A Yale student is in the news because he refused to apologize for a “racist” email that he sent back in September. Trent Colbert, a second-year law student, said that Yale officials pressured him to send out an apology. Colbert argues that his email wasn’t racist and many social media users are supporting him.
On Sept. 15, Colbert, who is a member of the university’s Native American Law School Association and Federalist Society, sent the following email to 20 members about an upcoming party.
The email said, “This Friday at 7:30, we will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House [Redacted] by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc. Planned attractions include Popeye’s chicken, basic-bitch-American themed snacks (like apple pie, etc.) a cocktail station, assorted hard and soft beverages, and (most importantly) the opportunity to attend the NALSA Trap House’s inaugural mixer!”
According to Colbert, within 12 hours of him sending out the email, he got contacted by Yale officials who told him that he should apologize for the “racist” email. They said that if he apologized it would save his future law career and make the problem go away.
Reports said that two Yale administrators, Yale Law diversity director Yaseen Eldik and Associate Dean Ellen Cosgrove, told Colbert that he might have trouble with the bar exam if he didn’t apologize for his actions.
Audio published by the Washington Free Beacon show alleged threats towards Colbert by Eldik and Cosgrove.
The student said that he was open to discussing the issue personally with students who found his email offensive and left his DMs open on social media. The student claims that no one ever reached out to him to discuss the “racist” email.
Members of the Black Students Law Association had seen a screenshot of Colbert’s email and found his use of the term “trap house” to be insensitive.
“Trap house” refers to a place where someone can buy drugs and is used colloquially among the Black community. Colbert, who is a member of Generation Z, said that he only knows the term for it’s modern definition, which is usually associated with the idea of a party house.
The Yale student wrote an essay called “Why I Didn’t Apologize for That Yale Law School Email,” for Persuasion, and it has since gone viral.
Colbert wrote, “Instead, an apology should be a sincere expression of remorse and admission of fault. The Yale administrators did not believe I had been racist by using the phrase “trap house.” But it did not matter. They urged me to placate students via public submission.”
He later added, “I don’t believe that the now-common ritual of compelled apology, complete with promises to “grow” and “do better” (their words, but ones I’m sure you’ve seen many times before) helps anyone, or is even intended to. If we continue to indulge this culture of performative denunciation, the very idea of an apology will lose its meaning.”
While some are still calling for Trent Colbert to apologize, others are taking to social media and supporting the young law student for his ability to stay strong to his opinions.
One Twitter user wrote, “Yes both sides have faults. But which side is using cancel culture and weaponizing mobbings more. Have the right cancelled anyone for trivial things like Gina Cararo, Bright Sheng, Dorian Abbot, Trent Colbert? You guys destroyed your own Senator, Franken, on ridiculous grounds.”
Others are calling for Yale officials to apologize to the law student.
Since the email became viral, Yale University has taken down the contact information of all their administrators after it was reported that many of them were getting threatening emails and phone calls.
The University released a statement and said that, “profile page for the Office of Student Affairs was temporarily taken down to protect staff members who have been receiving threatening emails and phone calls.”
Some professors are calling for certain members of the administration to be fired for their conduct.