From: Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86
To: Frances Beinecke ’71 FOR ’74
I’ve been telling everyone who asks that I’m not interested in campaigning for the Corporation seat for which I was nominated. So I’m getting rather concerned about the negative campaign that’s being waged against my opponent, the Rev. W. David Lee.
Frankly, I don’t want the negativity that’s coming from you, Sam Chauncy and Rick Levin to reflect badly on me. As it is now, it looks like the Yale establishment is running scared. I don’t want my name dragged into the mud.
Frances, I’ve known you a long time. I’m on the board of your nonprofit, the Natural Resources Defense Council. It was to honor women like you — in the first class of Yale College to graduate women — that I built the Women’s Table. It was partially because I wanted to follow in your footsteps that I agreed to stand for the Corporation.
But some of what you, Sam and Rick have been saying is simply absurd.
Take the advertisement that you and a bunch of rich friends took out in March’s Yale Alumni Magazine. You accused Lee of representing “special interests,” because he received money from one part of the Yale community in order to reach out to Yale alumni.
Are you really claiming that when you were on the Corporation, you didn’t represent a special interest? Since when are the Beineckes not a special interest when it comes to Yale? And surely to the extent that Lee represents the unions, John Pepper represents the “special interest” of Proctor and Gamble.
Or take the column that Henry “Sam” Chauncy wrote for the Yale Daily News. It was titled, “Maya Lin for alumni trustee.” But it had almost nothing about me. It was all about why people shouldn’t vote for Lee.
I hope that you and Sam and Rick all think that I’m a good candidate in and of myself. After all, I was the only person that the nominating committee thought was qualified to run this year. Surely there are reasons to vote for me other than as a vote against Lee.
I read in the Hartford Courant that Rick Levin spoke to an audience in California warning alumni of Lee’s campaigning. Sure he’s saying that the attacks aren’t on Lee himself, but rather on the way he’s “campaigning.” In the same article, the Yale administration’s spokeswoman, Helaine Klasky, described Rick’s fears about this campaign: “If you follow it through, you could have some wealthy alumni trying to buy seats.”
Let’s be honest here. Wealthy alumni already buy seats on the Corporation. How did Holcombe Green get on the board? Or you, Frances? You’re rich, and you gave a lot of money to Yale. Wasn’t that buying a seat on the Corporation? The only difference is that Lee in fact is not a wealthy alumnus.
Frances, I’m afraid that this is going to backfire on us. If all we’re doing to help me win is attack Lee, it’s going to look like there’s no reason to vote for me.
So far, the most positive thing that’s been said about me is from Lee himself, who argued that I should be nominated again should he win. Can’t my supporters be as positive?
Jacob Remes is a senior from Saybrook College. His columns appear on alternate Wednesdays.