Law Students argue for detainees at Bagram

Two Yale Law School students — Amanda Shanor LAW ’09 and Leah Belsky LAW ’09 — took part in oral arguments in a case that would extend habeas corpus rights to detainees held at the United States’ Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan on Jan. 7. Lawyers for Bagram detainees asked Washington, D.C. District Court Judge John Bates to apply the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Boumediene v. Bush — which extended habeas corpus rights to prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — to 600 prisoners held at Bagram. Bates ordered the federal government to supply further information on the Bagram detainees by Jan. 16. A ruling in the case is pending.

—Derek Tam

Templeton named to Missouri natural resources post

Yale Law School Associate Dean Mark Templeton LAW ’99 was named director of the state’s Department of Natural Resources by Missouri governor-elect Jay Nixon. A Missouri native, Templeton will lead Nixon’s initiatives to expand alternative energy production within the state in addition to managing various agencies and programs. As chief operating officer of Yale Law School, Templeton manages over 200 administrative personnel and an annual budget of $105 million. From 2001 to 2005, Templeton helped develop environmental and sustainability strategies at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company.

—Derek Tam

Shapiro names top quotations of 2008

Tina Fey’s rendition of Sarah Palin topped Yale librarian Fred Shapiro’s list of the most notable quotations of 2008 (“I can see Russia from my house!”). The real Sarah Palin snagged the No. 2 spot; when CBS News anchor Katie Couric asked her in October what newspapers she reads, Palin responded, “All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.” University of Florida student Andrew Meyer’s memorable “Don’t tase me, bro!” took the top spot in 2007.

—The Yale Daily News

Whiffenpoofs perform at White House

The Whiffenpoofs a cappella group sang for President George W. Bush ’68 at a White House private function in December. Whiffenpoof Business Manager James Warlick described the party as a relatively intimate gathering. After performing for 45 minutes during the party’s cocktail reception, Warlick said, the Whiffenpoofs were requested to sing a few songs after dinner, as well. Bush’s uncle and cousin, both of whom are alumni of the group, joined the ensemble for the traditional Whiffenpoof song. Remarked Warlick: “Bush made a toast to us and everything, it was really quite spectacular.”

—The Yale Daily News

Steinberg nominated to join Clinton team

James Steinberg LAW ’78 was nominated to serve as one of two lieutenants to Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73, the transition team of President-elect Barack Obama announced Tuesday. Steinberg, formerly a top national security aide in the Clinton administration, will have to be confirmed by the Senate before officially assuming his duties as Deputy Secretary of State. Steinberg’s nomination makes him the third Yale alumnus to serve as Deputy Secretary of State since the Clinton administration, following former News Chairman Strobe Talbott ’68 and John Negroponte ’60.

—The Yale Daily News

Kaufmann, political scientist and defense analyst, dies at 90

William Kaufmann ’39 GRD ’48, a major supporter of a shift away from the early Cold War strategy of mass nuclear retaliation, died Dec. 14 in Woburn, Mass. Kaufmann, who was 90, served as a special assistant to all seven defense secretaries in the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations. He helped develop the concept of counterforce, which called for precision bombing as an alternative to a full-force nuclear attack. Kaufmann earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s and a doctorate, all in international studies, from Yale.

—The Yale Daily News

YCC creates Spring Fling committee

The Yale College Council will announce Monday the creation of a student advisory committee for this year’s Spring Fling, YCC President Rich Tao ’10 said. With the committee, the YCC hopes to solicit the opinions of students with an interest in the music industry but who may not be involved in student government. “We’re looking for students who not only have a general interest in the decision making, but in addition we’re looking for students who may have connections to people in the industry,” said Tao. The committee will consist of anywhere from 10 to 20 students, selected based on applications.

—Eric Randall

Speth book honored by Washington Post

“The Bridge at the End of the World,” a book by Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Dean Gus Speth, was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2008 by the Washington Post. In the book, Speth critiques overly commercial and growth-centric capitalism. “[H]ow can the operating instructions for the modern world economy be changed,” Speth asks, “so that economic activity both protects and restores the natural world?”

—The Yale Daily News

Princeton endowment drops 11 percent

Princeton’s endowment fell by 11 percent in the past four months and is expected to drop 25 percent by June, Princeton President Shirley Tilghman said in a Jan. 8 letter to the Princeton community. In response, Princeton will cut the endowment’s contribution to its operating budget, currently 45 percent, by $50 million. New appointments, while not banned, will have to undergo stricter review, and visiting faculty will be minimized. The school has already reduced capital spending by $300 million by delaying construction projects. But Tilghman said Princeton will remain committed to its financial aid program.

—Isaac Arnsdorf

Two faculty members win tenure

A committee voted in December to grant tenure to two current junior faculty members. David Evans ’92, a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, is now a tenured full professor, while Christine Jacobs-Wagner, in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Department, has become a tenured associate professor. Evans, head of the Yale paleomagnetic laboratory, primarily researches global tectonics and trends of the Earth’s geological evolution, focusing on continental reconstruction and paleomagnetism. Jacobs-Wagner, who is the head of her own lab, researches the mechanisms that control the cell cycle as well as the nature of the cytoskeleton that structures a cell.

—Divya Subrahmanyam

Channick to become School of Drama associate dean

Joan Channick DRA ’89, the managing director of New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre, will join the School of Drama as an associate dean, the University announced Dec. 11. The newly created position will involve participation in planning and management, with particular focus on student life, including recruiting, financial aid, professional development and postgraduate placement. Channick has served on the School of Drama faculty for almost two decades and currently teaches a course on legal issues in the arts. Channick will assume office Feb. 1.

—Zeynep Pamuk

Garriott joins Obama transition team

Former Native American peer counselor Wizipan Garriott ’03 has been appointed First Americans Liaison, a newly created position in President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team. According to an Obama transition team spokesperson, Garriott will communicate between the Obama administration’s agency review committees, policy committees and Indian country. After graduating from Yale, Garriott, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, worked for former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle before helping the Obama campaign form its Indian policy platform.

—Lawrence Gipson

Hillhouse bridge opens for vehicles

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. led a red ribbon cutting on Dec. 29, marking the reopening of the Hillhouse Avenue Bridge and the completion of a $2 million infrastructure project funded by a federal grant and Yale. The bridge, which was originally built in 1827 to cover the Farmington Canal and was then converted to a roadway in 1910, was initially closed in September 2007 for renovation. According to city officials, the closure of the bridge, located in front of Yale University Health Services, caused significant traffic bottlenecks on smaller roads in downtown New Haven. The bridge is solely open to bikes and motor vehicles. Pedestrian bridges, approximated to be 8 to 10 feet wide, should be completed by spring of this year. The price tag for walking room? Over $2.5 million.

—Liane Membis

Tweed requests financial assistance

Loan companies and automobile manufacturers may not be the only industries searching for an economic bailout plan. In a letter to the Aldermanic President Carl Goldfield on Dec. 30, Tweed Executive Director Tim Larson requested $160,000 from the Board of Aldermen to prevent the airport from folding in the face of financial hardship. The “supplemental operating support” Larson requested will be used to cover an anticipated revenue gap, Larson said. “I truly believe Tweed is a sound public investment, which will enhance the region’s economic position for many years to come,” Larson said in the letter. The Aldermanic Finance Committee will hold a hearing to discuss Larson’s request Jan. 26.

—Martine Powers

New Haven Rep. leads gender equality bill

New Haven’s congressional representative, Rosa DeLauro, led the charge on what may be the first bill to reach soon-to-be-President Barack Obama’s desk. The Paycheck Fairness Act and a companion bill, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, meant to close the gap between the salaries of males and females, passed the House of Representatives on Friday. In her speech in support of the bills on the House floor, DeLauro said they send “a strong message that gender discrimination is unacceptable.” Though the Ledbetter Senate companion is expected to reach the floor sometime this week, debate on the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced in the Senate by Hillary Rodham Clinton Law ’73, has not yet been scheduled.

—Zeke Miller

DeStefano petitions for greater tax control

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. joined 11 other municipal leaders in Hartford last Monday to petition state legislators for increased financial support of city governments, the New Haven Register reported. The mayors and first selectmen asked the state congress to allow municipal governments greater freedom concerning local tax revenue — specifically, they requested that they have the option of instituting a local sales tax. Additionally, they called for the state to provide full financial backing of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, which replaces the revenue foregone with tax-exempt properties, such as Yale University. State legislators cut funding for the PILOT program last year.

—Martine Powers

Grad student robbed during break-in

Last Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. a burglar took several items from the apartment of a Yale graduate student on 70 Howe St. While the student was not home at the time, another person in his apartment was tied up during the incident. The person was not injured. The burglary was the only event during winter break that prompted Yale Police Chief James Perrotti to send an e-mail to the Yale community. Before the break, on Dec. 15, two robberies and another robbery attempt, all involving members of the Yale Community, occurred in a period of just over one hour, between 8 and 9:10 p.m.

—Harrison Korn

New dessert bar opens on State Street

A new dessert bar, Dolci, opened on 932 State St. late last month. The still-evolving menu features handmade desserts, imported chocolates, martinis and cheese platters. “Everything is made from scratch,” 28-year-old owner Anthony Urbano said. Executive Chef John DePuma — who will soon be seen battling on the TV show “Iron Chef” — said he worked closely with Urbano to come up with the menu items, which cost between $6 and $11. The chocolate-covered strawberries and chocolate molten cake are some of the most popular menu items, according to Urbano. In the spring Dolci plans to have outdoor seating where its patrons can listen to jazz-style music, following the installment of a piano in the coming weeks.

—Snigdha Sur