Archive: Tue Nov 2011

  1. No panic for Panico

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    When the Yale football team needs the extra points to win, it looks to placekicker Philippe Panico ’13 to blast a field goal and put the Bulldogs ahead.

    So far, Panico’s kicks have given the Elis the pivotal edge needed to clinch victories. Last season, his 19-yard field goal as the clock ran out propelled Yale 23–20 over Dartmouth. Two weeks ago, in the middle of a snowstorm, Panico produced a 38-yard field goal to help the Bulldogs edge Columbia 16–13. Then last Saturday, he kicked a pair of field goals to help Yale clinch a 33–24 victory against Princeton. Now, with The Game coming up this weekend, Panico said he is more excited than ever.

    “I really want to beat [Harvard], more than anything in the world,” he said. “You always know [a kick] is going to be a big momentum shifter.”

    Panico was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he began his athletic career playing soccer. He grew up on a farm and said he often kicked a soccer ball against a wall because there were not many other children around and his brother would not always play with him. He moved to Boston when he was eight, and at age 13, Panico decided to take on football and gave up competitive soccer because he said he liked the sport better. In the spring, Panico enjoyed baseball and golf and played on Yale’s varsity golf team during his freshman year.

    Although he has played other positions on the football field throughout his youth, Panico now comes to the gridiron only to take kicks. Panico said although his plays are made without the help of his teammates, ultimately, the kicks affect the team’s overall momentum.

    The position comes with a different mindset, since the kicker does not see as much field time as other positions.

    “It’s definitely a little weird because sometimes I feel like an injured guy… standing on the sidelines talking to people,” he said. “But it makes you value your specific plays when they come around. And when that time comes, you get really excited. I love being out there.”

    Panico said because his plays have so much to do with the outcome of the game, he needs to take advantage of every opportunity.

    Wide receiver Chris Smith ’13 said Panico is one of the most serious players on the team, and his dedication and hard work have paid off.

    While fun, the responsibility to perform consistently is a heavy one, Panico said.

    “The worst part of missing my kick is letting my teammates down,” he said. “In golf, if you miss a shot, you’re mad at yourself. But with football, we work so hard and I only get so many plays during the game. We all work so hard that if I miss one, it feels like I’m really letting them down, and wasting an opportunity.”

    Panico said the kicker’s role is much more mental than physical, and the key to success is coming into the kick with confidence. When he is feeling sure of himself, Panico said he has never missed a kick. To go into each kick with focus and intensity, Panico said he buckles the chin straps on his helmet to mentally separate being on and off the field.

    Panico said he also runs through the kick in his mind before his foot hits the leather.

    “Right as I’m about to kick, Ill look up … and find a point that I really want to hit in the distance. I’ll count my steps out loud, saying like ‘one, two, three,’ before I kick … instead of thinking like ‘oh shoot, I hope I don’t miss this kick,’” he said.

    Panico said that since freshman year, he has found his niche in the team and that his teammates and coaches trust him to execute his play.

    Both teammates interviewed said they have noticed Panico’s commitment to his position and to the team.

    “Philippe has an ability to become ultra focused,” defensive end Charles Holmes ’13 said. “Almost instantaneously, he is able to flip a switch and be dialed in to what he needs to get done … He is committed to the team, the coaching staff and alumni, and has made sacrifices to advance himself as a player and the team as a collective.”

    Taking the field at the heart of football history, Panico said he is proud to play for Yale. The tradition began with Walter Camp, captain and coach of Yale’s first football squad, who established the rules of the sport. Panico said it is inspiring to see how this Eli tradition has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

    “I love saying I play football at Yale,” he said. “Football was invented here … it’s a Yale game.

  2. CROSS COUNTRY | Elis finish strong

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    The women’s cross country dashed to the best finish its members have ever experienced at regional championships this weekend, while the men matched last year’s performance at the same race.

    Both men and women battled blustery conditions at their final race of the season at the NCAA Regional Championships. The women secured their highest finish in six years — sixth in a field of 36 teams — and the men’s team ended up 11th out of 33 to match last year’s position. Performances by Liana Epstein ’14 and Elizabeth Marvin ’13 earned them spots on the All-Northeast team.

    “We came in knowing what we needed to do, and everyone stepped up,” said Anne Lovelace ’12, captain of the women’s team.

    Liana Epstein ’14 led the women’s team with an 11th place finish overall. Her time of 21:05.2 on the 6k course was her personal best, matching her time from September’s Paul Short Invitational exactly. Two juniors followed close behind Epstein ­— Elizabeth Marvin ’13 and Nihal Kayali ’13 finished 17th and 32nd respectively.

    Epstein said the team’s excellent finish was thanks to the strength the team had built over the season.

    “I think we overall had a phenomenal day,” Epstein said. “We’ve been progressing all season, building on momentum every race. Everyone had a good day.”

    At the end of her first season as head coach of the women’s team, Amy Gosztyla said she was extremely proud of the strides the team made over last year’s 11th place finish at Regionals. She said that before the race she estimated that with a strong performance, the team could finish anywhere between fourth and eighth place, and she added that she was happy with sixth.

    On the men’s side, first year head coach Paul Harkins said he was a bit disappointed with the team’s 11th-place finish given that the team had been improving in other races over how it had done in the past. Last month, the team placed sixth at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships — Yale’s highest standing in five years.

    Kevin Lunn ’13 logged a team best 32:58.2 on the 10,000-meter course for a 68th place finished over all. But he said he thought both he and the rest of the team could have run a better race.

    “I thought the race was okay,” Lunn said. “But on the whole, we were a little disappointed about how we did as a team. I don’t think we ran up to our potential.”

    Captain Nathan Richards ’12 added that because the team was seeded 10th going into regionals, the 11th-place finish “wasn’t what we wanted it to be.”

    Even though neither team qualified for NCAA National Championships, members of both squads reflected positively on the season and expressed hope for the upcoming years.

    Lovelace said this season was the best she had experienced during her four years at Yale.

    “The team gets together really well, and there is a level of work ethic that I haven’t seen come together for the whole team in a while,” Lovelace said. “It’s an exciting time to be part of Yale cross country.”

    Lovelace added that the team has a lot of young talent. While the women’s team is not graduating any top five scorers, the men’s team will lose two, seniors Richards and Julian Sheinbaum ’12. Nevertheless, Harkins said he is optimistic for the future of the men’s team and hopes to finish in the top five at Regionals next fall.

    But Lunn said he would be pleased if the men’s team improved the same amount as the women’s team had this year and finished sixth, rather than 11th at next year’s Regionals.

    “The women’s team is the team we want to match,” Lunn said. “We are looking to improve in that same way in terms of consistency.”

    The meet was held at the Audubon Golf Course in Buffalo, N.Y.

    Correction: Aug. 29

    An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of men’s cross country head coach Paul Harkins.

  3. LETTER: The philosophy of military ethics

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    Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a fascinating talk about the complexities of fighting terrorism. Professor Asa Kasher, a philosopher from Tel Aviv University who helped write the Israeli Defense Force’s Code of Ethics, spoke on Israel’s protection of human dignity when fighting terrorists. He described the seven-step process behind a targeted killing of a terrorist. From the initial authorization for a targeted killing operation to its execution, the Israeli military has designed a system of checks and balances to ensure that the human dignity of soldiers, bystanders, and even the terrorists is protected. The IDF uses more precautionary tactics — such as dropping warning leaflets and making phone calls to bystanders — than any other military force.

    Professor Kasher portrayed that while fighting terrorists is indeed a messy undertaking, Israel takes this task seriously because it is a core of what Israel — or any other democracy — must do to fulfill its obligation to protect the lives of its citizens.

    Byron Edwards

    Nov. 14

    The writer is a junior in Silliman College.

  4. LETTER: Slifka’s disgraced guest

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    The Slifka Center disgraced itself by presenting a talk by Israeli philopsher Asa Kasher. According to Ha’aretz columnist Amos Harel, Israeli soldiers tactics in Gaza in the winter attack of 2008-09 were based in part on “ethical theory” developed by Kasher.

    Respected human rights organizations regard Israel’s Cast Lead attack as replete with human rights abuses. For instance, Amnesty International said, “ Much of the destruction was wanton and resulted from direct attacks on civilian objects as well as indiscriminate attacks.”

    Operation Cast Lead killed 300 children and hundreds of other civilians. Four children of the Abu Halima family were killed by a white phospohrus shell. Thousands of buildings were bombed, including a U.S. school. There were no battles at all — mainly relentless bombing.

    Kasher said in Ha’aretz that there is “no justification for endangering the lives of soldiers to avoid the killing of civilians who live in the vicinity of terrorists.” Following this cruel “ethical theory,” Israel does anything and everything to make sure soldiers are not endangered. This indeed was the guide followed in Gaza, and hundreds of Palestinian civilians paid the price. Shame on the Slifka Center. Kasher belongs before the bar, not in a lecture hall.

    Stanley Heller

    Nov. 13

    The writer is a 1969 graduate of Branford College.

  5. LETTER: Make the Mass accessible

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    Travis Heine’s recent column argued that the upcoming changes to the Roman Catholic mass are for the better.

    I’m not so sure — as a Roman Catholic, I think the changes sound pretty horrid.

    The author says some of the current phrases used are opaque — well, I don’t know how you hope to fix this supposed problem by throwing the word “consubstantial” into the mix. I, and I think most others, can understand what “one in being” means — consubstantial, not so much. Sure, we can learn it, but it does take away from the community, conversational feel of mass — and the sense that mass is a celebration, not a solemn intoning of choice Biblical phrases.

    And I don’t know how our Church of the not-so-great-attendance-rates is ever going to attract more congregants by reverting back to ever narrower versions of mass. The purpose of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council which gave us today’s mass was to make the mass more accessible and open — this seems like a step backward.

    Colin Ross

    Nov. 10

    The writer is a senior in Berkeley College and a staff columnist for the News.

  6. W. HOCKEY | Bulldogs take down Union in OT

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    Two very different games took place at Ingalls Rink this weekend as the women’s hockey team played Union and RPI on Friday and Saturday respectively.

    Friday’s game saw the Bulldogs (1-8-0, ECAC 1-5-0) fight from behind to even the scoreboard against the Dutchwomen (3-9-1, ECAC 1-4-1) and win their first game of the season 3-2 in overtime.

    And it was no doubt an emotionally charged win: former team member Mandi Schwartz’s ’11 parents were in the stands this weekend, watching their first Bulldog games since Schwartz passed away from cancer in April.

    However, the Elis’ momentum did not last through Saturday’s game during which they fell progressively farther behind, eventually losing 0-5 to the Engineers (3-7-4, ECAC 1-3-2).

    The two games were similar stories through the first 20 minutes of play: both games started with a disappointing first period for the Bulldogs, bringing them into the second down 1-0. On Friday, Union scored on one of its four power plays and took 14 shots on goal in contrast to Yale’s one; on Saturday, RPI scored on one of its two power plays and took 20 shots, whereas Yale took only seven.

    But from the end of the first periods the two plots diverged.

    “I’m so proud of how the team responded in the second and third periods,” head coach Joakim Flygh said after Friday’s game.

    The Elis battled back with a high-energy second period on Friday and set forward Jackie Raines ’14 scored three minutes into play. The team played cleaner hockey, with only one penalty, and took 15 shots on goal, stifling Union to six and diminishing the shot disparity left over from the first period. The Dutchwomen managed to make good on one of those shots, bringing the game into the third period with the Bulldogs down 1-2.

    Just one minute into the third period, team captain and forward Aleca Hughes ’12 came out strong and tied the game at two-all. A consistent effort from both teams kept the scoreboard constant through the remainder of the period, and the game went into overtime.

    “When you’re down in the third period and your leader steps up and scores, that’s exactly what you want,” Flygh said, adding that Hughes’ goal rallied the team.

    During the brief intermission before the overtime, Flygh said he told the team, “Let’s not settle, let’s battle for a win.”

    And battle it did. Union took a penalty 30 seconds into the five-minute overtime period, giving forward Stephanie Mock ’15 the opportunity to set Raines up for her second goal of the game and fourth of the season.

    “We were not going to accept anything less than a win,” goalie Genny Ladiges ’12 said. “We didn’t play three periods, but we made a comeback. It was nice to see that we had that in us.” Ladiges made 29 saves in the game.

    Yale’s win against Union was a well-earned battle, as the team had many disadvantages. Four of the Bulldogs’ top defensemen are still out with injuries, which meant they had to play with half as many defenders as Union. Forward Ashley Dunbar ’14 stepped back to play defense and line-ups had to be shifted.

    However, the team could not overcome its difficulties on Saturday afternoon: The flat first period led into a flatter second, with Yale taking two penalties and only three shots on goal. RPI was stronger offensively, taking 14 shots and scoring two goals.

    “It was an emotional win for us [on Friday], and we couldn’t regroup,” Flygh said after Saturday’s loss. “We just didn’t have that same effort as Friday.”

    Ladiges agreed that the team’s mental game was a main factor in the discrepancy between the games. She added that on Saturday the team could not rally from behind after the first period and that it was not playing “desperate hockey” like it was against Union.

    By the third period, already up 3-0, the Engineers scored on a penalty shot and again on a power play. The Bulldogs never scored and were outshot 15-52. Ladiges played a strong game, however, making 47 saves.

    Despite Saturday’s disappointing results, Friday got the Bulldogs out of their seven game losing streak, allowing them to make a mark in the Eastern College Athletic Conference standings with a win.

    Hughes and Ladiges said that Rick and Carol Schwartz’s presence provided inspiration for the team, and perhaps brought it luck on Friday night.

    “It’s a huge reminder of what we play for,” Hughes said after Friday’s game. “We play for Mandi, and it was very special to have [her parents] here.”

    The Bulldogs will continue their season with back-to-back non-conference games at Mercyhurst on Friday and Saturday.

  7. Lighting cures the ‘winter blues’

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    A new Yale invention may brighten the lives of those suffering from the “winter blues.”

    Paul Desan MED ’93, director of the Winter Depression Research Clinic at the Yale School of Medicine, recently submitted an design for a new version of a light box — one of the most popular treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder — to the Food and Drug Administration for review. If approved, the device would be the first-ever light box to be federally recognized as a treatment for the illness, greatly improving the light box market for consumers by increasing both transparency and competition, Desan said. One student with SAD interviewed said she would welcome the device for its convenience and efficiency.

    SAD is a highly prevalent, annually occurring mood disorder whose symptoms include depression and low energy. Scientists believe the symptoms are a result of a shift in the patient’s sleep cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm. While approximately 11 million Americans will suffer from SAD at some point during one of the four seasons, most individuals feel its effects from October through March, causing it to be known colloquially as the “winter blues.”

    In all people, decreased exposure to sunlight during the winter triggers increased levels of melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. In SAD patients, this increase in melatonin causes the “winter blues.” For our distant ancestors, “winter blues” was an adaptive advantage, similar to hibernation, Desan said, because the scarcity of food during the winter forced people to conserve energy.

    “It is hard to escape the implication that [SAD] is a biological reflex,” Desan said. “Now, of course, it is not adaptive.”

    Desan, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, co-founded the Winter Depression Research Clinic approximately 11 years ago to study the body’s instinct to slow down during the winter months. His primary goal has been to develop a more effective and convenient light box treatment for SAD.

    Traditional light boxes are large lamps that use very bright light to simulate exposure to sunlight. Many patients suffering from SAD choose to sit in front of the light box for 30 minutes each morning and each evening, tricking the body into producing melatonin levels as if the mornings came earlier and the nights later.

    The light box is an attractive treatment because of the relatively few associated hazards compared to its benefits, said Gerard Sanacora, director of the Yale Depression Research Program.

    “As a physician, we look at treatment with a risk-benefit approach,” Sanacora said. “With the light box, the ratio is very high in its favor.”

    Despite the effectiveness of the current light box model, which Desan said “works like a charm,” he sees room for improvement in terms of convenience and efficiency. Not only are the boxes inconvenient because of their size and need for a fixed power supply, they are inefficient because they produce a broad spectrum of light instead of targeted wavelengths of light that are most effective at countering SAD, Desan said.

    After 10 years of design, in partnership with manufacturers, Desan has proposed a new light box that is smaller, more portable and battery-powered. Its targeted light spectrum emissions give it twice the impact as previous light boxes in the same amount of time.

    Desan said he is not discouraged by the fact that the FDA has never approved this type of device before. He attributed past FDA decisions to the failure of past research groups to present enough evidence to convince the FDA of their device’s effectiveness.

    FDA approval would greatly improve the quality of treatment for individuals suffering from SAD by highlighting those products with legitimate clinical backing, an important role given the wide range of light boxes confronting consumers and physicians, Desan said. Federal recognition would also make it illegal for other companies to market light boxes as treating SAD, giving Desan’s light box a “monopoly status” until the FDA approves another product. Desan, who has no financial stake in the product itself, said this status would spur other companies to innovate products for FDA approval, thereby helping consumers in the long run.

    A Yale freshman with SAD, who wished to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of her illness, said that she would benefit in multiple ways from FDA approval of Desan’s device. She said that searching for the proper device in an unregulated market is confusing, and FDA approval would provide a stamp of legitimacy to certain products. She added that the new light box would be more convenient than her current one, and she would likely purchase it if it received FDA approval.

    “There is hassle associated with my current [light box] being this big and having to plug in,” she said. “If I could lie on my back and use it, that would be great.”

    John Krystal MED ’84, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, said he shares the belief that convenience is an important factor for a treatment to be successful.

    “If its not handy, people will not use it,” he said.

    Desan said that he expects the FDA to come to a verdict within the next half year.

  8. Alcohol reinstated at college tailgates

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    Administrators lifted a ban on residential colleges serving alcohol at this year’s Harvard-Yale game tailgates Monday evening.

    [ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”3035″ ]

    In a Sunday night email to the News, Council of Masters chair Frank Keil wrote that residential college tailgates were prohibited from serving alcohol at this year’s game — a change from 2010, when colleges could provide alcohol to those of age. Though Yale College Council President Brandon Levin ’13 said he was unaware of the shift in tailgate regulations as of Sunday night, Levin spent Monday in meetings with members of the administration after being informed of the stricter tailgate alcohol policy by the News. Following a day of negotiations between administrators and YCC representatives, Keil informed the YCC Monday evening that college tailgates would be allowed to serve alcohol to those of legal drinking age.

    Despite the administration’s Monday night announcement that college tailgates could serve alcohol, Keil said the statement was a “clarification” rather than a policy reversal. The modified regulation specifies that specially colored wristbands will distinguish students of age and that students ages 21 and older will be permitted to consume alcohol in the tailgate area. Colleges are not allowed to put University funds toward purchasing alcohol, he added.

    “I believe the current statement reflects what was intended all along,” Keil wrote in a Monday night email to the News.

    The YCC and residential college councils were never told by administrators that college tailgates would be banned from serving alcohol, Levin said, adding that some college masters and deans had already approved plans to provide alcohol at tailgates.

    Levin said he was concerned that if alcohol were banned at college tailgates, students would either pregame the event more heavily or seek alcohol from less-monitored organizations, such as fraternities. He added that administrators were receptive to those concerns.

    “I think the [significance] for the administrators was complying with the law and ensuring that students who can legally drink can do so in a safe environment at tailgates,” Levin said.

    The debate over alcohol regulations for the Harvard-Yale game came on the heels of a number of new tailgate guidelines that were announced in September. Under these rules, registered tailgates may serve alcohol from registered kegs to student of legal drinking age identified by wristbands. Though student groups had expressed concern over the banning of U-Hauls outlined in the September revisions, Natalie Gonzalez, associate director for varsity sports administration and chair of the committee that reviewed tailgate regulations, added Monday that U-Hauls will be permitted at the Harvard-Yale tailgate.

    While some believed the tailgating rules issued in September were adopted specifically to address issues that arise at the Harvard-Yale game, Gonzalez said the committee had discussed revising the rules for the past few years, and added that they will continue to be enforced during next year’s football season.

    Nathaniel Zelinsky ’13, co-chair of the Davenport College Student Activities Committee, said he thought banning alcohol at college tailgates would increase reckless drinking. Davenport will provide alcohol as long as it remains in compliance with rules issued by the college’s master, Zelinsky said.

    Even if allowed, not all colleges are planning to provide alcohol. College council members from Jonathan Edwards, Calhoun and Pierson said their tailgates have historically not served alcohol because complications can arise with underage students.

    Jared Middleman ’13, a member of the Pierson College SAC, said Pierson never serves alcohol at any of its tailgates.

    “Things get more complicated quickly once you introduce options,” Middleman said.

    Ten students interviewed Monday — while alcohol was still barred from college tailgates ­— said they did not think their Game experience would significantly suffer under the stricter regulations, but all also expressed concern about the new policy leading to more under-the-table drinking.

    Bo Reynolds ’13 said he suspected alcohol would appear at tailgates even if the administration did not allow colleges to serve it.

    “I don’t think they’ll be able to enforce it,” he said.

    Tailgating will end at halftime Saturday.

  9. ANDINO: Treat Sex Week with prudence

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    Aristotle describes prudence as the virtue of practical reason. It is something akin to not only correctly identifying the right thing to do in a particular situation, but also then actually doing what we know to be best.

    To be prudent has unfortunately taken on a new meaning. We use it to describe being cautious. In the case of seeing an injustice being committed, we might keep our mouths shut because it might be “imprudent” to put your neck out on the line. But in fact, speaking up for justice and doing the right thing is prudent in the true sense of the word. It is the logical conclusion of believing in justice — to act on it. It is here that I express my frustration with the conventional wisdom on campus and President Levin. I instead commend an ally in the cause of opposing Sex Week: the Marshall Committee.

    The Marshall Committee, with its recommendation that Sex Week be dissolved, makes a bold but reasonable statement: A culture that celebrates casual sex “leaves young adults uncertain of how to address problematic behavior, develop their own standards of conduct,” and, in the worst cases, can often “blur boundaries of what consent means.” Sex Week at Yale promotes a culture that celebrates casual sex and thereby compounds the aforementioned ills. Therefore, out of concern for students on campus, Sex Week should be disbanded. It is a sound argument with prudent and practical action as its conclusion.

    President Levin, in what I respectfully criticize as a desire to take a prudent (read: cautious) stance, endorsed the committee’s less effective recommendations — expanding campus bureaucracies and student training programs — and took an ambiguous stance on its more controversial Sex Week decision. But the recommendation to expand freshman orientation programs on consent out into sophomore year and institute mandatory councils for leaders of campus organizations does not solve the problem. It is a safe and uncontroversial solution that everybody will applaud because it is an easy, concrete step. But, again, this is prudent in the cautious sense. A real change in culture will not come from an ever increasing schedule of uninspiring information sessions.

    I cannot help but believe that President Rihard Levin found the committee’s case against Sex Week compelling. It is why he recommended that Sex Week propose a new schedule before it be permitted to proceed in 2012. And yet, in a prudent (read: cautious) desire not to stir more controversy, he cited as an excuse the ambiguous reasons of corporate sponsorship and students’ “private inurement” — which really had nothing to do with the topic — rather than the degrading and dehumanizing message of Sex Week.

    Yesterday, on this page, Nathaniel Zelinsky asserted that he supports the right of Sex Week to exist, even if he finds it distasteful. What I find most surprising about Zelinsky’s stance is its inconsistency with the type of conservatism I would expect to find in the head of a student organization named after William F. Buckley.

    Conservatism implies that there is something worth conserving. It implies the existence of truth and the acknowledgment that a just and truly free society is not that in which a value-neutral public sphere unwittingly allows for mass indoctrination to nihilism but in which citizens are given the opportunity to discover a deeper meaning to their lives than robotic gratification.

    Sexuality and conservatism meet in the institution of the family, an institution whose importance to society Bill Buckley understood well. The question of the family cannot be separated from the question of sexuality. When commitment and faithfulness dissolve, so does the family, and so does a free society. When individuals become isolated agents seeking their own good without consideration for those close to them, the individual and his community of loved ones is no longer the permanent and identifiable building block of society.

    When the family is questionable and dissolvable, there is no option but that the state becomes the central unifying institution for individuals. Rather than government existing for the good and protection of individuals and their family units, individuals exist for the sake of the state. We can forget about even defending free speech at all if family-centered society is subsumed into a disturbing state-centered dystopia. That a moral society is a prerequisite for a healthy society is a basic tenet of conservative thought and is the justification for both social and economic conservatism.

    Therefore, with all due respect to Zelinsky, I cannot help but think that his unwillingness to take a truly conservative stance against Sex Week is imprudent in the true sense. Indeed, it is the purpose of a university to foster those values that are conducive to a free society: The liberal arts are the studies worthy of a free person. The very reason we have laws is that we believe a greater truth is preserved when we limit other freedoms, and the university has the particular role of forming good citizens, which implies fostering respect for human beings.

    I ask all parties involved to remember the virtue of prudence. If we desire to see true change we must be honest about the root of the problems, our attitudes towards sexuality, and fundamentally change them by setting the right example and sending the right message about harmful campus activities.

    Eduardo Andino is a junior in Trumbull College and a co-founder of Undergraduates for a Better Yale College. Contact him at eduardo.andino@yale.edu.

  10. GERALD: For God, for country, and for Yale football

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    People often ask me why I chose to go to Yale, and I invariably reply that it was something I couldn’t afford not to do. By the age of 17, I had grown tired of uncertainties — of not knowing whether my parents would be around, or whether my friends would make it out of our neighborhood, or whether I’d have the chance to do something of note in my short time on earth.

    Then Yale came along. For the first time in my life, I had encountered something that seemed like a sure thing. Six years later, Yale still hasn’t let me down — largely because of the wisdom and bonds that I gained as a man of Yale football.

    A lot has changed about the program since Walter Camp roamed the sidelines. Looking at the new Kenney Center two Novembers ago, my teammates and I couldn’t help but feel a bit small next to Heisman trophies, nationally ranked teams and Hall of Famers. So it’s understandable for many to long for olden days of yore and be unsure of the program’s relevance in the 21st century.

    But for a young man like me who considered Yale a miracle as much as an education, I can assure you that our program is more relevant now than ever before. There are very few places in America today where a boy can be given everything he needs to become the best man he can be. Yale Football is one of those places. It may no longer share the national spotlight, but what is left is raw devotion, an understanding of sacrifice and a chance to live the dream of college football with 100 other men who will lead this world in the years to come.

    Yale Football made my story possible and put me in a position to always have a chance — in part because I learned the lessons from the game of football that motivate me in my current work and aspirations. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “In any republic courage is a prime necessity for the average citizen if he is to be a good citizen; and he needs physical courage no less than moral courage, the courage that dares as well as the courage that endures, the courage that will fight valiantly alike against the foes of the soul and the foes of the body. Athletics are good … because they tend to develop such courage.”

    At every step of my journey through Yale, there was a Yale football alumnus who helped me develop the courage that Roosevelt endorsed. Pat Ruwe ’83 mended my body so I could play for an Ivy League Championship. Greg Hall ’77 coached me through the job market and told more outrageous stories than I can remember. Kurt Schmoke ’71 and Jack Ford ’72 counseled me during the Rhodes Scholarship process.

    So when faced with the decision to fly to Houston for The Interview or ride to Boston for The Game, I agonized far more than most people could understand. On one hand, I was in the position to become one of 32 winners of the most prestigious scholarship on the planet. On the other hand, I had one more chance to be taken seriously while playing a game in tight pants.

    But looking past the prestige, I could see quite clearly that the men in Boston were the driving force behind anything that I could do to impress a committee in Houston. They were the ones with whom I had bled, sweat and cried. They were the ones who looked out for me when I was a little country bumpkin from Texas. They were the ones who would be at my wedding and my funeral — and would torture my children with stories of football glory and disappointment in between. They, and those who came before them, were my family.

    This, I’m sure, is the realization Pat Witt ’12 came to as he withdrew his application for the Rhodes and decided to take the field for one last time as a man of Yale Football.

    In the end, I was able to split the difference — I missed the last few days of football practice and the second day of the Rhodes interview. I flew to Texas on a Thursday night with the words of my teammate, Brandt Hollander ’08, in my heart: “If you lose, no one will ever remember; if you win, no one will ever forget.”

    About 30 hours later, I was whisked from the airport in Newark to a hotel in Boston — arriving with a cold at 5 a.m. — with the words of my faculty advisor, then-Dean Penny Laurans, in my head: “Casey, humans can endure anything over the course of 48 hours.”

    Within two hours, — 7 a.m. Boston time — I woke up to stale waffles and the voice of coach Tony Reno in my ear: “Case, let’s go; it’s time to play.” No pomp. No circumstance. Just game time.

    Game time wasn’t kind to us that day, the 125th time Yale met Harvard on the gridiron. The score (10-0, Cantabs) was as bitter as the weather, and my classmates and I — members of one of the most successful classes in decades — walked off the field in tears and shock that it was all over.

    Shortly thereafter, in a scene I thought only happened in movies, I opened a text on my phone that informed me that I had not, in fact, been one of the 32 winners of the Rhodes. There I was, a celebrated student-athlete who had been convinced that life was all about winning, and now I was a loser — a double loser, at that.

    But now I know what I won that day. I gained the peace of knowing that failure is the price we sometimes pay for daring greatly. I gained the faith to believe that the value of the people in our lives will far outstrip the value of the lines on our resume.

    In the end, you were right, Brandt. People don’t forget when you win. But they also don’t forget when you lose — just ask the reporters who have reached out to me over the past few weeks to hear my opinion on what Witt should do now that he was faced with the same decision I had to make. So if they’re going to remember either way, you might as well win big or lose big so the story will be somewhat entertaining.

    You were right, too, Penny. Humans can endure anything over the course of 48 hours. Faulkner would add to Penny’s mantra: Not only can we endure — we can prevail. The life Yale Football allowed me to lead proved this to be correct.

    Most of all, you were right, coach Reno. It’s game time. Always.

    So as the Bulldogs prepare for yet another contest against our misled brethren to the North — with their quarterback by their side, no less — let us all remember the battles that we each must fight, the only battles that are worth fighting in the first place: the ones about something bigger than ourselves.

    Only those battles allow us to fulfill our commitment to God, to Country, and to Yale.

    Casey Gerald is a 2009 graduate of Morse College.

  11. POLLOCK: Keep Sex Week, kill the ads

    8 Comments

    The Advisory Committee on Campus Climate’s finding that Sex Week at Yale, in the eyes of current students and alumni, is “highly problematic” probably should not surprise us. Admittedly, I’m grouchy, but I have yet to find a student group, syllabus, administration policy or aspect of our campus’ culture or climate that is not in some way highly problematic. Maybe problematic is a problematic word because it obviates the need to identify particular problems with things, as in the Advisory Committee’s report.

    How easy indeed would it be to read the one paragraph about SWAY in the report as a squeamish knee jerk, a weird crutch in an otherwise excellent and exciting set of recommendations. Rather than justify their call for a ban to SWAY, the authors do little more than play with implied — and problematic! — associations between things like “titillating displays, ‘adult’ film stars” and a disrespectful or irresponsible sexual culture. Part of the purpose of SWAY is to de-stigmatize pornography, titillating displays included, and to break down some of the taboos surrounding sex for the purpose of making sexual culture freer, more open to critique and improvement, and thus better. Regardless of one’s view of such a project — and some fair objections to that project have appeared in these pages over the past few weeks — the report overlooks the value of frankly airing out those aspects of sexuality which otherwise remain, so to speak, closeted and obscure.

    For that reason, we can cautiously commend President Richard Levin’s response to the part of the report about Sex Week, provided that he and Dean Mary Miller are actually serious about keeping the event around without sterilizing it into a state of irrelevance. Levin’s call to reduce the event’s commercialism, as the report suggests, sounds fair. It is not clear where the claim that Sex Week contributes to the “private inurement of student organizers” comes from, but I remember no small amount of corporatism — best embodied in the Pure Romance sponsorship. Pure Romance sells sex toys and advertised a lot at SWAY events in 2010.

    I wonder to what extent commercial presence at Sex Week deadens its value. Sex toys can do wonderful things, but only when approached as potentially useful tools, not vital commodities — faddish fetishes — for real sex. Corporate sponsorship turns Sex Week, and, by extension, the ways of thinking about sex it puts forward, into just another set of iThings. It cheapens sex, which is a potent force. Maybe this year’s organizers could emphasize the startling diversity of sexual practices out there, which include many without consumer or popular recognition. Perhaps professors of literature or art history, who spend an awful lot of time thinking about what is, in the final analysis, high-brow porn, could deliver lectures related to sex or the erotic.

    After all, SWAY is innovative and valuable. Sure, sessions on how to perform better oral sex come dangerously close to making sex a kind of competition, if not a commodity all its own, with normalized, peer-reviewed (ick!) expectations and practices. Panels with adult film stars seem almost to take for granted that the adult film industry is not exploitative and harmful to men and women alike — which may be a very bad assumption.

    But broadening the range of behavior that is legitimate to talk about in Yale classrooms is good, if only because it has the effect of multiplying legitimate-seeming options available to curious students who want to learn. The ultimate goal should be to ensure that folks do not need culture’s seal of approval to authorize the behavior they want to practice. Until we get there, Sex Week, even at its earthiest, is vital to our campus.

    Do the provocative Sex Week posters we’ve seen around lately, which ask us frankly about our sex habits, alienate some people? Certainly. Is this harmful? Yes. Nonetheless, on a campus where folks have sex, often experience sex through the smoky lens of sense-numbing alcohol and face a sometimes quietist discourse around sex which prevents healthy exploration, that frankness is not just provocative posturing, but also good for us.

    Let us hope Levin is not just hedging. Throw out the commercialism, but keep Sex Week. And keep it as racy and piquant as ever.

    Ryan Pollock is a junior in Calhoun College. Contact him at ryan.pollock@yale.edu.

  12. YCC working to reform Credit/D/Fail

    11 Comments

    The Yale College Council is pushing for undergraduates to have an extra three weeks in the semester to decide whether to take classes under the Credit/D/Fail option.

    The YCC submitted a proposal to Yale College Dean Mary Miller last week that would allow students to elect to take courses Credit/D/Fail up to five weeks into the semester — three weeks later than the current deadline at the end of shopping period. YCC President Brandon Levin ’13 said the proposed reform would improve how students allocate the four Credit/D/Fail classes they can count toward graduation, but would not alter the system so drastically that it produced grade inflation — a concern professors had raised in the past.

    “We want to give students three more weeks after shopping period so they can see what [a] class is actually like,” Josh Rubin ’14, a member of the YCC’s Academics Committee, said. “Sections don’t start until after shopping period, so oftentimes it’s hard for a student to evaluate the difficulty of a class until after shopping period is over.”

    Dean of Undergraduate Education Joseph Gordon said the Credit/D/Fail system was created to “encourage experimentation” by students in their academics.

    Currently, students can switch a class from Credit/D/Fail to a letter grade until two weeks after midterm period, which was Nov. 4 this semester. Students cannot change a course from a letter grade to Credit/D/Fail after submitting their schedules during shopping period. The latest YCC proposal follows a number of failed attempts to revise the current Credit/D/Fail policy over the past few years. In 2008, the YCC submitted a proposal that would have allowed students to convert classes to Credit/D/Fail after viewing their final grades, and in 2010, another proposal sought to let students fulfill distributional requirements with courses taken as Credit/D/Fail. Both proposals ultimately failed.

    Levin said he thinks the most recent YCC proposal asks for less substantial changes to the Credit/D/Fail system than previous proposals have, making this one more likely to pass.

    “We’ve done our best to not bite off more than we can chew,” he said. “We think this proposal has a good chance of happening.”

    So far, Levin said the proposal has received support not only from students but also from faculty. In the past, Levin said professors have feared that significantly extending the deadline to decide about Credit/D/Fail would lead to grade inflation. He said allowing students to opt to take a course Credit/D/Fail five weeks into the semester would prevent grade inflation that might have occurred if students had until the end of the semester to choose not to receive a letter grade.

    Setting the deadline five weeks into the semester allows students to make decisions after testing out sections and turning in minor course assignments, but before receiving grades on major evaluations such as midterms, Levin added.

    For the proposal to take effect, it would first have to be recommended by the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing and then pass a faculty vote, Dean of Academic Affairs Mark Schenker, who chairs the committee, said in a Monday email. He added that the committee has not yet received the YCC’s proposal.

    Levin said he submitted the proposal to Miller in the hope that she would pass it along to the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing with her support. Miller said Monday that she has not yet formed an opinion about the proposal.

    Nine of 12 students interviewed said they support the YCC’s proposed reform, while two were neutral and one was against it.

    “I think that would be a good idea,” Isis Sikainga ’14 said. “A lot of students take classes and realize later on that they should’ve taken them Credit/D/Fail.”

    Christina Marmol ’12 said that if students had more time to decide whether to take a class Credit/D/Fail, they would be less likely to feel compelled to drop courses that became unmanageable shortly after shopping period ended.

    But Shir Levkowitz ’12 said he did not support the reform because he thinks the current Credit/D/Fail policy already gives students an adequate chance to choose whether to take a course for a grade.

    “Sometimes you take a class that’s too hard and you have to deal with it, and gauge it in the beginning of the semester,” Levkowitz said.

    Seven percent of course enrollments were ultimately registered as Credit/D/Fail during the 2009-’10 academic year.