The Visibility Project


Yale School of Architecture

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The Visibility Project is an initiative by concerned students and alumni of the Yale School of Architecture to analyze the deeply entrenched prejudices and biases that exist within architectural institutions, beginning with our own.

This research encourages a deeper understanding of how race, ethnicity, gender, and class impact learning at our school. We aim to make visible the embodied experience of students in their own words. ​In attempting to quantify incidents of prejudice, discrimination, or preferential treatment, we seek to understand our behavior not as individual acts but as part of a system.

By highlighting inequities in our learning environment, we hope the Visibility Project will help promote introspection, create actionable goals, and facilitate the continuing dialogue between the administration and the students. Our efforts to engage with these inequalities will help us produce an honest reflection of where the school is and where we could be.

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What is considered the best work at YSoA?

The Feldman Prize is “awarded each year to the student who demonstrates the best solution to an architectural problem in an advanced studio, taking into consideration the practical, functional, and aesthetic requirements of that problem.”

As the only award at the YSoA for which students must be nominated by faculty, the Feldman Prize is an excellent case study of architecture’s subjective evaluation. Conferred at the culmination of three years of study, it is an accolade that grants both distinction and a monetary prize. Our analysis of Feldman nominees and winners from 2004-2020 has produced the following data:

Feldman Nominees (Ethnicity)

69% of Feldman nominees were white.

Feldman Winners (Ethnicity)

88% of Feldman winners were white.

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White students
have had a


7.8%

chance of winning.


Non-White students
have had a


2.9%

chance of winning.


|

White nominees have won at 2.7 times the rate of non-White nominees.

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To understand why this disparity exists, we need to examine the layers of racialized experience that accumulate throughout the years of architecture school and beyond.

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Methodology

We designed a survey to capture both quantitative and qualitative data of the student experience at YSoA. 173 current students and alumni responded. In addition to measuring the distribution of learning opportunities and academic resources, the survey seeks to give each of us a space to share our experiences and address any grievances candidly. Select responses have been edited for length and clarity.

The survey asked students to reflect on their time at the school in the following dimensions:

The survey can be found here.
The quantitative results from the survey are summarized here.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Respondents by Graduating Year

Ethnicity

Gender

SURVEY RESULTS

Part I:
Overall Climate
At YSOA, do you feel you receive different treatment on a regular basis because of your race or gender?
42%

of White students answered yes.

51%

of non-White students answered yes.

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[While] there were times (yes plural) I was a victim of very obvious sexual assault, I feel that being white allowed me to avoid feeling the 'death by a thousand cuts' experience that others might feel with consistent microaggressions.
White Female

Had an elderly professor tell me as a first year - "you seem to know what you are doing" on BP house project. Had no idea what I was doing, was a floundering first year first semester student. Project was borderline disaster.
White Male

I felt belittled by male peers and sometimes faculty and staff, fairly regularly. I felt that the culture of the school rewarded behaviors that are associated with masculinity. My work with Equality In Design, which, in retrospect, was fairly tame, solicited bullying, gaslighting, and condemnation from faculty and my peers.
White Female

There remains the feeling of an old school boys’ club, given that older male professors still retain positions of power regardless of their histories of gender discrimination.
Mixed Race Female

Any work Asian students do would often be referenced to an 'Asian idea'. A student had a circle in a drawing, and the critic referred it to a Japanese flag. There was not a single thread in that connection, we were confused.
Asian Female

Due to being female, my projects were often described in reviews as "cute" as opposed to "strong" or "effective." Due to being a Muslim woman, I was told that the possibility of a teaching opportunity at YSOA after graduation might be an issue, as students might not relate to me or see me as an approachable mentor due to my age, gender and headscarf.
MENA Female

[I was] questioned about if I have written the essay on my own.
Asian Male

There are a lot of white Americans that think that they can imitate the way I speak Spanish or call me “amigo.” They also try to make a stereotype of me of the sexy Latino, which is very sad to see.
Latinx Male






At YSOA, do you witness prejudices (positive or negative) or microaggressions on a regular basis?
78%

of White students answered yes.

74%

of non-White students answered yes.

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The treatment of the New Haven populace as somehow scary or less than human by a majority of the student body was frankly really troubling, [especially as] it often came from those who were vocal allies for equality within the school.
White Male

I have seen a student use structural racism against the BIPOC community as a way to argue [they were] marginalized from getting an internship— they are white, not BIPOC. I see sexism on a regular basis from faculty and students. I see students not feeling heard, understood, or supported by administration and faculty when it comes to who they can talk to. I see non-white students being talked down to by professors and critics as if they don't have the capacity to understand something.
White Female

I've especially witnessed [prejudice] relative to communication styles. I've seen countless reviews where Asian, Latina, or Native American peers have unduly tough critiques because they didn't present their work in the implicitly "culturally correct" way (which I would try to describe, but I think all architecture students know exactly what I'm talking about.) Sometimes reviews have focused more on the presentation than even the work itself! On the flip side, as an outspoken female who's been taught to constantly "speak up" and "talk like a leader" from a young age, I now feel the eyerolls of some of my peers at the "loud white girl" when I participate in class. We all carry baggage about the ideal ways to communicate and it's a territory full of microaggressions in all directions. It's clear that attempts to acknowledge this territory in school—particularly when it comes to reviews—have been half-hearted, last minute, or ultimate misses. As we aim to address racial biases and celebrate diversity of all kinds as a community, we need to learn to hear, embrace, and amplify an equally diverse set of voices and communication styles!
White Female

Students reported to the administration the "unprofessionalism" of a black faculty member and said black faculty member was not at the meeting to defend himself.s
Black Female

Consistent mispronunciation of other students’ names, particularly Asian students’ names.
Asian Male

Critics call out international Asian students for "taking too long to communicate their ideas," interrupt them mid-sentence and offer feedback via a tripling-down of dense academic speak. It's like they're punishing [students] for their own discomfort at having to navigate a language and cultural barrier. To have some of my peers approach me after pin-up to confess that they could not understand the majority of the critique offered makes my blood boil for them. Some white, neoliberal peers have attempted to speak on behalf of some of these students under the racist assumption that they're "too shy"; "too easily steamrolled"; or "don't seem interested/engaged enough." The actual problem is that these same white folks take up all the space and are too busy breathing in all the oxygen in the room to even notice that their BIPOC peers have been pushed to the sidelines, they didn't arrive there by choice.
Asian American Female

I witnessed a female friend get an unnecessarily harsh critique from a male TF, [while the same] TF was laughing and having friendly "bro camaraderie" critiquing male classmates who clearly deserved a harsher critique.
Asian Female

Teachers would regularly dismiss non-Eurocentric ideas and architectural histories.
Asian American Male

When I proposed writing a paper on Indian architecture, the professor's response was, "if you're from Beijing, why don't you write a paper about the Forbidden City?" You can tell many professors are proud of such comments because it shows their knowledge of other cultures, but honestly this is just the same as telling an Italian student to "go learn about the Pantheon." After revealing to [professors] that I'm in fact an international Chinese student, instead of Chinese-American, I often receive comments like "you speak great English" or "you don't sound like you're from China, I had no idea." I don't feel like I need to explain here why such comments upset me, but I also want to point out that no one ever comments on a European student's English. But I'll take this back and stop feeling upset if I ever hear someone also compliment the English of an international student from Europe.
Asian Female




Part II:
Classroom Dynamics
Students at YSOA get equal treatment and attention from faculty during class and studio, regardless of ethnicity and gender.

White Students

44% Disagree
27% Agree


Non-White Students

57% Disagree
26% Agree


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I witnessed Asian students being told that they had a "different outlook on the world" due to their country of origin. This very well may be true, but it seemed like an odd comment to make with so little information on the part of the reviewer. It always seemed unhelpful to talk about the student presenting as opposed to the work produced, which most often seemed to happen with minorities.
White Male

For those who demanded it, not asked, demanded and monopolized faculty, there was great attention. There are a couple people who seemed to be so traumatized that even when they asked for help the faculty didn't know how to reach them.
White Female

One of my classmates, an Asian-American woman, was immediately identified as incompetent in Viz 1, even though many other students were struggling in similar ways. Other students who were playing catch-up just as much in Viz 1 were not picked on because of the confident way they spoke. This reputation dogged her for her entire time at YSoA. All her critics treated her like she needed remedial attention and she was asked to take a year off. It was intensely unfair and I imagine it was really harmful to her confidence.
White Female

The administration didn’t seem to care about students that needed more time to process visas [for studio travel.] When we brought it up with the administration, their response was simply, ‘That’s the way it is.” They didn’t feel like it was worth reconsidering, they even said since it is only a problem for a very few number of students, it isn’t worth working on (paraphrasing). It broke my heart to hear that. Yes, it may not be many students, but for those handful of students, it was EVERY SEMESTER. Imagine coming to Yale with the promise of travel studios and then learning that the administration isn’t willing to work with you to find a solution. I saw my friends miss out on valuable class time making multiple trips to NYC to try and get their visas in time. I don’t care if it’s only a handful [of students,] let them pick studios earlier so they can work on travel arrangements. This is a classic example of equality vs. equity.
Latinx Male

I was in the [Advanced] Classical Studio led by [a white female critic.] It was possibly the worst experience I have had regarding my ethnicity...The whole studio was clearly divided in two groups. One was exclusively white people. They received constant support and praise for the smallest things while [the rest of us] were categorized as under-performers who resisted too much or did not listen to them. This continued into our studio trip as well. We even brought this up with the Registrar during the semester. None of us ever received any formal response about any action they took. The studio was about the refugee crisis [but] the faculty didn't even understand the difference between refugees and immigrants. When we would bring up [the refugee crisis], we were constantly shut down [in favor of] discussion of the Roman architectural order. It was a mockery of the adversity and pain that refugees have and are still going through.
Asian Female

[I have experienced microaggressions such as] responding to a question that is based on the type of background or ethnicity you are, and then the conversation ending because nobody else in the room (not even the faculty) knows how to even begin addressing the comment/perspective or even how to acknowledge it.
Latinx Female

[A white male critic] called out a fellow classmate who is a Korean woman, told her that he knew her grandmother based on her name, and then continued to say he is in fact possibly her grandfather.
Asian Female






A student's ethnicity and gender affects the feedback they receive during pin-up critiques and reviews.

White Students

10% Disagree
59% Agree


Non-White Students

20% Disagree
51% Agree


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I have been on a review in which a student of color articulated a culturally-specific concern that was driving their project, but which was subsequently dismissed by critics as not being the "real" driving force of the project.
White Male

Perhaps most apparently, critics usually remember my name and my work but often confuse the names and work of international students.
White Male

I felt that sometimes during BP my ideas were not absorbed as fully when I said them as when they were repeated by a male team member. [During another critique, critics] kept asking what [that student] learned from what they did in a way that was not taking into account the ideas that were already on the board, insinuating they didn't learn anything from what they did.
White Female

It was one of the last reviews of the day and there were two presentations happening simultaneously. Even though the students were assigned to their studio's section, 99% of the students gravitated towards one side. The other student was left with her studio professor and guest critics. It was the first time that made me realize the limit in our classmates' ability to support one another, especially when the other was outside of our immediate social circle, which was often defined by race/ethnicity.
Asian American Female

I think that sometimes when you can’t express yourself in English because it’s not your first language some professors stop listening and start telling you what your project is about.
Latinx Male

My white professors constantly fetishize Japanese design concepts but actually know very little about and consistently misinterpret and whitewash East Asian design concepts. When I incorporate knowledge from my own culture into my work, it is deemed "too subtle" or "not rigorous."
Asian American Female

When presenting with fellow peers who are men and/or white, the jury would often address [only] them both verbally and in eye contact even though the work is clearly collaboratively produced.
Asian Female

Critics "expect" Asian students to make technically strong work—polished drawings in a complete set. However, I feel like it is sometimes used against me. Critics will say, “The drawings are beautiful, but..." without engaging as deeply with my ideas as they do those proposed by white or European students. My success in one area of a project is used as a source of criticism in another.
Asian American Male






Though different faculty and critics have different methods of evaluation, student work within a studio, review group or class is evaluated on the same scale.

White Students

30% Disagree
35% Agree


Non-White Students

28% Disagree
35% Agree


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Disparities in quality of review feedback comes primarily from the review order (jurors tired in the middle or require project explanation at the beginning, etc.,) so it's important that review orders are assigned equitably (i.e. EiD's study on distribution of first letters of last names.) To get equal quality of feedback it's also important to have a diverse group of jurors.
White Female

I always felt I had more leeway to "find my path" than some peers. I always felt I was assumed to be a leader, and thus given a certain deference.
White Male

I am here on a large merit scholarship, and am of a completely different [educational] background; most of the faculty knew this because they hold other roles in the administration that disallows transparency in different positions. Therefore, my evaluations were sometimes based on what I could do— not what my peers could do.
Latinx Female

Asians have frequently, especially in an Ivy league institution, been expected to perform at a level above average without recognition. While the prodigy white counterpart receives affirmation, the Asian student will be labeled as ‘overworked’ at their own discretion.
Mixed Race Student

It's harder for an individual's work to stand out when Asian students tend to be viewed similarly, whether seen as having a "Japanese" style of work or having a more rational/technical sensibility.
Asian American Male

Strangely enough, I have experienced professors of color looking down on me or other students of color more so than the White Americans in my class. It seems that they hold us up to a different standard, one with less patience.
Latinx Female




Part III:
Groupwork and Socialization
I feel heard by my peers when I engage in group projects or discussions.

White Students

10% Disagree
83% Agree


Non-White Students

9% Disagree
71% Agree






I feel recognized for my work and ideas by peers when I engage in group projects.

White Students

12% Disagree
75% Agree


Non-White Students

8% Disagree
76% Agree






I feel recognized for my work and ideas by faculty when I engage in group projects.

White Students

8% Disagree
71% Agree


Non-White Students

20% Disagree
55% Agree






What is a typical experience for you when you engage in group projects?

Instructor favoritism is perceived and mirrored within student groups to some extent.
White Female

A large group project presentation, which I had thought went well, concerned critics. I and the other men in a group of around 8 had nearly monopolized discussion. We were oblivious to the dynamic until afterwards, when the critics rightfully told us. The group met to discuss where we had blocked input, and we organized future presentations to prevent it.
White Male

In most of my group projects, I think I had a pretty active role in setting the group's direction. Sometimes I found working with some people hard when they didn't see things the same way, or were less engaged and available, but in general, I think group projects I was involved in were successful and equitable.
White Male

I have trouble vocally opposing someone to their face when they seem to be leading the group in a controlling way— I wish I was better at just calling them out. A lot of group work has happened over Zoom and I've felt really disconnected to my team members in that way.
White Female

There were always dominant voices, myself included. I think that women didn't get heard enough. For example, my first year housing presentation, the men were advised to speak and the women were advised not to speak, because our voices were "stronger." I honestly hadn't thought about it until Peggy Deamer called us out. Thanks Pegs!
White Male

The most intense personal experiences I had with sexism at YSoA came from male peers in group projects. In an all-studio project, two men in the studio set the terms for the entire collaborative effort in such a way that would center their project. I spoke up, tried to open the conversation to other ideas. No one else said anything, and my critic wrote that he was disappointed in me for not being more of a "team player" in his comments after the studio.
White Female

Building Project was a heartbreaking experience to (unconsciously) be treated that way by people I thought of as friends.
Black Student

I felt recognized when I made the extra effort to explicitly state my role and contribution, after having 'proved' my competence.
Latinx Female

My white male peers are often perceived to be the leaders regardless of how much work they actually put in, and are slow to correct these assumptions and give their teammates their due credit. One of my white, European male peers in my BP team spent the entire time being ultra condescending to one of our Asian international female teammates, exerted very little patience in trying to understand her reasoning behind design decisions, and even scolded her for 'not listening' when the reality was that she had simply disagreed with his direction and had gone another way.
Asian American Female

There are a handful of white students that have spent little to no time outside of the East Coast bubble that I have witnessed make borderline racist comments about Asian, international students. In one such instance, a white student expressed discomfort at having a Chinese student express the group’s ideas due to the fact that the international student's English abilities were not very good and that he or she may feel uncomfortable speaking out because of it. It was a completely unfair assessment of the international student’s abilities, and showed a pretty gross misunderstanding of the abilities of Asian students as a whole.
Mixed Race Female






I feel comfortable socializing with my peers during the social events at YSOA.

White Students

12% Disagree
74% Agree


Non-White Students

18% Disagree
57% Agree






I feel comfortable socializing with faculty during the social events at YSOA.

White Students

18% Disagree
54% Agree


Non-White Students

31% Disagree
39% Agree






What is a typical experience for you when you engage in social events at YSOA? Or, if you don't attend them, why?

6 on 7 and [post-lecture] reception are both excellent environments to have informal conversations with peers and faculty. I consider the atmosphere of 6 on 7 and the receptions to be just as important as formal critiques, lectures, and discussion sections.
White Male

I anticipated the competitiveness of the academic setting, but I was disappointed that it often extended to social gatherings organized by the School and independently by students. I'm not sure what caused this (too much work? too personal a discipline? too little academic and administrative support?), but my overall sense was that students felt judged by one another. Just as I experienced many seminars where students remained quiet for fear of asking the wrong question or sounding stupid, so too did I find that the overly self-conscious environment pervaded YSoA social events.
White Female

My peers frustrate me. I find it difficult to socialize with many of them because conversations usually turn into a pissing contest about who knows more about obtuse subjects. I really wish we would normalize saying "I don't know" and learning to talk about architecture in a way that does not alienate others through jargon.
White Male

I mostly attended social events to hang with my group of friends. The intense feelings of hierarchy in the school made it feel intimidating to approach guest speakers or visiting faculty.
White Female

A field of whiteness. Personally, my feelings of being 'other-ed' are often exacerbated through actually seeing how different I am to the masses.
Black Student

I’m not used to engaging with faculty or non-white adults. I get nervous around them. It’s a behavior I picked up watching how nervous my parents get around their white employers or police, etc.
Latinx Male

I believe my year, in particular, has formed groups based on race and ethnicity. I personally found it difficult to fit within a certain crowd and it was an extremely uncomfortable situation to be in, at the age of 26. Throughout the years, people have become more open. But there is still a group that has yet to be as inclusive and that is unfortunately, the white Americans in my year.
Latinx Female

I just feel most topics that people talk about at the social events are very American culture-oriented [and] I find it hard to relate as an international individual.
Asian Male




Part IV:
Resource Allocation
Students at YSOA have equal access to resources, such as: electives, teaching fellowships, summer opportunities and graduation awards.

White Students

50% Disagree
29% Agree


Non-White Students

64% Disagree
24% Agree


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The ‘Old Boys’ club’ vibe [meant] preferential treatment towards people like me, white males. One seminar course I took only had one or two women each year, despite many other women signing up to take it.
White Male

It felt like your personal relationship to faculty through receptions, lecture conversations, small talk, and the paragraph written to the faculty member... made for an atmosphere of excessive, competitive schmoozing to get into electives.
White Male

The need to constantly prove oneself at YSoA in order to get into electives, get awarded for teaching fellowships, and be nominated for other awards, puts BIPOC at a disproportionate disadvantage and perpetuates the impostor syndrome and a culture of inadequacy among BIPOC students.
Asian American Female

Bias (by critics and the administration) has made me feel inadequate throughout my time at YSOA and culminated in a job offer that didn't go through due to my gender, ethnicity and age. It left me crushed and depressed to [this day]. No one deserves to be treated like they [didn’t get] where they got based on merit.
MENA Female






YSOA's process for enrolling in electives is fair.

White Students

42% Disagree
19% Agree


Non-White Students

39% Disagree
20% Agree


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White students get all their 1st choice electives


66%

of the time.


Non-White students get all their 1st choice electives


65%

of the time.


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Most schools let you sign up for electives based on seniority, so everyone has the same chance of getting what they want. At YSOA, you get in based on your relationships with the professors and your ability to be charming over drinks, or write an email explaining how you’ve always been a fan.
White Female

Acceptance is based on a student’s theoretical alignment or experience with the subject matter of the course, typically via a description of what specifically interests them about the course. How is one supposed to gain knowledge of a subject without having learned about it yet?
White Male

As a joint degree student, I also enrolled in courses at [another graduate school] and was amazed to find that their course enrollment process was much more democratic. If you wanted to sign up for a course, you would do so online. You could drop it online and someone else could sign up for your spot.
Asian American Female

I just picked the ones [I’m interested in that] I’m almost sure of getting because they are not too popular.
Asian Female

The process benefits students who are better at writing persuasively in English, and again leaves room for the professor to exercise personal bias in the selection process.
Asian American Female






YSOA's process for awarding Teaching Fellowships is fair.

White Students

31% Disagree
16% Agree


Non-White Students

45% Disagree
24% Agree


|

White students get their 1st choice teaching fellowship


60%

of the time.


Non-White students get their 1st choice teaching fellowship


46%

of the time.


|

White students are 30% more likely to get their 1st choice teaching fellowship.

White female students are 66% more likely to get their 1st choice teaching fellowship compared to non-White male students.

|

A few students wind up with the most prized positions because they befriend faculty who happen to teach certain studios or electives in consecutive semesters. These students have, for instance, gotten teaching fellowships in the first-year studio twice in consecutive years, making it difficult for other students to have a chance at those jobs. This provides a clear financial advantage.
White Male

There is no data about how many students apply for what positions— so we don't actually know what positions are really popular or what positions only had one applicant vs. many, etc. The applications are sent out without a lot of time for students to apply (at least this last round— only 2 days). I think having data in and around these positions would be helpful.
White Female

[Whether you think the TF selection process is fair] is largely dependent on your definition of "fair". On the one hand, it is perfectly "fair" to let lecturers select their TF's since, after all, they need to work closely with them. On the other hand, if you perceive the lecturers, as a whole, to be biased in any fashion, then their "fairness" is called into question by default.
White Male

Fellowships were even more political than electives. These [positions] were super important to gain access to teaching experience and to create relationships with important educators, and they were treated just as exclusively as anything else- based on how well you play the game, who you know, and how well you’re liked by the powers that be.
Asian American Female

White students are generally given preference over non-white students. Someone in my [M.Arch II] program got [a teaching fellowship] in her first semester while most of us were rejected because we didn't know the system enough. M.Arch I Studio TF positions are most often not given to the most qualified. M.Arch II students come for a shorter [time, yet] they are generally more qualified with a professional undergrad degree and on average 2 years of work experience. 100% of the time I have applied to M.Arch I Studio TF positions, I was rejected and someone less qualified than me was picked.
Asian Female

The courses I TF’d for were ones I enrolled in the previous semester. I was asked by one of those professors to be the TF before a general announcement was made to the school: while this seems unfair, I think it is important for teachers to express a preference for the students they want to work with to make sure the course runs smoothly.
Asian Male

Asking the faculty to submit their decision in 24 hours is unfair, because they would all go for students they already know. For example, for first year studios, the coordinator's students often end up being up chosen, and the students that weren't in the coordinator's studio basically have no chance to be selected.
Asian Female






YSOA's process for awarding summer opportunities (such as BP Internships and Rome Program*) is fair.

White Students

33% Disagree
26% Agree


Non-White Students

29% Disagree
30% Agree


|

White students get the Building Project internship


71%

of the time when they apply.


Non-White students get the Building Project internship


65%

of the time when they apply.


|

Native English Speakers are 60% more likely to get the Building Project internship compared to non-native speakers.



Part V:
Awards and Distinctions
The best student work in a class or studio is nominated for Retrospecta.

White Students

23% Disagree
29% Agree


Non-White Students

39% Disagree
23% Agree


|

White students are nominated


0.67

times per semester.


Non-White students are nominated


0.59

times per semester.


|

White male students are nominated 46% more often than non-White female students.

|

This is hard to say, but I think the professors as individuals do a better job of picking the best work than the faculty as a body.
White Female

The whole Retrospecta selection process was a constant source of feeling shitty about myself/comparing myself to others. It seemed to reward students who are intensely productive over those who are doing original thinking and taking risks. It rewards completion of ideas over the actual quality of those ideas. I guess it's appropriate in a school that wields public praise and humiliation as one of its main "teaching" tools.
White Female

I believe that in the first three semesters many of the best projects were not published because they did not follow the formula of certain professors and the aesthetics and methods they [were] trying to impose.
Latinx Male

I recall only being asked to nominate peer projects in the first studio. I feel that the instructor's opinion shouldn't be the sole opinion that matters.
Asian American Female

It is hard to say what is the "best" work when the criteria we use to evaluate work is inherently based on Eurocentric values, which we and our critics have been taught in schools. The only way to reform this process is to interrogate architectural education and criticism for its implicit biases.
Asian American Male






YSOA's process for giving 2nd year and graduation awards and fellowships is fair.

White Students

33% Disagree
10% Agree


Non-White Students

52% Disagree
15% Agree


|

As a joint degree student with FES, the contrast between [the two schools’] processes for doling out summer awards and fellowships was STARK. At YSoA, the perception of which students are creative/hardworking/original among students is intensely different than it is among the faculty. A lot of this seems to have to do with the quantity of work students can produce without publically struggling/being human in an inhuman environment.

[FES] helps everyone choose outside sources of funding to apply to, and waits until those funding sources have been distributed to then distribute the in-house summer funding as evenly as possible. [Almost] everyone gets a generous amount of summer funding!! It creates an environment where everyone feels valued instead of perpetuating [as is the case in the architecture program,] the stereotype of the lone genius, where only a few special (rich) individuals will be successful.
White Female

Given the significant monetary value of some of those prizes, it would be helpful if there were more clear definitions of their merit or even written statements of why specific students were chosen.
White Female

There are not that many awards for M.Arch II students. The school should give the same amount of awards to this program as they do to M.Arch I (or have all awards be for both). At the end of the day, students from both programs graduate with the same degree: Master in Architecture.
Latinx Male

BIPOC students have to work twice as hard to prove themselves in studio settings [despite] produc[ing] excellent work and are not adequately recognized through YSoA awards and fellowships.
Asian American Female

There was no elaboration of the process of selection for many graduating awards. For some of the fellowships, there are clear guidelines and committees responsible for picking students. This should be implemented for other prizes too.
Asian Male






The Feldman Prize

Feldman Nominees (Gender)

57% of Feldman nominees were men.

Feldman Winners (Gender)

70% of Feldman winners were men.

|

Male students have had a


7.6%

chance of winning.


Female students have had a


4.5%

chance of winning.


|

Male students have been approximately 68% more likely to win the Feldman Prize than female students.

|

Feldman Nominees (Ethnicity)

69% of Feldman nominees were white.

Feldman Winners (Ethnicity)

88% of Feldman winners were white.

|

White students
have had a


7.8%

chance of winning.


Non-White students
have had a


2.9%

chance of winning.


|

White students have won at 2.7 times the rate of non-White nominees.


If a group project is selected, all the members of the group are awarded the prize.

With a single exception, a white student has won the Feldman Prize every year since 2004.



FINAL THOUGHTS


Students reflect on broader themes from their past experiences and what needs to change.

I want to highlight that the burden and free labor of engaging the YSoA community in issues of equity and anti-racism has fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of BIPOC students. In addition to having to overcome systemic racism and injustice, BIPOC students are also shouldering the work of anti-racism at YSoA - white peers and white faculty take note: this work falls on you more than BIPOC.

Additionally, I implore YSoA to hire a full-time and dedicated Student Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This is not an optional budget item; it is a critical full-time position.

Asian American Female

Because of my privilege and social capacity for performing heteronormativity (although I do not identify with a heteronormative position), there have been times when I have been able to break through a wall of critique into a more interesting conversation, where the critics took my ideas seriously. However, I have been in critiques where a different type of conversation was taking place, and heteronormative behavior was not a requisite for being taken seriously. The entire framework of making a thesis, representing it visually, presenting it briefly and then having it critiqued is vulnerable to (or inherently tied to) intersectional [considerations of] gender, race and class power dynamics.

White Student

As a woman interested in bringing other cultural references into my work, I either received very positive or very negative reactions. I cannot count the number of times I was told by a set of male bullies “you don’t think enough like an architect” or “you are not made to be an architect," without providing any other constructive comments as to what that might actually mean to them. I was too stubborn to quit the M.Arch, but I might have given up on the profession if it had not been for Frank Gehry first and foremost, and Deborah Berke too. But the negative comments were internalized and lingered with me for a long time. It’s only after 10 years of practice and managing large scale projects and seeing my relation with clients that I have the confidence to call myself an architect without feeling like an impostor.

MENA Female

I’m not sure how you deal with the lack of diversity in the student body and faculty, but it is not enough to endlessly talk about it. Recognizing an issue and a verbal response is the bare minimum, not the actual solution. I get that these are large complicated and uncomfortable issues with many bureaucratic politics involved, but stating so is also not a response. Given YSOA's published goals, I would expect the admin (and students) to actively be pursuing difficult action because of these 'obstacles.'

Latinx Female

I feel I should note that my answers are going to be skewed. Frankly my traces of Impostor Syndrome tell me that when I'm being treated differently or when someone else is, the reason for it has to do with the work and not the person, and I hope that that is the case. I'm saying this because i know a lot of instances aren't sticking in my mind because I have pushed them out for that reason.

White Female

The economic disparity at Yale is truly extreme. Some classmates hired help to finish their projects and could afford anything they wanted or needed, while others came in with loans from undergrad and left with even more. The faculty have no idea what the cost of Yale is, and this disparity is never mentioned or acknowledged, despite weighing heavily students for their entire tenure at Yale. Second, the way that the planning and development course was taught was an exercise in gleeful gentrification, and included no history of redlining or the ways that urban planning and real estate have enforced segregation and increased the racial wealth gap in this country to the present day.

White Female

Another issue with YSOA’s ingrained classism compounded its problem with having a representative and diverse student body. Its obsession with “pedigree” and educational/regional/network was very exclusionary to students who came from non-Ivy League or non-Ivy League adjacent schools, and I can’t imagine the impact that attitude had on admissions for minority students.

Asian Female

As a ‘brown’ person and non-Ivy-legacy, I felt that my experiences were likely tinted by my skin color and academic pedigree. With few exceptions, I never felt this as an overt challenge to my being able to succeed at the school, or build positive relationships with my peers and faculty. A general sense of being "other" chased me through my three years. Strong negative experiences during Formal Analysis set a rather unfortunate tone to aspects of the remainder of the program. That said, I, on the whole, look back upon my experience as positive and certainly one that has enabled me to pursue avenues not available to me before having my YSoA degree conferred upon me...it is perhaps in spite of the negativity perpetrated by a few individuals, and with credit to the immense support of other faculty, that I can look back on my experience in a positive light.

Asian American Female

I am frustrated by how much the university infantilizes the students. After years of working in the professional world, it is humiliating to be treated like children again. This treatment also has a way of making us feel powerless as students because we internalize it. On another note, I know a lot of students are able to spend their summers furthering their education through travel and exciting experiences, but I am just staying in my apartment trying to spend as little as possible because my source of income (the BP internship) was slashed in half, and my job in the fall (shop monitor) has been effectively cancelled. In fact, I have applied for Pandemic Assistance and Food Stamps to try to make it through the summer without going into credit card debt. The school needs to reckon with the changing demographics and access to outside resources for many students in the school.

White Male




Student Initiatives



Yale NOMAS

Equality in Design

Paprika





The Visibility Team

Liwei Wang

Project Director

Betty Wang

Design & Dev

Iris You

Editor

Araceli Lopez
Christina Zhang
Christine Pan
Jessica Zhou
Lilly Agutu
Pik-Tone Fung
Sarah Kim

Organizers