A decade in the News

The past decade of controversy saw Yalies make national news with encounters from the appalling to the absurd. Theft, fraud and presidents popularly charged with both have put the Yale name into headlines. scene invites you to take a trip through the past 10 years atop the outrage of millions — the expenditures of Yale’s staggering endowment in public dispute.

2000: Fake Yale grad student sentenced to three-year probation and fines

Securing herself a place in the grand tradition of counterfeit Yalies, Tonica Jenkins forged her way to Yale graduate school for biological and biomedical science in 1997. Three years later, she pled guilty, but not without dodging police searches at Yale for her arrest and for her own hearing in 1998. Unlike her lawful undergraduate counterparts at Yale, Jenkins must have been unaware of The Fundamental Rule of Biomedical Anything: you just can’t fake it.

2001: George W. Bush ’68 sworn in as fifth U.S. president holding a Yale degree

With his inauguration, Bush brought Yale the kind of glory that comes second only to his demolition of Princeton’s goal post and his subsequent arrest following the 1967 Yale-Princeton football game. Undergraduates could sleep a bit more soundly knowing that their blue-blooded, incoherent classmates could lead a nation. Many students, however, stayed up late nights lamenting the connotations their diploma would forever hold.

2002: Yale accuses Princeton of hacking into admissions Web site; involves FBI

After casually mentioning the ease with which he could break into Yale’s online applicant database at an Ivy League deans’ conference, then Princeton Dean of Admissions Stephen LeMenager, found his claims under investigation. The security breaches were confirmed to have originated in the Princeton admissions office, where at least 11 personal files of prospective Yalies were viewed in violation of student confidentiality. Princeton placed LeMenager on administrative leave, but after calling in the FBI, Yale simply accepted blame for lax security and declined to press charges. Yale trampled Princeton at the annual Princeton-Yale game the following year in an act of vigilante justice.

2003: Yale impostor Jenkins (see 2000) faces another trial for attempted murder

Fraud and evasion barely satisfied Tonica Jenkins’s appetite for injustice. After a foiled entrepreneurial venture (a veritable family affair in which undercover police caught Jenkins and her mother purchasing 22 pounds of cocaine), the ambitious ex-Bulldog took her depravity to new heights. She kidnapped a doppelganger pedestrian whose identity she intended to appropriate after torching the woman’s body.

2004: Non-profit Security on Campus demands Department of Education investigation of rape and assault at Yale

The national watch-dog group Security on Campus, Inc. alerted the Department of Education in an August 2004 press release that Yale had consistently failed to provide comprehensive reports of sexual assault and rape. This potential violation of the Jeanne Cleary Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act poised Yale for enormous fines and loss of federal student financial aid. Yale promised to revise its policies and the charges were dropped. But the issue surfaced again in 2007 when the Sexual Harassment and Assault Resources & Education center opened, yet another instance of controversies at Yale rarely expiring as quickly as they emerge.

2005: Yale-Peru battle over Inca artifacts begins with threat of lawsuit

When Yale graduate, history professor and amateur anthropologist Hiram Bingham III 1898 bestowed hundreds of the Inca relics he excavated in 1912 at Machu Picchu upon his alma mater, he had some inkling of the controversy his gift might stir — Bingham wrote to Yale in 1916, urging that the artifacts be returned to Peru. But he could not have anticipated the threats and eventual lawsuit Peru would launch against Yale University in pursuit of those divisive artifacts including bones and ceramic shards. Today, the suit remains unresolved, and Bingham’s finds remain tucked away at Yale’s Peabody Museum. Peru is still footing a Washington law firm bill as Yale stays staunchly opposed to returning the relics ­— a move which, without any concrete legal motivation, could set dangerous precedent for artifacts preserved outside their initial ancient contexts.

2006: After ten years, Yalies finally convince University to stock residential bathrooms with soap

Emerging from their greatest victory since the two-ply toilet paper battle of the mid-1990s, Yale bathrooms finally earned the right to soap. YCC members and independent students petitioned administrators for a decade until the approximately $100,000 per year investment was made in student sanitation. If only the swine flu had come sooner …

2007: Three Yale students charged with arson over flag-burning

An American flag that once hung on the porch of a private Chapel Street residence lay smoldering as New Haven police detained Said Hyder Akbar ’07 and Nikolaos Angelopoulos ’10 and Farhad Anklesaria ’10. Akbar, though born in Pakistan, was the only U.S. citizen, while the other two, held citizenship in Greece and Great Britain respectively. Akbar took on the experience in good humor, allegedly wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase “I am Famous in Afghanistan” at the time of his arrest.

2008: Aliza Shvarts ’08 stirs debate and disgust with “abortion art”

Initial questions of sanity morphed into doubts of authenticity during the odd saga of Aliza Shvarts ’08, an art major whose senior project purportedly involved numerous self-induced abortions. Yale officials said they had scientifically confirmed that Shvarts’s studio contained no traces of miscarriage-produced blood, which she claimed to have included in her installation there. Regardless of the facts, Shvarts triggered media mayhem. And then showed her work at a Tate Modern Museum exhibition in London the next fall. The hype proved its weight in … blood?

2009: Annie Le GRD’13 murdered

Yalies endured a decade of comparatively trivial controversies to arrive at this, the most unsettling and magnetic episode yet. The macabre tragedy bred ravenous curiosity as bloody clothing emerged from a lab ceiling and “Raymond Clark III” formed an ominous whisper across thousands of lips nationwide. Due to hyperactive news coverage, Annie Le’s yet unsolved murder has raised further media attention in the form of objections — to Ivy exceptionalism or, as Slate Magazine media critic Jack Shafer notoriously said, the reality that “three murders at Midwestern college equal one murder at Harvard or Yale.” Such a claim strikes the crux of controversy at Yale: it’s controversy at a steep national premium, one constantly growing into the next decade.


  • Helen Li

    This is very bad English from the first paragraph onwards. Absolutely unbelievable. This writer has no sense of sentence contruction, curious diction, and makes cringing attempts at “humour.” This is an insult to the intelligence of Yale Daily News readers.

  • Anon

    I’m more surprised by some of the picks. The “one per year” thing obviously requires some tough choices, but flag-burning over Aleksy Vayner? Peru over Hashemi? Does anybody remember that car full of athletes? Good times.

  • @ Helen Li

    This commenter has no sense of parallel structure?

  • Turk

    You know Yale, you are wearing me down, but I’m not going to give up. Because we are right and you are wrong. This is our home that you are trying to destroy. Sure, you own the land. I appreciate that, and I respect the concept of private property more than you know. But what you are proposing to do affects more than just your land.

    You’ve heard all the good reasons from destroying headwater streams to killing birds and already stressed bat populations. You’ve heard the testimony about noise and infrasound affects on neighbors’ homes. You’ve certainly heard about property devaluation. Which of course you don’t believe because somebody said it just isn’t true. But you know in your mind that you wouldn’t want to live there either. I wonder though have you been paying attention to the very clear but low key statements from “Independent System Operators” across the world that integrating this power creates “serious” and “real” issues on the grid. I ask you, did you read in the 2005 Wind Report from Eon.Net (Germany’s Grid Operator) (on page 4 I believe) that it would take 48,000 installed MW of wind to shut down one 2,000 MW traditional powerplant. You know, where I come from, that’s about 24,000 wind turbines to shut down one 2,000 MW Coal Plant. 24,000 wind turbines is a mighty big @#$%*&! number! Seriously. Think on that a bit. Just how much wilderness are we talking about?

    For me, these are the things and represent pretty much all I need to know in deciding whether or not wind is good for the people of America. But you bean counters and brainwashed folks at the Yale Endowment don’t want to hear about this stuff do you!? You just know that there is a profit to be made on this scam and now is the time to cash in on it.

    So you just throw that rock into the lake and don’t worry about the Tsunami that it creates for those that live around it. Don’t worry about the incredible financial cost to the rest of an already overburdened America so you can get your share of the drippings from the gravy train. And I’m sure you certainly won’t worry about the fact that Wind Turbines in reality aren’t shutting down any coal plants or any other kind of plant for that matter. The “actual” carbon offset is nearly a complete lie, but enough people believe it…so who cares……Right?

    I say again today, Shame on Yale! And I ask the students of Yale to look beyond the “industry” sponsored lies from the American Wind Energy Association and PLEASE come to our rescue in Maine and Ira, Vermont. Tell Yale to back off from this admittedly “lucrative”, but also very real “fleecing” of America, destruction of life, and way of life out here…where the little people live. Yale won’t listen to me, but they might listen to you.