Yale teacher resigns over offensive Halloween costume email - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Yale teacher resigns over offensive Halloween costume email

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB/AP) -

A Yale University faculty member who sparked protests when she said students should be free to push boundaries with Halloween costumes, even to the point of offense, has resigned from her teaching position.

The school announced Monday that Erika Christakis chose not continue teaching and that she would be welcomed back.

Christakis came under attack in October for an email to students living in the residence hall where she's an administrator.

She was responding to a request from the Intercultural Affairs Committee that students avoid wearing racially insensitive costumes, such as Native American headgear, turbans or blackface.

The email, and allegations that a woman was turned away from a fraternity party because she was not white, prompted hundreds to march in protest of racial insensitivity at the Ivy League school.

Christakis sent her own email, challenging the idea that someone should have a say in what type of costume students choose.

Nicholas Christakis, the master at Silliman College, defended his wife's remarks.

"I think she resigned because she thought her presence in the classroom would be counter productive, giving students' reactions to her comments outside the classroom," said Jacob Bennett, who is a senior at Yale.

In an email to the Washington Post, Erika Christakis explained her reason for resigning and stepping out of the classroom, and said "I have great respect and affection for my students but I worry that the current climate at Yale is not, in my view, conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve our urgent societal problems."

In response to her resignation, Yale issued a statement saying "Erika Christakis is a well-regarded instructor, and the university's leadership is disappointed that she's chosen not to continue teaching in the spring semester. Her teaching is highly valued and she is welcome to resume teaching at any time at Yale, where freedom of expression and academic inquiry are the paramount principle and practice."

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.