As Yogi Berra said, it’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future, but having witnessed similar madness first hand for many decades, let me offer my clairvoyance. This experiment will go though three stages: optimism, disappointment, and then–something currently unspeakable–part of Yale will come to resemble Detroit. If this seems harsh, recall the transformation of countless American cities beginning in the mid-1960s.
Stage I: OptimismThe noble experiment was officially begun by the President Peter Salovey announcing (“Toward A Better Yale”) “that it is clear that we need to make significant changes so that all members of our community truly feel welcome . . . and to reaffirm and reinforce our commitment to a campus where hatred and discrimination are never tolerated.” He then followed with the usual boilerplate about Yale’s commitment to full freedom of expression, but “when universities and communities around the country are coming together to address longstanding inequalities, I believe that Yale can and should lead the way.”
Then comes the staggering list of goodies that will make Yale the inclusive City on a Hill. The cornucopia begins with four new faculty positions to develop a “transformative, multidisciplinary center.” This to-be-created center will naturally have ample staff and resources. It would be illegal to have racial quotas for filling these “transformative” positions, but “Yale already has outstanding faculty members who are doing cutting-edge scholarship on the histories, lives, and cultures of unrepresented and under-represented communities” who will supervise the hiring. In short, it will be a racial payoff.
In the meantime, Yale will immediately add additional staff and undergraduate courses to address the concerns of the unrepresented and under-represented community and, for the next five years, will sponsor conferences on race, gender, inequality and inclusion.
Provost Ben Polak will oversee a $50 million university-wide program to enhance faculty diversity. To guarantee results, a senior faculty member with the title of deputy dean for diversity will guide the initiative, and coordinate support and mentoring for untenured faculty.
The budgets for Yale’s four cultural centers (black, Indian, Hispanic, Asian) will double and the centers will get “faculty upgrades.” If yet more money is needed, it will be forthcoming.
President Salovey himself, along with vice-presidents, deans, provosts and other members of the administration will be trained to recognize and combat racism and other forms of discrimination. Department chairs, directors of graduate and undergraduate programs, and similar functionaries will get the same treatment. There will be a greater commitment to spreading the word to undergraduates via Yale’s orientation program, its speaker series, and other ongoing programs. A committee of students, faculty, and staff will “work together better to create an inclusive community, a community in which they all belong.”
Yale will also create a “robust and clear” mechanism for reporting, tracking, and stopping actions that violate the University’s nondiscrimination policies. Students will be taught the pathways for reporting discrimination, and mechanisms will be created to stamp it out.
To promote a more fair representation of the Yale community, the Committee on Public Art will ask for input on how diversity (also known as “vibrancy”) can be better celebrated on campus. President Salovey offers as an example of this the “Women’s Table” that has been set up in front of the Sterling Memorial Library. So we can expect more portraits of blacks, Latino/as and members of the LGBT community.
The costs of this inclusionary project are enormous and I doubt if anybody has calculated the price of this tax on whites. But less obvious will be the opportunity costs–the yet more thousands of hours that will now be allocated to alleviating the psychic distress of a handful of black undergraduates. White (and Asian) job applications will be put on hold as Yale rushes to find qualified blacks, but the show must go on.
Stage II: Reality ReturnsThe euphoria inspired by President Salovey’s total surrender will be brief. Self-esteem, self-congratulations from speaking truth to power will evaporate in a few months. Baloney about transformation will not bring academic improvement. Renaming a building does not boost the intelligence of its residents. Youngsters who struggled with organic chemistry before the Great Upheaval will still struggle, though, to be sure, the newly terrified chemistry professor will not dare flunk them. It may now be even more difficult for blacks to master hard subjects after the thrill of school-as-radical-theater is gone. They may get gift “Bs” in organic chemistry just for showing up, but the day of reckoning will come when they fail the MCAT and can’t get into medical school.
SJW skills cannot be transferred to academic accomplishment; the very opposite is true. Whoever heard of a demonstration scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m. where participants had to answer tough questions and offer documentation? No protestor is ever asked to explain why black professors are better able to teach black students. To compound these bad habits, instructors will be afraid to turn down frivolous requests from black students to extend the deadline on a paper, reschedule an exam, or rewrite a terrible paper. Professors will also be terrified of accusing students of cheating. Waging a show-up-and-whine war to extract benefits breeds habits of sloth.
Nor will the perceived discriminations vanish. After all, it was hyper-sensitivity that cowed Yale functionaries–a lesson not easily un-learned. Endless talk of race will only provide more opportunities for microaggression. The dictionary of racial code words will expand to six hefty volumes. Thin skin will grow even thinner while the definition of “hate” becomes yet more elastic. Black students will be outraged when the dean of inclusion, diversity, and outreach lets it slip out that recruiting qualified blacks isn’t easy. “Are you suggesting that there’s a shortage of smart blacks? Off with his head!” If today’s blacks want a campus 100 percent free of racial animosity, build a time machine and travel back to the 1950s when–as I well recall–nothing on those campuses that admitted blacks made them uncomfortable and they were happy to be there.
President Salovey’s effort to cleanse the campus of hate and racism will energize blacks to invent new forms of oppression. Creative agitators will discover that the lecture format is racist because it “privileges” a (white) instructor while forcing all students to sit still, not gossip on cell phones, and otherwise “act white.” Similarly, requiring research papers to be written in Standard English disadvantages those whose parents lacked the resources to impart elitist standards. Tomorrow’s demand will be that Yale hire black “professor aids” who will read the papers written by people of color and even write culturally sensitive exams, particularly in the hard sciences where blacks perform poorly due to cultural bias. There will be demands for race-normed grades.
And with millions of dollars in play, there will be squabbles. Black women will denounce black men for hogging leadership positions and otherwise behaving badly. What about sharing the loot with other groups such as the LGBT contingent, Hispanics, the disabled, and everybody else who can make a claim to victimhood? Only so many cultural centers can be established, and only so many portraits can be hung. Academic work will now give way to fighting over the greatly expanded diversity pie.
Stage III: Utopia Turns into DetroitThe life of the mind, at least in humanities and social sciences, will become a nightmare. A once lively campus will, at least in some fields, become an intellectual desert. Professors, especially those lacking tenure, will cleanse their lectures and reading assignments of anything that might upset blacks. Thanks to Yale’s commitment to helping students snitch on professors who violate the school’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and non-discrimination, the campus will resemble the network of informers in East Germany–a Stasi of color. Better not say “slave;” the correct term is “enslaved person.” This inquisition rests entirely on perceptions and feelings; it is irrelevant if the offense is factually correct or expressed to stimulate discussion. There can be no defense against the crime of having given offense.
Intellectual and social life will grow increasingly segregated–a Darwinian speciation. Professors will shun black students, given that any interaction with them is walking on eggshells. Not even private e-mail or Facebook postings will be safe.
The Yale campus will then experience its own version of white flight along with the corresponding changes that this exodus created in cities.
Thanks to President Salovey’s New World Order, faculty who can flee Yale–those approaching retirement, academic stars always in demand at other schools, those enjoying options in industry or government–will jump ship. Meanwhile, top white students will enroll elsewhere. Among those who attend Yale, youngsters enjoying rough and tumble discussions will move off campus and form clubs with cryptic names that disguise the sin of exclusion. Undergraduate literature lovers who disdain third-rate female black authors will set up a dinner and drinking club at a suburban motel and invite professors to safe houses whose location will be changed each week. Soviet-style repression invites Soviet-style resistance.
White flight will be reflected in empty seats in countless classes. Few whites will enroll in courses taught by black ideologues. Students must, of course, take some classes but why bother showing up to hear anxious instructors rehash material from a textbook with the PC imprimatur. White (and Asian) Yalies will avoid on-campus socializing lest they risk being overhead laughing inappropriately. At Halloween parties at secret locations students will dress up as the Dean of Diversity to terrify professors. As in the old Soviet Empire, rituals will develop to test whether friends are trustworthy.
But the biggest shift toward a Detroit-like atmosphere will come from the combination of recruiting marginal black students and implementing the “safe spaces” policy. Increasing black enrollment means signing up even more doubtful candidates. They will need endless tutoring but, on the plus side, they are “authentic” by the standard of contemporary blackness. Many could be members of a new affirmative-action category: children of incarcerated parents.
And what will happen when this contingent reaches critical mass and realizes that thanks to the doctrine of “safe space” they enjoy legal extraterritoriality? They will no longer be stopped by the now culturally competent police for loitering, dealing drugs, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, or shoplifting. What is worse, non-Yale blacks will discover that the black-themed cultural centers and residential houses are de facto black sanctuaries. Why hang out in dreary New Haven housing projects when you can “attend” Yale and enjoy free Ivy League amenities without being bothered by racist police or having to attend class?
These outsiders could become part of the black on-campus community. An Ivy League campus with thousands of rich, naïve youngsters and shops catering to this clientele is a target rich environment: so many drunken frat boys, so many gullible white coeds and so many luxury stores. Campus security will be virtually powerless to stop prowlers since this would be the unforgivable sin of racial profiling and even stereotyping. An officer who questioned “suspicious” blacks at 3:00 a.m. a few feet from a residence hall full of white coeds would be immediately shipped out for enhanced sensitivity training.
This scenario is hardly hypothetical. During the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, many universities in places such as New York City were hit by crime waves and struggled financially when families were reluctant to send their children to live among muggers and drug dealers. Yale is Yale, but in the long run no school can survive if students are routinely victimized. Parents who pay upward of $60,000 a year in tuition and fees are not easily convinced that crime is a small price to be paid for diversity and inclusion.
Since the spineless administrators dare not eliminate the crime-infested “safe spaces,” they will spend yet more money insulating students. More police will be hired, not to arrest thieves and rapists, but to provide escorts to Yalies. There will be security cameras and police call boxes everywhere. Free, Yale-supplied transportation will carry students the three or four blocks to class. Orientation will include lectures on personal safety and what to do when asked for your wallet, though, of course, students will be warned about “stereotypes.” Self-defense classes will become popular even as the university does its best to push black-on-white crime out of the newspapers. A few students may even start shooting clubs.
But this will be an environment in which black students can truly feel at home.