Statement to the University Community

May 24, 2018

As the Graduate Student Assembly, we represent all graduate students in their right to exist on campus and to safely carry out their studies at Yale. We are committed to equality, inclusion, and the treatment of all students with dignity. We therefore reiterate Black graduate student leadership in saying that we are outraged by the consistent policing and endangerment of Black students and people of color on campus. We will not continue to allow Black students and students of color to be the target of hatred, intolerance, and ignorance, and we will hold the university accountable to ensure that their commitment to diversity and inclusion is not merely symbolic. We will no longer allow Black students and students of color to suffer the indignities and dangers that accompany the work of diversifying Yale, and we stand alongside them in demanding racial justice at Yale and beyond. We call on our fellow graduate students think deeply about these issues, acknowledge our own biases, work daily to create an inclusive campus, and act with compassion and respect for all members of our Yale community.

Reflection and compassion from graduate students, however, will not be sufficient. Significant changes from the Yale administration and within our Yale community are needed. In recent weeks, the university administration has outlined a number of first steps to address issues of racism and belonging on campus, including providing bias awareness training for staff and incoming students, working on community building in graduate student dorms, and promoting communication with the President’s Committee on Racial and Ethnic Harassment. While we applaud the university for articulating these objectives, they will not adequately provide resources to Black students and students of color to combat instances of racial prejudice, racial discrimination, or racialized policing on Yale’s campus. In alliance with Black students and students of color at Yale, the GSA therefore proposes the following list of demands. In this, we are committed to working together with the university to achieve the common goal of equality.

We call on the university administration to:

  • Implement effective training for identifying and addressing bias for all students, faculty, and staff by Fall 2018, including bystander intervention training for racial discrimination
  • Establish a fully-functioning Title VI Office with resources and personnel commensurate with Yale’s Title IX Office, and whose sole responsibility is addressing Title VI cases or claims on Yale’s campus
  • Establish an Ombuds Office as a neutral, impartial, and confidential resource for students who are subject to harassment as well as bystanders to find out information about the most optimal university resources to address their needs
  • Advertise resources for students who experience bias and harassment across all departments and schools at Yale University
  • Publicize data regularly on instances of discrimination based on race, color, or nationality and the university’s response to each case
  • Immediately provide transparency for the procedures in place told hold students accountable for harassment and bias against members of our community

We call on the Yale Police Department to:

  • Utilize established resources such as campus security and residence coordinators when responding to non-violent, non-life threatening situations
  • Provide a list of the rights of students when interacting with YPD by Summer 2018 so that they may be dispersed to all students during orientation of the Fall 2018 semester
  • Provide explicit standards of protocol for common interactions with students by Fall 2018
  • Prioritize de-escalation practices and treat everyone with dignity
  • Work with students and administrators to increase transparency and ensure accountability
  • Apply standard protocols to all students equally

Finally, as the GSA we commit to:

  • Creating an action plan for how our organization will achieve these and other demands for racial justice on campus by Fall 2018 and working with the University to sustain these demands consistently over the decades to come
  • Assessing the progress and obstacles of tackling these issues during General Assembly meetings in the 2018-19 academic year
  • Maintaining collaborations with other student governments and student groups to bring a unified message on diversity and inclusion to the administration
  • Using our position within GSAS and our responsibility as representatives of all graduate students to advocate for Black students and students of color

As always, we will continue to solicit input from our graduate student constituents on how we can best advocate for you and your peers. Feel free to contact your departmental representative or directly with any suggestions, questions or concerns.


Wendy Xiao
GSA Chair 2017-2018

Stephen Gaughran
GSA Chair 2018-2019