In a highly dramatic televised speech to the university and the world, Yale University President Richard Levin defended his decision to assume essentially dictatorial powers on campus. His declaration suspends the university charter, Yale Corporation By-Laws and curtails freedom of the press and the power of the residential college deans.
In his speech, he referred to the numerous hate speech incidents and offensive art projects throughout the university, offending several million people in just the last couple of months. He described how embarrassing it has been to explain to foreign leaders why these incidents have been occurring. He particularly mentioned his embarrassment at having to explain to Chinese leaders why protesters were allowed to demonstrate on College street during a visit by Chinese president Hu Jintao in 2006.
He blamed several campus publications for encouraging such offensive acts, and he blamed the residential college deans for preventing him from taking the necessary steps to stop the offensive actions. He used these reasons as justification for suspending the university charter.
The unusual departure of the master of Ezra Stiles college has fueled the blogosphere with conspiracy theories. Many have suggested that the master of Ezra Stiles was forced to resign because of his opposition to the new regime.
Levin issued a strongly worded statement regarding the conspiracy theories, saying "Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the departure of the master of Ezra Stiles; malicious lies that attempt to incite division, and fuel suspicion."
Levin's actions are provoking bitter condemnations within Yale itself, and harsh criticism from the other ivies, most of whom are interpreting his actions as purely political. Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust, speaking from Princeton in a meeting with Ivy League leaders about the situation at Yale, criticized the move because it distracted Yale from its mission of scholarship.
Below is a short transcript of Levin's highly emotional speech:
"I would like to direct this to our friends at Harvard and Princeton and the other ivies...
I would ask you to finally understand the criticality of the environment inside Yale. Yale is on the verge of destabilization, if not prevented in time. Now, without moving any further, time or delaying the issue. The saddest part of everything, that saddens me the most, that after all we have achieved in the past 300+ years I see in front of my eyes, Yale's status taking a downward trend. I personally, with all my conviction, and with all the facts available to me, consider that inaction at this moment is a bad decision for Yale, and I cannot allow this university's reputation to sink down the drain."
As of this moment, the silence at Yale is deafening. Most students are indoors and tanks are patrolling Old Campus. The Yale Campus police is out in full force and patrolling each residential college in full riot gear. Levin also announced that he would be installing an extra 2,000 CCTV cameras around campus in order to monitor truancy and deviancy.
Most students on campus say they feel safer with the heavily armed Blackwater troops garrisoned at HGS - waiting to be deployed at the first sign of trouble. Ezra Stiles junior Fired Hactor said "I can rest in peace knowing that it will become much more difficult for misfits to plant the seed of discontent within us all." He added that "the students had wrought this upon themselves by printing inflammatory posters, articles, works of satire and producing blasphemous art projects."