We students can’t take this outrage lying down. We need to take it sitting down, enjoying a nice beverage from the cozily overpriced snack bar in the new CCL. We need to sip our sustainable beverage, lean back in our sleek newly-installed chair and give Yale a piece of our mind. “You’re not the boss of us,” we need to say. “We’re not going to change the name we call a building just because the name of the building has changed.”
Personally, I resent the fact that anyone thinks he can buy my love with a measly $13 million donation to the University. If the Bass family wants to buy my love, they should purchase it from me directly. Not only that, but with 5,275 undergraduates, 6,083 graduate students and 3,384 faculty members, that comes to less than $882 per CCL user, which is well below standard market value.
A change like this is also bound to wreak confusion upon the Yale student body. Ours is an institution founded on acronyms: WLH, HGS, LC, UCS, DUH, TF, T&A… I could go on and on (or as we Yalies like to put it, “ICGOAO”). It’s unlikely that Yalies would understand the concept of referring to a building by its full name. And even if they did, why should they spend precious seconds in their overscheduled days saying “Bass” instead of the infinitely shorter “CCL”?
While the donation may sound like a lot of money — and if you’ve been keeping up with the Ocean’s 11 movies, it doesn’t — this fails to factor in the costs of re-labeling all the books previously marked “CCL” with “Bass,” which they are actually going to do. Assuming a cost of $1 per book for each of the library’s 167,000 books, and drawing upon my formidable QR skills, I calculate the total cost to be $167,000. Think of the better ways we could’ve spent that money: leasing apartments for the homeless people I always trip over going to class; giving full scholarships to nearly four applicants; buying 167,000 Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers from Wendy’s; or even bringing a passable band to campus for Spring Fling.
The value of a name like Cross Campus is that it’s descriptive. It’s why we call the law school “The Law School,” the hall of graduate studies “The Hall of Graduate Studies” and the school dump “Morse College.” Without a name like this, students will begin the year lost and expecting to spend their time studying in an airy, pleasant fishery rather than an underground labyrinth inhabited by the Minotaur Asterion.
And let us not forget tradition: Our fathers, our fathers’ fathers and our fathers’ younger brothers have known this library as CCL. How dare we tread upon the memory of CCL in the haphazard manner in which hundreds of students every day tread upon CCL?
All bad things in life are monosyllabic. Think about it: war, death, butt, hell, stab. Keep in mind that “sex” is short for sexual intercourse. Do we really want the our library to join the infamous club that boasts dweeb, shiv, and my TA Jeff among its fiendish membership?
There’s also the problem of pronunciation. Is it pronounced “base,” like the instrument? Or “bass,” like the fish and the person whom the library is named after? I certainly couldn’t tell you, because whenever I read a familiar word I forget how it’s been pronounced the countless times I’ve heard it spoken.
In the end, it’s a matter of principle. Allowing sponsorship to dictate the naming of our fair college is a slippery slope. After all, that’s how we ended up with the Hitler T. Mussolini Fascism Stronghold/Badminton Courts.
Sean Gandert is a senior editor of the Yale Record. This Point-Counterpoint is the first in a series of columns brought to you by the staff of the Record.