Yale should have Columbus Day off

To the Editor:

In reading the guest column of Vidhya Prabhakaran ’03 (“Yale’s recognition of MLK Day the right choice,” 1/22), I discovered that Yale had finally decided to cancel classes in commemoration of the late, great Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Were I still an undergraduate, I would have likely spent such a “Day of Jubilee” playing Mario Kart drunk, calling blue phones, exploring steam tunnels, or simply lifting weights at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

Suffice it to say, I applaud Yale’s long overdue move. But as a young alumnus who will eventually be a significant benefactor of the University, I would implore the administration to call classes off on Columbus Day, too.

Why, you ask?

Simply put, without Christopher Columbus’ having discovered America, there would have been no King to tend to our country’s fractured race relations in the 1960s.

I came to Yale in 1995. The scene: GESO and the dining hall workers go on strike. Workers of the world unite! Flex dollars are few and far between. Other campus activists toss their hats into the fray. A subset of these iconoclasts seek to bring down Columbus with their weapon of choice: chalk.

The ultimate nadir in campus discourse occurs sometime in the fall of 1995 when in front of the Sterling Memorial Library students chalk the following words: “Columbus eats at Dakota J.’s.”

Dakota J.’s is a now defunct wings joint on Broadway that had the great misfortune of accepting Flex dollars and violating numerous health codes.

To these scurrilous individuals — and to the current Yale administration — I say: “Don’t hate.”

Give Columbus his due. To borrow terminology from philosophy, specifically the study of logic, Christopher Columbus is a necessary and sufficient condition for Martin Luther King Jr.

Therefore, Columbus Day should be a necessary and sufficient condition for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Samuel Glass ’99

January 22, 2002

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