis spoke against infantilizing dictates from Yale’s bureaucracy, Yale announced a wildly more expensive dictate: a $50 million initiative to “increase faculty diversity.”

The five-year initiative is up for renewal, and Yale liked it so much that it’s adding $35 million for the next five years, for a total of $85 million, Yale President Peter Salovey told the community Tuesday.

The initiative was belatedly named the “Faculty Excellence and Diversity Initiative,” perhaps to mitigate Yale’s original confusing explanation that that initiative would “enhance the excellence of its faculty by building diversity.”

That suggested Yale wasn’t interested in hiring excellent faculty unless they checked off prized diversity boxes (political diversity is evidently not included).

MORE: 7 percent of Yale faculty identity as conservative

“An excellent faculty in all of these dimensions is a diverse faculty, and that diversity must reach across the whole of Yale,” Salovey and Provost Ben Polak wrote four years ago. Yale is now separating “excellence” and “diversity and inclusion” into distinct categories, rather than making excellence contingent on its peculiar rendering of diversity.

Salovey told the community Tuesday that Yale had recruited 84 new “ladder faculty” in four years through the initiative, meaning tenured or tenure-track faculty.

By bumping the funding 70 percent, Yale is “making an emphatic statement about our commitment to recruiting the most distinguished scholars, who will help diversify Yale, transform their fields, create knowledge to improve the world, and inspire our students to lead and serve all sectors of society,” he wrote.

The extra money will fund “new elements intended to help recruit senior faculty in all discipline” and help recruit science and engineering faculty “of all ranks” through newly available startup funds, the university said.

The program has also funded 40 visiting fellows and “scores” of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences doctoral students.

Read the announcement.

MORE: Yale faculty political diversity rate is ‘0%’

MORE: Erika Christakis quits teaching after student freakout over her email

MORE: Documentary says Yale ‘squid monster’ puts comfort over learning

IMAGE: Greg Lukianoff/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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