The Real Safe Spaces At Yale
Listening in on a tour group recently, Rumpus overheard a silvery-haired, well-dressed man ask his guide: “So how safe is Yale, exactly? Do the students ever get attacked?” He was genuinely concerned, probably because he buys into the paranoia (started by Princeton) that Yale is the Aleppo of the Ivy League. After an hour of touring the various predetermined Yale Tours sites, his question wasn’t “Why did you choose Yale?” or “Why does everyone look so sad here?” but instead a question obviously spawned from an irrational fear of the poor. Doesn’t he know it’s been almost two years since the last dismembered torso was found lying around New Haven?
Say the word “safe spaces at Yale” and the first image that comes to mind is a Fox News slam piece depicting Yalies as special snowflakes, incapable of tolerating the opinions of others. Safe spaces definitely exist at Yale, but not in the way that the Breitbart articles your great-uncle keeps forwarding you would have you think. Instead, they can be found on Broadway, at the boujee shops such as GANT and Patagonia, with window advertisements for deals like “Buy 3 shirts for $300, get one free.”
Despite maintaining its own police department, security force, nighttime shuttle system, and Blue Phones(tm), it turns out Yale’s most effective method of calming the fears of the PhD, JD, and MBA parents has been installing stores around campus that make them think they’re back summering at Martha’s Vineyard. It’s true – Yale Properties owns almost all of Broadway, and would keep expanding too if not for those pesky homeowners. The university that has gentrified a significant portion of surrounding New Haven still just doesn’t feel safe enough to parents used to their Johnny living in a gated community.
And while Fox can rail against our love for safe spaces all they want, I for one am glad that when a rich student is triggered by seeing a poor person, they can run to the back of our new Patagonia store, lock the changing room door and curl into the fetal position while specially-trained employees assure the troubled student that poor people just “don’t work hard enough” and “can stop being poor anytime they want.”