After all these years, giving New Haven the credit it deserves

To the Editor:

It is unfortunate that Philip Rucker’s misleading appraisal of life in New Haven for women professors and female spouses was featured so prominently (“In tenure gap, location’s the catch,” 1/31). His bleak picture of this city as a “one-horse town” is sadly out of date. While many of his criticisms of the city before the mid-80s are accurate, the assets of this city have come to the fore since then and make it one of the more desirable places to live, outside of New York and Boston (he only refers to Boston). Even more alarming was his statement that tenure at Yale is harder to achieve for a “female professor who has a family to care for.” Does he think that only females have responsibility to care for a family?

Not only has the housing situation improved enormously in town, but there are many desirable options in the surrounding towns as well, with easy access to the city. While the overall profile of New Haven’s public schools may be discouraging, there are several good public schools in the city and its suburbs, and a variety of excellent private schools. Opportunities for young people’s art, music, and athletic activities abound, notably at the Neighborhood Music School, as well as theaters and museums that have numbers of special programs for children. The Calvin Hill and Edith B. Jackson Day Care Centers enjoy a national reputation among early childhood specialists. Of course, the need outpaces the spaces and trained teachers available.

New Haven may have once been a neglected backyard to Yale, but today this city, thanks in part to its many partnerships with the University, is a decided asset for anyone who comes to study or work here.

Virginia Wilkinson

February 2, 2003

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