Levin’s legacy of support for the arts

The News’ generally positive article on President Levin’s accomplishments in the arts did much to describe the effectiveness of his leadership (“Reinvigorating the Arts,” Sept. 14). Nonetheless, the piece suffers from significant misstatement and omissions.

It is false that Levin implemented projects like the renovation of the Art Gallery “only in the second half” of his tenure. The first half included renovations of Sprague and Leigh Halls for the School of Music and the creation of Green Hall, housing the School of Art and the Iseman Theater for use of the School of Drama, Yale Rep and Dramat.

Moreover, the News article reduced the history of the School of Drama to that of its facilities. Certainly, nine of our ten buildings need replacing: Only the Iseman was built for the purpose for which it is being used. I am passionately devoted to the earliest possible ground-breaking for a new School of Drama. Still, the News’ assessment is woefully inadequate, and it is especially disappointing to see the News refer to unidentified administrators who suggest the School of Drama shows room for unspecified improvement, as though this is news. Is there some part of Yale that doesn’t show room for improvement?

A student at the School of Drama when Levin was inaugurated, I became dean in his tenth year as president. In the last decade alone, his support, strategic guidance and fundraising abilities have made possible this partial list of milestones: expansion and strengthening of our award-winning faculty; advances in curriculum, including the nation’s first MFA program in projection design for theatre; an unprecedented $18 million gift endowing the Binger Center for New Theatre and an 85 percent reduction in student loans for the typical YSD student. Applications to the School have reached record levels and the School’s yield is unrivalled in its field.

In all of these dramatic achievements, Rick Levin has played a leading role — and the curtain has yet to come down on his extraordinary performance.

James Bundy

Sept. 16

The writer is the dean of the Yale School of Drama and the artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre.

No safe number of blackouts

I am concerned by your comment in last week’s News’ View that “too many students black out too often” (“Behind Gentry’s email,” Sept. 10). That implies there is a number of blackouts that is acceptable, but that too many Yale students surpass that number. Blackouts are very serious business and one is too many. In my experience, many young drinkers — and I was one — assume if they didn’t pass out, then they weren’t too drunk. But drinkers black out all the time without falling down or passing out. In fact, blackouts are far more dangerous, as the drinker continues to interact with his or her environment, whether it be the dorm room or the car, without being in control.

You do a disservice to your readers to imply that any blackout is acceptable.

Walter Foery

Sept. 10

The writer is a senior administrative assistant at the Yale College Writing Center.