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Yale students demand consequences for undergrad's Instagram joke about ICE, detention centers — and an administrator contacts the culprit

Cancel culture apparently is still on the move

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

So it seems a Yale University junior posted an Instagram joke recently, showing himself smiling in front of snow-covered mountains and noting, "All this ICE but no detention centers in sight," the Yale Daily News said.

Oh, and did that ever get other students heated up.

As the post made its way around social media, the paper said students were outraged. The Daily News didn't name the student, and the paper said the student didn't reply to its requests for comment.

Yale students also contacted psychology professor Laurie Santos, head of the student's residential college — Silliman College — and demanded consequences for the joking undergrad, the paper said.

A response

"I have now heard about this incident from many, many students," Santos replied in an email to at least one student, which the Daily News said it obtained. "I'm upset that a member of my community would post something like this and I will take action on it. I will be bringing this up with the proper channels."

More from the paper:

While some students said they appreciated Santos' note, many members of the University community voiced concerns about the email's implications on whether administrators and faculty members have the jurisdiction to regulate students' speech.

English professor David Bromwich said the idea that the junior "should somehow be punished, or cited to justify a reprimand, seems a clear overreach of authority."

"[Of] course the result [of Santos' email] would be to chill speech generally," Bromwich said. "People say silly things like this all the time, on campus and in everyday life elsewhere. Will you install microphones in the potted plants and try to catch them all?"

In an interview with the News, Chairman of the Institute for Free Speech Bradley Smith said Santos' email is "absurd and anti-liberal." The email sends a message that students now have to be extra careful to not upset others and "gives a license to social justice warriors to pick on students they don't like," Smith said. He added that free speech is not only about a lack of censorship, but also about an open attitude of accepting controversial ideas.

On second thought

Santos wrote to the Daily News on Wednesday, saying in hindsight she "would have worded things differently to make it clearer that what I wanted to do was gather more information — that was the action I had in mind."

She also told the paper that upon acquiring more details, she checked in with both the student behind the offending post and with "the community who was affected by the post."

Yet Santos also told the Daily News, "Yale does not police student's free speech, and so it is not appropriate for me to try to influence what students can or can't say, including on social media, but I nevertheless saw that the community was deeply affected by the post."

Yale's president speaks

Yale President Peter Salovey told the paper that heads of colleges do not have the right to regulate students' free speech and should create inclusive, welcoming environments and sponsor programs to promote the free exchange of ideas.

In fact, the Daily News said that in an interview with the paper earlier this month, Salovey said the Yale community should be "willing to tolerate the intolerable" to avoid going "down a slippery slope of regulating speech [and] deciding what's offensive and what's not."

But Salovey didn't comment on whether he'd spoken to Santos about her handling of the offending post, the Daily News said.

Remember when?

You might recall that Silliman — Yale's residential college in question — was at the center of a huge controversy several years back.

Nicholas Christakis was Silliman's master while his wife, Erika Christakis, was associate master — and they both resigned after students got upset at Erika Christakis for saying they should grow thicker skins when it comes to witnessing offensive Halloween costumes and the like.

And you may recall an unsettling video of Nicholas Christakis attempting to talk to a large group of angry students encircling him on a college walkway, demanding apologies and explanations for why their "safe space" pleas haven't been heard.

Suddenly a student got in Christakis' face, yelled at him to "be quiet" and proceeded to give him a profanity-laced lecture of what his position entailed.

"It is your job to create a place of comfort and home for the students who live in Silliman," the student told Christakis, later adding, "Do you understand that?"

When Christakis stated his disagreement, the student screamed, "Then why the f*** did you accept the position? Who the f*** hired you? You should step down!" She also told Christakis he shouldn't sleep at night and that he's "disgusting."

Here's the clip. (Content warning: Language):

Yale University Students Protest Halloween Costume Email (VIDEO 3) youtu.be

You can read the rest of the Yale Daily News article here.

(H/T: The College Fix)

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