Posted on December 8, 2015

Husband-And-Wife Yale Professors Resign in the Wake of Halloween Costume Scandal

Daily Mail, December 8, 2015

Two Yale professors have resigned after protests condemning the wife’s comments that students should be free to push boundaries with Halloween costumes.

Faculty member Erika Christakis, who runs courses on child development and psychology, has decided not to teach classes from the start of the spring semester, the Ivy League university announced via its website on Monday.

‘I have great respect and affection for my students but I worry that the current climate at Yale is not, in my view, conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve our urgent societal problems,’ Mrs Christakis said in an email to The Washington Post.

The announcement issued through Yale 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.’

Mrs Chrsitakis’ husband, social and natural sciences professor Nichlas Christakis, has also said he will not teach classes in the spring and will be taking a sabbatical.

She came under attack in October for her response to a request from the Intercultural Affairs Committee that students avoid wearing racially insensitive costumes, such as Native American headgear, turbans or blackface.

Mrs Christakis wrote in an email to students living in the residence hall where she was an administrator that they should be able to wear any costume they wanted.

‘Is there no room any more for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious, a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?’ she wrote.

‘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.’

In a widely shared web video, a student screamed at Mr Christakis after he said he would not stop people from wearing Halloween costumes that could be seen as offensive.

The email was one of several incidents on campus that prompted hundreds of students and faculty members to march in protest on November 9 over what they saw as racial insensitivity at the school.