Thursday, November 12, 2015

Open Letter to Yale's President Salovey


I just sent this today. If you went to Yale, I would urge you to do the same. I am told the president's office is getting A LOT of calls.

Dear President Salovey,

I have been a faithful Yalie for a long time. I am a Pierson Fellow, I taught a college seminar for a few years. I come to games. I have never been anything but filled with pride to be a Yale graduate. That is, until now.

In the last few days, I have been bombarded with calls and emails from colleagues and friends – many from Yale, many not - all say basically the same thing: what the hell has happened to Yale? Many vow their kids will never go there. The Yale Class of 1982 Facebook page has literally lighted up over this, and you should know the shock, disappointment, and outrage is spread across the ideological spectrum.

Perhaps you will say I need to understand the broader context. Well, I was at the Buckley conference, and I saw first hand the amount of respect the students have for free speech, which is to say none, unless it’s what they want to hear. Make no mistake, those students would have entered and disrupted our conference had security not prevented it. (Apparently, the irony of interrupting a conference on free speech is lost on today’s Yale students.)

What I wish to know is the following:

1. Will there be repercussions for the student, Jerelyn Luther, who called Master Christakis “disgusting,” among other things, or are students now allowed to address faculty members this way?

2. Is there an investigation into the alleged spitting incident at the Buckley event? If I’m not mistaken, spitting is categorized as assault.

3. If the allegation against SAE turns out to be fabricated (as many of these campus incidents turn out to be), what will the repercussions be for the woman who made them up? Did she not do the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded movie theatre?

I won't stop loving Yale - I had too good an experience for that. I also know what a difficult position you find yourself, and I hope you find the wisdom to navigate through this crisis. But I think you are going to have to make some people mad, particularly the activists. You will be picketed and shouted at, maybe worse. But the alternative, to allow Yale to further slip into the hands of those whose views are completely antithetical to Yale’s tradition of intellectual discourse, is far worse.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Scott C. Johnston ‘82


  1. Perfectly articulated, as usual. Scott for President.

  2. Excellent letter.

    Willard S. Moore Y'81