To the Editor:

I don’t have the leisure of time to write a longer response, but I was offended by Aaron Mitchell’s letter yesterday (“The unions? They can look for sympathy elsewhere,” 2/13) and couldn’t just let it go.

I graduated from a state university because even though my parents offered to take additional jobs and do whatever it took so I could attend the reputable school where I was accepted, I decided I couldn’t put them through that. They work hard enough as it is.

I am a C&T employee here at Yale and I make far less than the purported average salary. Still carrying considerable debt from my education and residing in the expensive Northeast, I live “hand-to-mouth,” as Mitchell put it. I can’t figure out why I shouldn’t be expecting more from an employer that is richer than some small countries.

Most of the benefits here are great, though I must point out to the uninitiated that while the Yale homebuyer program sounds ideal, it is generally limited to properties in rather unsavory locations. When you leave school and face fiscal responsibility it is a rather sobering experience. The prices of homes in Connecticut (especially compared to “rural North Carolina”) are frightful and I can’t even imagine how I would be able to raise a family, though it’s something I want to do one day. Three years out of college and I’m trying to figure out how the heck I can afford graduate school and pay the rent at the same time.

I don’t own a lot of nice clothes. My car is old and on it’s way out. I go to a town pool instead of paying for a gym membership. In other words, I live pretty darned frugally. To be honest, I’m pretty ambivalent about what’s going on with the unions, in view of what’s going on in the world. But I think if Yale has the means to offer its employees more, it should.

What’s wrong with wanting a more financially secure life? Isn’t that why people go to Yale in the first place? Though many might agree that the best things in life are free, I’m pretty certain the student body majority wouldn’t really be satisfied living hand-to-mouth.

Abigail Armistead

February 13, 2003

The writer is a Yale administrative assistant.