Hirst: Time to end co-education

Have you subverted the patriarchy this ovester?

Consider this question as we celebrate the 40th year of women at Yale. In reading the News’ series on coeducation that ran over five days last week, two things popped out. First, I was impressed by the impact of Yale’s female graduates, at both the local and international levels, and struck by how few of these graduates have left a negative impact on the world, a claim that Yale’s male graduates cannot make.

Second, I was reminded of the tensions that existed between men and women in the first years of co-education. Have these tensions subsided? Sure. As our society becomes more egalitarian, these gender differences, like old soldiers, fade away. But some remnants of tension still exist.

It is with this in mind that, despite my strong alpha-male personality, I have chosen to posit that Yale should return to its pre-coeducation roots — but this time it should only admit women.

Yalies could be concerned that this policy might mean that our University would educate fewer of the nation’s elite, because of the metaphorical “glass ceiling,” which keeps women from holding more than a set percentage of important positions in our society. If true, the exclusion of men from Yale would mean that the number of Yalies in important positions would necessarily decrease if no men were to hold a Yale degree. Fortunately, Hillary Clinton LAW ’73, as she reminded us so many times, put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling; it can’t last very long with this type of damage. With the ceiling almost gone, Yale will not educate a smaller proportion of the nation’s elite.

A look at some of Yale’s male undergraduates first prompted this entirely serious and practical idea.

The cotton gin, invented by Eli Whitney 1792, strengthened the economic foundation of slavery; we can thank John C. Calhoun 1804 for the doctrine of nullification and a defense of slavery as a “positive good,” leading to the Civil War; city planner Robert Moses 1909 contributed to the ruin of the South Bronx and the exodus of the Giants and Dodgers baseball teams to the West Coast; CNN’s David Gergen ’63 has never had an original thought.

Montgomery Burns ’14 is evil; Morgan Stanley, the offspring of Harold Stanley 1908, declined to interview me for an analyst position; FedEx, founded by Frederick Smith ’66, ships me the weekly issue of The Nation; Howard Dean ’71 was head of the Democratic National Committee.

Perhaps most auspiciously, Yale educated the 43rd president of the United States (and his vice president, for a year), who, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter — whose Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance ’39 LAW ’42, succeeded in allowing the Iranians to overthrow the shah and the Russians to invade Afghanistan — was the worst president in my parents’ lifetime.

Some may not consider Dick Cheney a Yale man, since he never graduated, but I don’t think that’s fair. Ethics classes are difficult for any student, let alone one without a heart or soul. Another failed student, Taliban PR man Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, is one of our proud attendees.

Even adjusting for the number of female compared to male graduates, no such society of shame exists for Yale’s females. The only female graduate in some disrepute is Jodie Foster ’85 (if you’ve seen Flightplan, you understand).

A comparison of senators John Kerry ’66 and Amy Klobuchar ’82 demonstrates the gap between Yale graduates in the same profession. Kerry ran the worst presidential campaign in my lifetime; Klobuchar has never lost an election. Kerry is often l-o-n-g-w-i-n-d-e-d; Klobuchar is known for her successful politicking behing the scenes. Kerry graduated Yale with a “gentleman’s C”; Klobuchar was an associate editor of the law review at the University of Chicago. These two stand for many others of their respective genders who have, respectively, shamed and honored our dear Yale.

I don’t think Yale should have never allowed men to attend. But now is the right time to make a switch. All we need now is this generation’s Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86 ART ’87 to design the Men’s Table, which, starting in 2010, ought be a giant, upright “0” situated where the SigEp house had once been. This is, I believe, a modest proposal.

Adam Lior Hirst is a senior in Branford College.


  • The Contrarian

    Well, I’ve certainly run across women just as cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled as any of the men named above.

  • Yale ’10

    Hirst seems to have missed a key lesson from Swift’s original modest proposal: satires must satire. I wish there was an italicize option here, to emphasize that sentence. Satires must actually have an object, a target, if you will, to satire.

    And so the question is: what exactly is Hirst satirizing?

    If he is satirizing the movement towards coeducation, Hirst has chosen a rather bizarre way of doing so, and, moreover, has chosen a rather bizarre object for his satire. For satire is generally intended to expose the ridiculousness of something by pushing it to its extremes. Satire highlights or exposes the the flaws of an argument via witty exaggeration.

    Hirst’s piece has no argument of which it is a satire of, and is, despite it’s best efforts, not witty.

  • LOL

    Bravo. “have you subverted the patriarchy this ovester?”

  • Goldie ’08

    What is your point? I assume this is satire, even though it is in no way close to being the slightest bit humorous. But again, I don’t see what you’re trying to say? Are you being critical of reminist anti-male rhetoric? I really don’t get it.

  • Y ’10

    If this is supposed to be witty then it failed miserably.

  • Alum

    If you don’t find this funny, your probably enjoy Will Ferrell movies.

  • Y ’11

    In complete agreement with commenter number 2. Although I am certain Hirst is mocking *something* I am left with no idea what the target was or what action Hirst would like to move me to take.

  • What’s the Point?

    I really don’t get what the point of this column is. Is this supposed to be mocking something, or is Hirst really a self-hating misandrous female supremacist?

    Also, what’s reminist? Is that some obscure strand of feminism that I’ve never heard of?

  • Branford 2010

    Add me to the list of who don’t get the point of this article. And sometimes pointless humor can be fun too, but this fails at even being remotely funny.

    As an aside, Amy Klobuchar rocks.

  • ’09

    Humor and irony can be used to celebrate — not just to denigrate — and that’s just what Mr. Hirst is doing. And he’s doing it very successfully. For the cynical or just plain obtuse among you, let me translate. The author is giving us this implicit litotes: coeducation certainly hasn’t been a bad thing.

  • Matthew Klein ’09

    I think you forget how Aliza Shvartz fits into all of this….

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