Archive: Tue Nov 2012

  1. What’s in a Name?

    Leave a Comment

    When I looked up my soon-to-be suitemate Nicola Soekoe ’16 on Facebook before freshman year started, I found her profile brimming with photos from South African beaches and Brazilian clubs. I noticed that she was, strangely, wearing the same top in all of them. It was a plain T-shirt, with the bold lowercase words “i am nicola” emblazoned ostentatiously across it. I felt a pang of anxiety: what kind of person would wear such a flagrantly egocentric shirt in every one of her pictures? I braced myself for a year full of suitemate friction.

    After examining Nicola’s page further, I discovered that she is a participant in the I Am Challenge, an organization started by New Zealander Daniel Cullum five years ago. The Challenge began when Cullum accepted a friend’s dare to wear an “i am dan” shirt every day for a year. He combined the shirt with his desire to become more charitably involved by asking his friends and family to sponsor him for every day he wore the shirt. In a year, he had raised enough money to build a well for a Tanzanian community and had also inspired 25 people to join him with shirts of their own.

    Now there are about 100 Challengers in eight countries — most participants are from New Zealand, but some live in India, Cyprus, and Kuwait, among other places. Current Challengers receive 10 T-shirts in the mail when they sign up. They can choose which color shirts they would like, but have no say in the font of the words: every T-shirt is printed with the same bold, all-lowercase letters. Dan says he chose that font because it looked welcoming, and the lowercase words make the shirt more informal and less “in your face.”

    Maru Filiba ’15, a former participant and current international director for the organization, sees the Challenge as a transition instrument, a “bridge” that connects “kids that have the potential to really be involved” with “organizations that don’t really know how to reach out.” The organization for which Nicola is fundraising is her own recently founded charity With Love from the World, which aims to subsidize quality education for disadvantaged South African youth. She is sending everything to Nontsikelelo Fokazi, a 12-year-old girl she met while coaching debate at a poor primary school in Cape Town. Despite the fact that Ntsiki lives in a shack and attends one of Cape Town’s worst schools, Nicola found her bright and engaged when she met her a few months ago and became determined to send her to a better school. While looking online for a means of funding, she found Maru’s TedxYale talk about the Challenge on YouTube. “I was thinking, it’s a cool idea but I couldn’t do it,” she says. “And then I was like, ‘Wait, I could [do it]. It’s just one year. Anyone can.’ So, I signed up.”

    Nicola is doing the Challenge primarily for her charity and for Ntsiki, but a useful fringe benefit of the shirt is its ability to raise awareness of her cause among the general population: anyone who asks her about her shirt — that is, almost everyone she meets — leaves the conversation knowing something about South Africa’s education crisis.

    For Nancy Xia ’15, who is not participating in the Challenge in order to raise money, these awkward run-ins with people are what make the Challenge valuable. “I grew up on the more introverted side,” she says, “and putting myself out there is kind of a big thing to do.” At first, she found it difficult to put on the shirt in the morning. “It’s the first couple of months that are the hardest, because you’re not really sure how to deal with everyone asking you questions about the shirt,” she says. “You suddenly get a lot more attention than you’re used to. That’s something that’s kind of hard to deal with.” She says wearing the shirt for half a year now has made her feel more prepared in general for unknown social situations. “I’ve totally learned to deal with it now,” she says. “When people start talking to me, I become very happy about it.”

    For most Yalie Challengers, wearing the shirt becomes routine after at most a few months, and the urge to wear other tops diminishes. Things are different for Luifer Schachner ’15 though. Because his nickname, a common Venezuelan amalgam of “Luis” and “Fernando,” is easily misread as “Lucifer,” he is the subject of many harsher stares and questions. He found it a daily challenge to wear the shirt when he was in the American South over the summer, and people there frequently accosted him about why he wore the phrase “i am luifer.”

    While Luifer has persisted because he finds the Challenge valuable in its anti-materialism message, some people don’t: Monica Hannush ’15 began the Challenge last year and stopped after a few months. She said by email that instead of promoting anti- materialism, the Challenge made her buy more accessories to compensate for her unvarying tops. “My clothes are among my most important forms of expression,” she says, “and the Challenge felt like it was stripping me of that expression.” She says that to most people she knows on campus, the Challenge seems “narcissistic” and “self-advertising,” and that “it’s making no impact at Yale,” except in that some people know others’ names without having met them before.

    Monica’s experience speaks to the fact that the Challenge affects people in unpredictable ways, and that it is not for everyone. For Nicola, it is primarily a vehicle for raising funds and awareness; for Luifer, it is an everyday struggle to explain, as well as an anti-materialist statement; for Nancy, it is an agent for personal transformation; but for Monica, it was a discomfort and a hindrance to her personal goals. It works on multiple levels, and, sometimes, does not work at all.

    Despite the Challenge’s potential to fail, most people who start it choose to complete it. Perhaps this is because for almost everyone, no matter why or how they participate in the Challenge, it connects them with things larger than themselves. It is a comfort, as Nicola explains it: “I can constantly feel like I’m not forgetting that part of me that fights,” she says. “Even though I’ve got my own life, I’m still a part of that fight.”

  2. Miller to award eight junior faculty members

    Leave a Comment

    Tonight, Yale College Dean Mary Miller will recognize the eight recipients of the Greer, Heyman and Poorvu prizes, which are awarded annually to recognize the accomplishments of untenured ladder faculty members.

    The Greer Prize is awarded to faculty members in the natural or social sciences for exceptional research or publication, while the Heyman Prize is awarded for outstanding scholarly publication in the humanities. The Poorvu Award recognizes professors who have made significant contributions to interdisciplinary research. Each prize includes a monetary reward to support additional research.

    Read the list of recipients below:

     

    The Arthur Greer Memorial Prize in the Natural or Social Sciences:

    June Gruber, assistant professor of psychology

     

    Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication

    Jacqueline Jung, assistant professor of history of art

    Pauline LeVen, assistant professor of classics

    Birgit Brander Rasmussen, assistant professor of American studies and of ethnicity, race, and migration

    Eliyahu Stern, assistant professor of religious studies

    John Williams, assistant professor of English

     

    Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching

    Paola Bertucci, assistant professor of history of science, history of medicine

    Sarah Demers, assistant professor of physics

  3. New Facebook page improves self-esteem of sauce

    1 Comment

    Ketchup and mustard have finally earned their well-deserved day in the sun, thanks to a new Facebook page — “Yale Condiments” — that solicits compliments for the sauces from well-meaning Yalies.

    In a nod to the popular website “Yale Compliments,” which allows Yalies to submit anonymous compliments about other Yalies, Yale Condiments offers sheepish students a place to express their love for the zesty, all-American glory of barbecue sauce or the exotic allure of a spicy Dijon.

    “Sweet Baby Ray’s, I love your mouthwatering award-winning sauce,” reads one compliment. “I put it on everything. Hell! Sometimes I even put it on celery. When I was in 8th grade, I wrote a speech explaining your beauty.”

    Though the site’s origin is unknown, its mission to “spread joy to the Yale Community” through expressions of admiration for condiments has been well-received by the roughly 60 students who have friended the site. One particularly moving post worships the tangy crunch of Yale Dining’s tartar sauce, while another praises the versatile lovability of the classic Heinz ketchup.

    With the majestic emblem of French’s yellow mustard gracing its crest, Yale Condiments truly lives up to its motto, “Lux et Condiments.” Though the page is still a fledgling in the Facebook world, it stands in a class of its own, pioneering a new medium for condiment appreciation.

  4. Yale favorite Pepe’s to open new place in West Hartford

    Leave a Comment

    After welcoming Shake Shack and preparing to welcome Panera Bread and Chipotle, it seems like the Elm City has decided to give back to the food world: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, or Pepe’s, will be opening a new branch in West Hartford, Conn. in the coming months.

    Pepe’s expects to move into a 3,200-square-foot store in Elmwood Shopping Center, replacing current tenants Puppy Center and Aquarium. Though the restaurant is still negotiating the terms of the contract with the venue’s landlord, officials said they hope to be open for business by the summer.

    “We’ve always liked West Hartford,” said Pepe’s Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Berry to the West Hartford Courant. He added that the West Hartford restaurant would still be cooking using Pepe’s hand-laid brick ovens and recipes.

    Nick Letizio ’13 said he thinks it is “fantastic” for Pepe’s to expand because he knows many people who would be willing to drive long hours to get a taste of its famed pizza.

    “My family drove once from New Hampshire to eat at Pepe’s, so it’s great that they’re giving more people an opportunity to eat there,” Letizio said, adding that pizza is a great export for the Elm City and a source of pride. He added, though, that he thinks the expansion of a brand “invariably dilutes the product” and that the other restaurant will likely not have the same feeling of authenticity evident in the New Haven branch.

    This is not Pepe’s first expansion outside of New Haven. The restaurant also has branches in Fairfield, Manchester, Uncasville, Danbury and Yonkers, N.Y.

     

  5. SINGER: Salovey’s rabbinic legacy

    Leave a Comment

    In 19th-century Europe, a Rabbinic dynasty arose that would change the face of Orthodox Jewry and the face in Woodbridge Hall. The dynasty’s name would become synonymous with both brilliance and leadership — the Soloveitchiks. Since the mid-19th century, each generation of the Soloveitchik family has produced, and continues to produce, distinguished scholars and important spiritual leaders.

    The family traces its origins to Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821), founder of the Volozhin Yeshiva, a new and ambitious model in Jewish education, which effectively centralized and internationalized the Jewish academy. The academy endures as a model for present-day ultra-Orthodox institutions. Chaim Soloveitchik, his great-grandson, went on to become one of the greatest Talmudic scholars of the 19th century, renowned for his highly analytical, innovative and strict teaching of Jewish law, known as the Brisker method. His religious philosophy was profoundly insular, thriving in the isolated Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.

    The most well-known of these great Rabbis was perhaps Chaim Soloveitchik’s grandson, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the former dean of Yeshiva University. His influence remains so immense that in some circles he continues to be referred to as simply “The Rav” (The Rabbi). He holds a place as the intellectual inspiration of the Modern Orthodox movement for his work on Torah Umadda — the synthesis of traditional Jewish law and secular knowledge.

    At the turn of the 20th century, the Soloveitchik family fractured into three. One section of the family became leading proponents of ultra-Orthodox Jewry. They rejected modernity and formed Yeshivas in Israel and the United States which attract the sharpest minds of the ultra-Orthodox world. Another branch embraced Joseph’s ideology of synthesis — balancing the traditional with the modern.

    A third branch of the family took a different approach. They embraced modernity and fully involved themselves in secular culture. They Americanized and changed their name — to Salovey.

    With Peter Salovey’s ascendancy to the helm of Yale, this third branch of the family has reached its moment. They represent the stream of Jewish Americans who involved themselves in contemporary society, as their traditional Jewish observance waned. However, they also represent the historic, brute force of Soloveitchik brainpower in the academy. As Yale’s President-elect, Peter Salovey manifests his part in the familial triad, each branch paving out its fruition in different Jewish approaches to the modern era. The Soloveitchik family represents ultra-Orthodox, modern Orthodox and now, secular intellectual streams.

    In many ways, the family is a microcosm of the American experience and the conflict between modernity and tradition. Yale also exists in a constant tension between the old and the new — the humanities versus the sciences, elitism versus egalitarianism, national versus international, athletic versus intellectual and well-born versus merit. As he inherits these current issues from President Levin, Salovey must determine where on the trajectory he will draw the line between tradition and progress.

    It is certainly no easy task to live up to, filling the shoes of giants like Levin, Brewster, Stiles and Pierson, on the one hand, and Chaim and Joseph Soloveitchik on the other. Salovey represents the confluence of the old and the new, needing to perform a balancing act between heritage and change. As president he can draw upon the Talmudic genius and educational innovation of his namesake, along with an allegiance to the progress of modern psychology and institutional administration.

    Yale should be proud it will have a president bearing this distinguished heritage and welcome the years to come with open arms. President Salovey should face the issues of our time with the merit of intellectual accomplishment he holds, and by the precedent of tradition and heritage that he bears.

    Ahron Singer is a junior in Timothy Dwight College. Contact him at ahron.singer@yale.edu. David Lilienfeld contributed writing.

  6. WANG: The future of Yale education

    Leave a Comment

    What do Harvard, Princeton, MIT and Stanford have that Yale doesn’t? MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. What are MOOCs? They are what the name suggests: free classes offered over the Internet with open enrollment. These classes are generally taught by professors from elite universities and, in principle, can accommodate an unlimited number of students.

    Some might believe Yale already has its own version of MOOCs: Open Yale Courses (OYC). However, the difference between MOOCs and OYC is like the difference between watching “Friday Night Lights” and football on TV with no commentary and one camera angle. Because OYC videos do not take advantage of the online medium, they are, in a word, boring.

    Why should Yale be an accomplice in popularizing MOOCs, which are accused of devaluing an elite education? In reality, we need not fear: MOOCs would not water down Yale. After all, the essence of a Yale education isn’t classes. Ask any student and they’ll tell you the best thing about Yale is the people. Classes are either a close second or, depending on the semester, somewhere indiscernibly low on the list.

    More importantly, most seminars would not adapt well to the Internet — the system works best for large introductory lectures, where there is little student-teacher interaction. And if high school students can get a taste of what Yale has to offer through MOOCs, then these courses can market Yale in places admissions officers rarely recruit.

    Fear from professors is another concern: students won’t go to class if classes are online. This isn’t true. “Game Theory” lectures, for example, are all online, but students consistently show up. Furthermore, is it Yale’s responsibility to make sure students attend lecture? For those who can learn effectively without lecture, more power to them. It is not Yale’s responsibility to ensure students attend class.

    However, it is Yale’s responsibility to educate. Education means providing quality resources like good lab facilities for the sciences and travel funding for the humanities. In the age of the Internet, Yale’s mandate to educate should include appropriate online resources. (No, Classesv2 doesn’t count.) When classes have an online component, we learn better. When I lost track of a “Game Theory” lecture, I watched a clip on OYC filmed from a previous year. I wish I could do this for all lectures. Imagine if we had interactive forums where students could post questions and rate others’ posts, with professors answering the top-rated questions. This method of Q-and-A is much more efficient than clarifying for five students after class, another five during office hours and another 20 over email.

    The impact of MOOCs on the U.S. and the world could be huge. High schoolers can do an independent study by participating in a course if they max out their high school’s curriculum. More online options can allow serious students to avoid the teachers who don’t teach well. At the college level, smaller universities can offer a greater selection of courses through MOOCs. Internationally, anyone with Internet access benefits from free online courses. We can already tell by the demand from abroad that these courses are valuable because so many have chosen to invest their time in them.

    Putting lectures online will also lead to better teaching at Yale. We are at a research institution where the faculty has strong incentive to research and research well. Teach? Not so much. They tell us: don’t hate the player, hate the game. Here is our chance to change the game. The promise of Internet “fame,” as well as a new online format, might incentivize them to experiment with more innovative and engaging teaching methods.

    In case my previous points come across as a harsh indictment of the teaching at Yale, I will clarify: I’ve loved most of my classes, and I don’t think the instruction is, on average, awful. My personal experience is that smaller classes are better taught than larger ones, though there are many examples of exceptional yet exceptionally massive lectures. These excellent lectures need to be integrated with appropriate technology for the benefit of both Yale students and the general public.

    Mother Yale is always encouraging us to become leaders. When it comes to online education, she should follow her own advice. Our goal should not to keep up with other universities, it should be to surpass them in areas of noble intent. What area could be more appropriate than education, the mission Yale was founded to fulfill? Globally, a more just world demands that free quality education should be available to all. Nationally, online education has the potential to save our schools. Locally in New Haven, technology integration will enhance our own learning experiences.

    Rose Wang is a junior in Saybrook College. Contact her at rose.wang@yale.edu .

  7. MORRIS: Funding a fecal flood

    Leave a Comment

    Julian and Charlotte Savage, who live in my home state of North Carolina, are in deep, deep shit, and you and I are unknowingly paying to put them there.

    The story of the elderly couple, whose farmland borders a factory farm “sprayfield” designed to absorb the feces of some 50,000 hogs, was first told by reporter Jeff Tietz in Rolling Stone. Julian’s family farmed their land, raising tobacco, corn, wheat, turkeys and chickens, for a century. Now they try not to leave their house.

    In North Carolina, hogs produce more fecal waste than the state’s 9.6 million people. Yet while human waste must be carefully treated, hog waste is simply poured into pits and sprayed across fields.

    “Manure” doesn’t do justice to the slew of toxic poisons in hog waste lagoons, which include ammonia, methane, hydrogen sulfide, nitrates, heavy metals, carbon dioxide, hundreds of pathogens such as salmonella and cryptosporidium and an increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

    The Savages say they have observed hog waste flow straight into the creek behind their home. The nitrogen in the air keeps the trees in their yard a bright green. Once, during a flood, pig feces 6 inches deep pooled around their house. It took three weeks of digging trenches to get rid of it, but there is still no escaping the smell. Struggling to speak due to his pollution-clogged lungs, Julian cried as he described this to Tietz.

    Federal and state governments should act to halt this corporate pollution, but instead, they are subsidizing it. Factory hog farms receive of a cornucopia of public subsidies. These include grants, cost-share for capital construction, research funding, tax credits and public money to underwrite the industry’s expansion, often in name of “pollution control,” according to Martha Noble, a policy specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

    The Savages represent the thousands of people whose lives, communities and health have been devastated by the pollution caused by these so-called farms. Modern hog farms, known as Confined Area Feeding Operations (CAFOs), consist of giant warehouses full of tens of thousands of hogs that live in unspeakably miserable conditions.

    There, the hogs’ excrement is collected through concrete slats and pooled in “manure lagoons”  — multiple-acre, open-air trenches. Their pernicious fumes suffocate the lungs of neighbors and their chemicals ooze in to the well water, sickening residents, killing fish and fouling some of America’s most precious lands and rivers.

    Not only do Americans subsidize these farms, we also pay for their damage control. Taxpayers fork over more than $7 billion annually to bankroll and clean up after CAFOs and $4.1 billion over a series of years to deal with leaking manure lagoons, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    Instead of being required to pay for the pollution they inflict, the hog farm industry benefits from what is essentially a “pay the polluter” scheme — a consequence of powerful lobbying industries — in which the bigger the polluter, the more likely they are to receive public funding, writes Noble in her essay in “CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories.”

    These animal factories are profitable only because they externalize the costs of controlling waste onto the American public.

    Smaller, sustainable producers, who alternate crops and livestock to sustain soil nutrients and minimize pollution, have to compete with these government-subsidized factory farms for customers. It’s no wonder the handful of ruthless monopolies that dominate the industry, such as Smithfield, just keep expanding.

    This problem is not restricted to rural areas. The incredible disregard for protecting us that our politicians have shown by kowtowing to industry lobbyists is alarming and a betrayal of our public trust.

    We don’t all live next to factory farms, but this problem affects us all. When the government eventually passes the next farm bill, which is currently stuck in Congress, it should be a priority to get us out of it.

     Viveca Morris is a sophomore in Ezra Stiles College. Contact her at viveca.morris@yale.edu .

  8. MAGDZIK: The debts we carry

    Leave a Comment

    Thanksgiving is a fantastic holiday. My uncle makes a mean turkey, and it’s great to unwind by tossing around a football, then retreating inside to eat pie and watch the Patriots do it better. Seriously, three touchdowns in a minute? Good grief. Great television.

    But much more important than food or football is the opportunity Thanksgiving gives us for self-reflection. We rarely truly consider the things, people and events in our lives that deserve appreciation. What should we be grateful for?

    Everyone has his own answers, but we share at least one in common. As I wind down my penultimate semester in this wonderful place, I realize more and more how unbelievably lucky I am — almost all of us are — to have studied at Yale. That

    And so, I am thankful that I always had adequate nutrition growing up. I never had to pray there wouldn’t be a snow day so school would stay open, because I relied on the free or reduced-price lunch program to eat.

    [media-credit id=14887 align=”alignleft” width=”256″][/media-credit]I am thankful that I always felt safe in the school hallways; I never had a friend or relative get shot or stabbed.

    I am thankful that over the summers I could go to summer camp — not top of the line, just whatever my town’s parks-and-rec crew was orchestrating. But television was never my babysitter.

    I am thankful that my parents read to me extensively, that I never had to go to prison to see my father, that I was never neglected by a mother addicted to drugs.

    In short, I am thankful that my educational path was cleared for me in a million little ways that I never fully appreciated at the time, because I never had to confront or grapple with destitution, racism or even bad teachers, for the most part.

    Many of you too, probably had these advantages as well. To a large degree, they made you who you are. Cognitive research demonstrates that early learning matters — that the foundations built in our formative years are highly determinative of our future educational outcomes. When we were kids, it was our parents, our teachers, our communities — the very society around us, in fact — that made us capable of the academic achievement we enjoy today. It was not anything we ever did, and so we should be thankful.

    But being thankful doesn’t simply mean mumbling to yourself before eating turkey around the table once a year. A critical part of being thankful is paying it forward, acknowledging the good deeds that were done to you by doing likewise unto others. President Levin’s last baccalaureate address, which should be required reading for any Yalie, says it well: “Take inspiration … from your own experiences here at Yale, and make your course, and the course of those without the privileges accorded to you, onward and upward.”

    This argument will be repulsive to the types of people who distorted and rejected President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” claim during the campaign. Individualists would like us to believe that each man is responsible for his own lot in life, that by dint of hard work and persistent effort anyone can reach his goals. Unfortunately, this is a naïve ideal, disproven by scientific research on child development. We need to face the reality that we are condemning kids to poor educational outcomes, which lead to demonstrably unhappier lives, based on the arbitrary circumstances of their birth.

    To fix that, we need well-informed executives, legislators, judges, public policy experts and others making good decisions to level unfair playing fields. We need young and enthusiastic students to volunteer in public schools and housing agencies, to work with nonprofits and in think tanks.

    Thankfulness demands we set aside concerns about our private pursuits of health, wealth and happiness to assist those less fortunate, less blessed by the capricious hand of fate than we were. In the oft-quoted words of the Gospel of Luke: “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.”

    This winter break after finals, take some time off from catching up on your favorite TV shows to show just how thankful you really are.

     

    Michael Magdzik is a senior in Berkeley College. His column runs on alternate Tuesdays. Contact him at michael.magdzik@yale.edu .

  9. SOM leads sustainability efforts

    Leave a Comment

    Last month, Rachel Mak SOM ’14 assembled a large display of Styrofoam containers on the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies campus — one example of a broader effort this semester to encourage sustainability among the Environment School, School of Management and Divinity School.

    The three professional schools, which have been cooperating on sustainability initiatives since 2009, have used their physical proximity to each other to organize joint projects alongside independent ones aimed at increasing environmentally friendly practices on their campuses. Environment School and Divinity School students and administrators interviewed said SOM has led the others in its commitment to sustainability, adding that they hope to follow the lead of SOM.

    “We have many students who aspire to become leaders in business or society around the globe, and they are very interested in how sustainability efforts should be integrated in their efforts,” said Richard Bascom, director of finance and administration at SOM.

    Since 2009, SOM has decreased its paper use by 19 percent — a larger number than all other Yale professional schools — through measures that include uploading course materials electronically on Classesv2 and increasing the amount of paperless financial transactions, Bascom said. Each of Yale’s schools has pledged to decrease its paper use by 25 percent by the end of the 2012–’13 academic year.

    Brendan Edgerton SOM ’15, the SOM sustainability strategy planner, said the school has also implemented a “coffee composting program” in its cafeteria in which students compost coffee grinds instead of throwing them away. Last year, the school organized over 20 “zero landfill” events — events at which everything used and consumed is composted or recycled, said Rachel Kagan SOM ’14, a member of the school’s student government and sustainability team. Kagan added that since SOM will move to a new building next year, students are currently discussing ideas for built-in eco-friendly features such as bike parking and student kitchen facilities.

    Melissa Goodall, assistant director of the Yale Office of Sustainability, said the three schools involved in the sustainability efforts collaborate on initiatives when certain environmental issues apply generally, but each school has developed its own projects to increase environmentally friendly practices.

    “Yale is more than a community — it is a set of subcultures — so it is natural that each dean has developed a sustainability vision tailored specifically to the priorities of his school,” she said.

    Edgerton, who is a joint degree student with the Environment School, said SOM and the Environment School are organizing a “Spring Salvage” event next semester, in which students will be able to sell old kitchenware and furniture at low prices instead of throwing them away.

    Divinity School Assistant Sustainability Coordinator Charles Graves DIV ’15 said the school is stepping up its sustainability efforts by launching a new website that suggests environmentally friendly practices to the Divinity School community. In a new initiative spearheaded by Mak, he said, the school purchased eco-friendly food containers from SOM’s environmental groups to be resold to members of the Divinity School community in the school’s dining hall. Graves added that the Divinity School dining hall switched from using paper plates and bowls to reusable utensils earlier this month.

    Meanwhile, students within the Law School have been organizing sustainability projects independently of other professional schools.

    Halley Epstein LAW ’14, who leads the Yale Environmental Law Association at the Law School, said the association has helped encourage the Law School dining hall to start composting and that it also plans to run an educational campaign to raise awareness about composting options on campus. She added that she thinks the Law School community is open to collaborating with other schools on environmental initiatives.

    President of the Graduate and Professional Schools Senate Emily Stoops GRD ’13 said the Senate has not addressed sustainable practices specifically but it “might want to address [them] more in the future.”

  10. Reuters executive discusses U.K. hacking scandal

    Leave a Comment

    In a talk on Monday afternoon, an American businessman tried to set the record straight about last year’s British hacking scandal.

    Stuart Karle, Reuters’ news chief operation officer, discussed the legal issues surrounding the infamous hacking scandal in the United Kingdom to a crowd of roughly 20 at the Yale Law School on Monday. In the 2011 debacle, several reporters from the British tabloid News of the World hacked into the voicemails of a murder victim as well as those of celebrities and politicians. Karle said the hacking occurred in part because U.K. laws unintentionally encourage hacking in investigative reporting.

    “It only mattered that you got the story right,” he said. “How you got it didn’t matter.”

    Karle said that before joining Reuters, he served as a lawyer in London, where he was exposed to lenient British law relating to investigative journalism. For example, he said, a British journalist can win a liability lawsuit by demonstrating that the information obtained proved true. But reporters do not have to explicitly say how they acquired information, he added.

    After the 2011 News of the World scandal broke, the British government began a process of thoroughly reviewing its privacy laws, he said, adding that he thinks the United Kingdom will potentially try to regulate the press more extensively following the lawsuit. Still, he said he believes the British government will struggle to regulate the press’s tactics of acquiring information.

    Karle also suggested that the British press could regulate itself to prevent more illegal activity, but because most press outlets are having difficulty making money, they do not have enough funds to spend on self-regulation.

    In the United States, journalists have weaker incentives to use hacking tactics because the country places a stronger emphasis on honesty as well as fact-based reporting, he said. But even in the United States, he said, newspapers have resorted to hacking to acquire sensitive information. In 1998, two investigative reporters from The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a story — using information gathered from hacked voicemails — revealing accounts of abused workers and pollutants on Chiquita plantations. Though one reporter was fired, he said, the government did not effectively re-examine the role hacking played in investigative journalism.

    Christina Spiesel, a senior research scholar of technology and law at the Law School, said she thinks press outlets should strike a balance between honest reporting methods and providing information to the public.

    “We want members of the press to be honorable and not break the law, but to also tell us something interesting or important,” she said.

    William New, director and editor in chief of the Switzerland-based publication Intellectual Property Watch, said he believes Karle spoke from a biased American perspective when he criticized the United Kingdom’s approach to reporting.

    David Lamb LAW ’13 said that because the United States and the United Kingdom have similar legal systems, changes in U.K. law resulting from the News of the World scandal will impact the “way the U.S. looks at privacy either academically or legally.”

    Karle is an adjunct professor at the New York University Law School and a visiting professor at the Colombia Journalism School.

  11. Art Trade expands visual arts scene

    Leave a Comment

    Undergraduates bored by the blank walls of their dorm rooms will soon have a new decorating option from Art Trade, Yale’s newest undergraduate art group.

    Art Trade, which began in September, seeks to involve the student body in Yale’s vibrant art scene, co-president and artist Katie White ’13 said. This weekend, Art Trade will host its debut event, titled Art Rent. A three-day exhibition of student artwork, Art Rent differs from traditional art exhibitions by allowing gallery-goers to take art home with them for a semester, White said.

    “I felt like there [were] a lot of other students who weren’t necessary involved in the arts, who wanted a way to be involved in the arts,” said Dana Glaser ’13, co-president of Art Trade. “We wanted it to be about the artists getting their work out and using Art Trade as a forum to reach a wider audience.”

    In addition to engaging students who are not currently involved in Yale’s visual arts scene, Glaser said she hopes to provide undergraduate artists with a venue to display their work outside of the classroom. White said that while artists and art professors see students’ work in class, students who are not majors rarely witness the full breadth of an art student’s portfolio. Although the School of Art hosts an exhibit of undergraduate work every semester, students are often unable to display as much work as they would like.

    Glaser and White said that Art Rent was inspired by Jonathan Edwards College’s annual art rental event, at which JE auctions its art to students who are then able to hang the college’s paintings, posters and prints in their rooms for a small fee. But while JE’s art rental provides professional works of art to students, the Art Trade team solicited requests for artwork from undergraduates, receiving over 50 pieces from 16 different artists.

    “You can engage with something by going to a normal exhibition, but when you can leave with a piece of art and have it in your room, you’re experiencing it in a much different way,” said Andrew Nelson ’13, the team’s graphic designer.

    Art Rent will take place over the course of three days beginning on Friday night. Glaser said 30 pieces will be auctioned on Friday and that anyone who does not win something can return on Saturday or Sunday to select pieces from the remaining 23 works on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. Winners pay only a $10 deposit to keep the artwork until the end of the year in addition to a $5 nonrefundable framing fee. After students return their rented art in May, the artists will take their work back from the organization.

    Contributing artist Autumn Von Plinsky ’13 said she feels that Art Rent will provide a much-needed way for undergraduate artists to share their work. While she admitted she is nervous about her art getting damaged, the team has taken measures to protect work with glass framing and a security deposit.

    “Since it is a new program, we’re not really going to know how it will turn out until after it turns out,” Von Plinksy said.

    Event organizers said they expect all 53 pieces to be rented by students and have heard positive feedback around campus since announcing the event Nov. 14. Four students not involved in Art Trade said that although they were aware of Art Rent, going to the auction will not be a priority come Friday.

    Art Trade hopes to make Art Rent a regular event and to develop a permanent collection of donated works from student artists to rent out each semester, White said, adding that the group also intends on collaborating with other arts organizations on campus.

    Art Rent will begin on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Maya’s Room in Silliman College.

  12. Legislature could consider ‘right-to-die’ bill

    Leave a Comment

    Connecticut’s legislature may reconsider its ban on physician-assisted suicide if a new bill is introduced in next year’s legislative session.

    The so-called “right-to-die” bill, modeled after existing statutes in Oregon and Washington, would allow terminally-ill patients to request prescriptions of lethal medication from doctors. Despite a series of failed advocacy efforts over the past two decades to legalize the practice in the state, legislators said this week that the bill may be considered when Connecticut’s legislature reconvenes in January. But even with some legislative support, momentum to promote such a bill has been slow thus far.

    “Most people don’t want to deal with that subject — to some degree you’re talking about whether the government should be involved in the right to die,” said State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, a vice-chairman of the judiciary committee whose district includes New Haven. “You bring in discussion questions about religious beliefs, and legislative bodies try to stay away from bills that bring in all the more controversial issues.”

    Oregon and Washington have “death with dignity” laws that formally legalize physician-assisted suicide, and Montana has legalized it through legal precedent. Holder-Winfield said that he has been contacted about potential legislation but does not know for sure that the issue will be considered during the upcoming legislative session. Pat O’Neil, press secretary for Connecticut House Republican Leader Larry Cafero, said he is unsure how much energy or time any proponents have devoted to the issue so far.

    Similar versions of the bill were previously introduced in 1995 and 1997, but the proposals were rejected both times by the legislature. Most recently, it failed to pass the judiciary committee in 2009.

    A Nov. 6 ballot question in Massachusetts that would have approved right-to-die legislation was rejected by a margin of just 2 percent, which O’Neal said may have given advocates in Connecticut the confidence to pursue the bill. However, the fate of such a bill in the state legislature is still dubious, as the issue has not yet re-entered the realm of public debate.

    “It’s not an issue that’s been taken up by the Republican caucus and these kind of issues don’t usually have a caucus position,” O’Neal said. “I don’t know what would be the prevailing sentiment for or against this.”

    Advocacy for the bill may also be overshadowed by more immediate issues. O’Neal said that he has not heard much about a right-to-die bill, adding that the state legislature has been “immersed in discussing the state’s fiscal issues.”

    Connecticut’s Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities has criticized the practice of assisted suicide, arguing that people struggling with disabilities or depression may preemptively opt for suicide.

    “During such times people may feel like their lives are not worth living — a view that, unfortunately, can find support in a world that values strength, speed, youthful appearance, hard-driving, fast-paced achievement and material success, while unconsciously devaluing those who are not possessed of those characteristics,” OPAPD Executive Director Jim McGaughey said in a 2011 press release.

    Connecticut and 38 other states prohibit assisted suicide by law, and five other states have banned it by common law.