Archive: Tue Jan 2013

  1. SAMA: Life without Facebook

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    I had been flirting with the idea of deactivating my Facebook account for a while. Increasingly convinced that the website was an unhealthy preoccupation, I would waste hours scouring my profile, imagining how it would look through the eyes of the beautiful women who I knew must be stalking me. I’d scroll through absurd numbers of photos and wall posts, carefully crafting witty comments that I thought would generate the most “likes.” The monotony of it all began to get to me, and so I concluded that taking a brief hiatus would be an interesting experiment.

    After three months of life without Facebook, I am genuinely surprised at how little I miss it. I now (rather anachronistically) rely on text messages and emails to communicate, wait for personal invites to events and actually depend on my memory to remember birthdays (naturally I have forgotten just about every single one; thanks a lot, Mark Zuckerberg). Sure, I feel out of the loop when my friends gossip about crazy photos from Harvard-Yale or joke about a hilarious YouTube video of fainting goats that I never saw. But while I’m aware of what I’m missing, I find that what I’ve gained from being off Facebook is significantly more meaningful.

    No longer do I wonder about what is or isn’t worth sharing online. Thoughts about profile pictures and status updates no longer linger in the back of my mind. Deactivating my Facebook account has forced me to enjoy life as it happens, not as I want it to look on Facebook. It has also helped me avoid the world of insecurity that arises from comparing my life to the selectively manicured representations of reality that people choose to display online.

    Getting off Facebook, on the other hand, leaves much more up to the imagination. One interesting and unintended consequence of my diminished online presence is that it has added a certain intrigue to my persona. There’s something mysterious about someone who chooses to zig when the world zags. Besides, how cool can something be if over a billion people are using it? When my grandparents set up their Facebook accounts, I figured it might be time to move on.

    As I’ve started to consider career options, I have become sensitive to the vulnerability associated with sharing information online: a potential invasion of privacy that is intrinsic to Facebook. In fact, one of my father’s friends told him that if any potential employer were to gain access to my Facebook profile, it would amount to professional suicide unless my ultimate aspiration was to make it as a nightclub promoter or male prostitute. The last thing a Yale undergraduate needs is to be denied an amazing job opportunity because of a stupid photo of him streaking across Old Campus or shotgunning a Natty Light in the DKE basement. I am convinced that one of my closest friends will head the CIA one day, yet his Facebook profile is riddled with photos of him blacked out. I can only imagine what the Chinese secret service would do with that material decades from now.

    Perhaps the most common criticism of Facebook is its tendency to promote procrastination. To some extent, I agree. Without Facebook’s endless stream of information to distract me, I am now able to do things I previously thought I didn’t have time for. I now read for pleasure more than I have in a long time, make it to the gym more frequently and (most crucially) manage to squeeze in those few extra games of FIFA into my weekly schedule.

    Facebook is sort of like the Matrix: an alternate reality where we can project a virtual image of ourselves. And while life in the Matrix or on Facebook can be rather nice sometimes, neither can compare to living in the real world. So as much as I miss the convenience and the social connectedness that Facebook provides, I’m enjoying my time offline too much to even think about getting back on anytime soon. At least for now, I’m going to choose the red pill, and I invite you to do the same. Welcome to the real world.

    Samir Sama is a sophomore in Morse College. Contact him at .

  2. Weight bias extends to courtroom

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    Yale researchers are the first to show that weight bias extends to the courtroom.

    In a study conducted by researchers at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, participants given hypothetical court cases were more likely to deem overweight female defendants guilty of a crime over their lean counterparts. The findings call not only for policies to prevent weight bias in the courtroom, but also for the inclusion of weight status as a protected category under anti-discrimination law on the state and federal level, said lead study author and clinical psychology doctoral student Natasha Schvey GRD ’14. The study appears online in the January issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

    “We know from decades of research now that weight stigma has been very well-documented in multiple domains, including employment opportunity, health care, education, the media and so on,” Schvey said. “However, we haven’t yet determined whether weight bias may actually be present in the courtroom, so it seemed like a critical gap in the literature that we wanted to explore.”

    In the study, conducted online, 471 participants considered the same case of check fraud and were randomly assigned either a lean or obese male or lean or obese female defendant. Using a “5-point Likert scale,” participants then decided the guilt of the accused individual. Schvey found that while male participants assigned significantly more guilt to overweight female defendants than to lean female defendants, they did not assign more guilt to overweight male defendants than lean ones. Females, on the other hand, did not discriminate on the basis of weight for either male or female defendants.

    The study did not assess why the participant decided to assign guilt to one group of defendants as opposed to another, but Schvey said there is a common misconception that obese individuals may lack impulse control and that this stereotype may drive the bias.

    “We do know that men do tend to endorse greater weight bias than women, so that would potentially explain the direction of the results,” Schvey said.

    The finding of stigmatization of overweight females and not males is corroborated by a long line of existing research, study authors added.

    Cornell Law professor Sheri Lynn Johnson LAW ’79 said the finding is important because it adds to a large literature suggesting the vulnerability of the criminal justice system to jury bias. The most significant limitation of the study is that it examined only a single type of crime, one that may be closely linked to stereotypes about obesity and thus not provide a generalizable conclusion about weight bias in courts, Johnson said.

    “If you had a bank robbery, would you see the same phenomenon? I’m guessing you would not because some of the stereotypes about bank robbery are such that you imagine physical activity and strength,” she added.

    In order to mitigate weight bias in trials, Schvey said courts should consider modifying judicial instruction to include text about weight discrimination. Moreover, Schvey said there exists no federal legislation protecting obese individuals from discrimination on the basis of weight, and this study and others documenting the prevalence and consequences of weight-based discrimination indicate the need for protective law.

    This finding also adds to a large literature that resists the common misconception that the most impartial jurors are those with the fewest ties to discriminated groups, Johnson said.

    “What we do see again and again is that we need more diverse jurors in order to counteract the biases of various groups,” she said.

    Schvey said she plans to pursue the finding by comparing the study results to actual juror behavior and court archives.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of the adult population in the United States is obese.

  3. Malloy kickstarts legislative session

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    In the wake of the mass shooting that left 28 people dead in Newtown, Conn., state legislators and Gov. Dannel Malloy issued calls for unity on the opening day of the 2013 legislative session.

    In a nationally televised State of the State address that kicked off the start of the legislative session Wednesday evening, Malloy promised that his office would work with the legislature on a multifaceted response to the Dec. 14 shooting. But the governor said that he would not consider an NRA-backed proposal to arm teachers and security guards in schools, explaining that “freedom is not a handgun on the hip of every teacher, and security should not mean a guard posted outside every classroom.” Unlike in his two previous State of the State addresses, Malloy offered no specific policy initiatives this year.

    “It won’t surprise you that this speech is very different from the one I first envisioned giving,” Malloy said. “In the early days of December, I began thinking about what I’d like to say today. Now, while it’s only been a few short weeks on the calendar, we have all walked a very long and very dark road together.”

    Malloy focused much of his speech on the heroism he saw in Newtown, praising the town’s teachers and first responders for their courage as well as town officials who brought comfort to a distraught community. As he spoke, Malloy appeared unable to control his emotions.

    “And then, of course, there are the families,” said Malloy, whose voice broke as he talked about the victims and the first-responders. “Twenty-six families that, despite an unimaginable loss, have gotten up each and every day since, have been there for one another, and have supported their community as much as that community has supported them.”

    Still, Malloy used the broad theme of resilience in his address to cast a more positive light on some of his administration’s other decisions which have been criticized in the past, including a $1.5 billion tax hike that he authorized in 2011 and an education reform bill that he signed into law last spring. He listed many of the accomplishments of his first two years in office — including education reform, energy policy and economic development — a move that spurred commentators to point to the address as the beginning of Malloy’s 2014 re-election bid.

    Following his speech, legislators from both parties applauded Malloy’s words on Newtown. State Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney said that the tragedy was foremost on his mind, and he predicted that it would set the tone for this year’s legislative agenda, bringing discussions about gun control, mental health and school safety to the forefront of discussion. Indeed, the legislature will announce a bipartisan Newtown Taskforce that will propose legislation on all three of these fronts, as Malloy envisioned. Pat O’Neal, a spokesman for the Connecticut House Republican caucus, said that legislators are considering expediting the process by which legislation is passed so that public hearings would be held this month and both chambers of the legislature could vote on bills by February.

    O’Neal cautioned that, though Republicans are willing to consider gun control proposals and increased mental health services, their main objective is still to close a projected $1.1 billion deficit in the 2013–’14 fiscal year — a fight that Looney said would have dominated this legislative session if it weren’t for Newtown.

    “These programs are going to cost money, whether it’s a gun-buyback program or more funding for mental health care,” O’Neal said. “Everything has to be viewed in the prism of ‘How are we going to pay for this?’”

    Other possible legislative items this term include a law that would allow undocumented immigrants to be issued driver’s licenses, further restrictions on juvenile sentencing and a proposal to lift the statewide ban on highway tolls.

  4. Dean’s Office debuts student bartending classes

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    Students who want to learn to bartend can now do so on Yale’s dime.

    The Yale College Dean’s Office will host three free bartender-training sessions beginning Jan. 28 in an effort to raise awareness about alcohol and decrease high-risk drinking. The training includes a two-hour course in mixology and a four-hour course in Training and Intervention Procedures (TIPS) — a national program designed to reduce risky drinking by improving the knowledge and intervention skills of alcohol servers. Twelve students attended a pilot training session held Dec. 10 and 11, and 30 students will be allowed at each spring event.

    “We know underaged people are drinking,” said Director of Yale Catering Robert Sullivan. “We’re trying to see what we can do to make sure underage students understand what a drink is supposed to look and taste like.”

    The courses, run by Yale Catering, are based on those Yale Catering hosts for its servers, with the exception that students do not have to be over 21 to attend because anyone over the age of 18 can legally bartend in Connecticut, Fiddler said. Students will be able to sign up online for courses in January, February and March starting next week.

    TIPS training teaches alcohol safety skills such as how to interact with drunk or unruly individuals and how to tell if someone has had too much to drink, as well as alcohol awareness facts such as the amount an average person can drink based on body type and gender, Sullivan said. Course instructor Jean-Michel Mange said a large portion of the TIPS course also focuses on liability issues, a topic particularly relevant for students who plan to host dorm or fraternity parties.

    “People think it’s going to be moralizing, but it’s not about that,” said course instructor Jean-Michel Mange. “It’s to explain how technically, if you hold a party, what to do, how not to over-pour, to explain what can happen to the [host in terms of liability].”

    Sullivan said that the pilot session’s attendees significantly overestimated the amount of alcohol that constituted one shot. The mixology course introduces techniques that reduce alcohol intake per drink — such as serving drinks with ice and using a pourer to regulate the amount of alcohol in a drink — and pourers were passed out to each attendee, he said.

    Four members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, several members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and as representatives from other student organizations participated in the pilot bartending training session, said Sig Ep President Will Kirkland ’14. Kirkland said he felt the training session was useful overall, but it was tailored to skills for professional bartenders or servers and did not necessarily relate to members of student organizations.

    “From a bartender perspective it was really useful,” he said. “But maybe it’s not all as applicable if you’re having a frat party.”

    Another attendee, Paul Wasserman ’14, thought the mixology course was successful in “proving excessive [hard alcohol] is not needed for a good drink.” He said he does not think the courses will change the mindsets of students who aim to get “very drunk,” but they will help prevent students from drinking too much unintentionally.

    The Dean’s Office does not currently have a plan to measure the effectiveness of the training sessions, and Fiddler said whether the program will continue depends on its popularity and how it fits with other alcohol-related programming from the YCDO.

    Correction: Jan. 15

    A previous version of this article misstated the name of the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon. 

  5. SOM launches Immersion Week

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    More than 80 second-year MBA students from the School of Management will take intensive weeklong courses abroad this March as part of Immersion Week — one of the first initiatives of SOM’s new Global Network for Advanced Management.

    Five schools in the international network, including SOM, will host courses taught by their faculty and hold various events for students from the other four institutions during Immersion Week. The goal of Immersion Week is to enable business students to interact with professors and MBA candidates from their peer institutions around the world, SOM administrators said, forging relationships that could result in collaborative projects in the future. The program at SOM will focus on behavioral economics, and the remaining schools will host courses that address the entrepreneurial and economic issues of their respective regions.

    “[The initiative offers] a totally unique environment and is an innovation in that students will not simply travel to Brazil to study low-income consumer behavior, but they will do that alongside students from Turkey, China and Europe — which just changes the potential learning,” SOM Dean Edward Snyder said, adding that SOM Senior Associate Dean for Executive MBA and Global Programs David Bach ’98 and Dean of Renmin School of Business Zhihong Yi developed the idea.

    SOM students will have to cover their flight and accommodation costs, but the school will provide students with $600 subsidies. The other schools participating in Immersion Week are FGV Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo in Brazil, Renmin University School of Business in China, Koç University Graduate School of Business in Turkey and IE Business School in Spain.

    Bach, a former dean of programs at IE Business School, said he has considered creating a program like Immersion Week for several years, but he added that he did not want to pilot an initiative involving just one other business school. The Global Network — a project involving 22 international business schools founded last academic year — provided him with “the necessary infrastructure” to implement his idea, he said.

    Only second-year MBA students at SOM were eligible to sign up for the trips, as many first-year students attend required school-sponsored international trips at the same time. Bach said Immersion Week complements the first-year trips, with the distinction that the trips for first-years are intended to give students an opportunity to explore their international destinations while Immersion Week focuses “on topics rather than places.”

    New Haven was the most sought-after program destination — SOM had to turn down over 80 students due to its capacity to host only 67. Due to overwhelming interest in the initiative, Snyder said there is potential for SOM to organize additional immersion weeks, adding that he has already discussed the option with Peter Crane, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies dean.

    Participating students said they are excited to explore important issues pertaining to the countries they are visiting in a local setting.

    “The business world has changed in the last 15 to 20 years,” said Emily Berger SOM ’13, who will travel to Madrid in March. “[We are] constantly trying new things in different geographic markets, and having the opportunity to practice that kind of cross-cultural dialogue is not something that can be taught from a textbook.”

    Kevin Zygmunt SOM ’13, who will travel to Sao Paulo, said he thinks one cannot understand the events that happen in a country without immersing itself in its culture, a belief he said he strengthened through his international experience as a first-year student.

    Amanda Turner SOM ’13 said she enrolled in the class at Renmin University in China because she was inspired by SOM professor Zhiwu Chen’s “Emerging Market Finance” class and wanted an opportunity to explore in-depth the finance and business practices in China.

    Immersion Week will take place during the first week of March.


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    Economics Department Chair Benjamin Polak has taken the reins from President-elect and former Provost Peter Salovey as the University’s second-highest ranking administrator, Salovey announced Monday afternoon to a crowd of faculty and administrators filling Luce Hall to capacity.

    The appointment, effective immediately, falls roughly two months after Salovey was named Yale’s 23rd president on Nov. 8. Beginning Tuesday, Polak will move into the Provost’s Office at 1 Hillhouse Ave. and take up Salovey’s former duties — which include overseeing academic policy and faculty committees, as well as leading the University Budget Committee — while Salovey will spend the next few months preparing to assume the presidency on July 1.

    “We all love Ben for many reasons,” Salovey told the packed auditorium on Monday. “For this particular job, we especially admire his ability to think strategically, his great insights, his very sharp mind … but all of that is combined in a very warm person, someone whom people love to get to know and interact with.”

    Polak joined the Yale faculty in 1994 as an assistant professor and has served as chair of the Economics Department since 2010. Salovey said Polak’s knowledge of University finances, partly gained as a member of the University Budget Committee, gave him a “real leg up” in the search for a new provost.

    In his speech during the announcement, Polak thanked the faculty for placing their trust in him and lauded Salovey for helping Yale navigate the financial crisis “with very few scars.” He also stressed the importance of increasing transparency and promoting “evidence-based” decision-making in future University initiatives.

    University President Richard Levin said in a Monday email to the Yale community that Polak will be “an invaluable strategic partner to our new President, a strong advocate for excellence in teaching and research, and a wise, fair, and thoughtful steward of the University’s budgetary resources.”

    Levin appointed Polak to the position following a recommendation from Salovey, who led the search for the new provost, soliciting nominations from the faculty in late November and conducting interviews in December. The length of the search process was comparable to the past 10 provost searches, which have all taken between two and nine weeks.

    Salovey told the News that Polak’s early appointment will enable him to spend the remainder of the year meeting with members of the Yale community both on and off campus to develop a “shared vision for Yale’s next decade.” He said he will also be working closely with both Polak and Levin over the coming months.

    “This overlapping will make for an orderly transition and no loss of momentum,” Salovey said. “One is not normally given that gift.”

    Faculty and administrators interviewed at the event said they were pleased with the decision.

    Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Thomas Pollard said one of the biggest challenges facing the provost will be building the strength of the University despite constrained budgets. He said Polak “should be off to a running start” because he is already well-versed in these issues.

    “[Polak] has all the right values, and the trust of the faculty,” said Deputy Provost Frances Rosenbluth. “As chair of the Economics Department, he’s shown his ability to corral people around controversial decisions.”

    Salovey, who has served as provost since 2008, will vacate his office in Warner House on Tuesday and move back across the street to the psychology building.

    Yale’s previous nine provosts have all gone on to assume top positions at major universities.

  7. Polak brings economic expertise to new role

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    Economics professor Benjamin Polak has spent the past few nights lying awake in bed, contemplating his role as Yale’s next provost.

    “I guess I’ve got about until tomorrow morning to learn how to fly,” he told the crowd of administrators and faculty in Luce Hall Monday afternoon, just moments after President-elect Peter Salovey announced that he had tapped Polak as his successor as provost, effective immediately.

    Polak, who serves on the University Budget Committee and has been chair of the Economics Department since 2010, will assume the duties of provost at a time when the University continues to face a lagging budget deficit and is in the midst of an extensive review of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. While Polak was quick to acknowledge the challenges he will face in his new position in the coming months and years, faculty and administrators interviewed said that he is well-suited to the job of the University’s second-highest ranking administrator because of his strong relationships with colleagues and keen grasp of the financial challenges facing the University.

    “He has a deep understanding already of the University budget,” Graduate School Dean Thomas Pollard said. “There probably is not anyone who is better prepared for this job.”

    Polak’s appointment will allow Salovey to continue working closely with a respected economist, as he did with University President Richard Levin, who also served as chair of the Economics Department. Though Levin told the News he does not believe it is “central” to have an economist in one of the top two positions at the University, he said Polak’s expertise will strengthen his partnership with Salovey, adding that the two have “complementary skills and yet their values are greatly harmonized.”

    In his speech on Monday, Salovey said Polak has already shown great leadership on the University Budget Committee and is thorough and systematic in his approach to decision-making. Salovey told the News that Polak emphasizes the “fundamental values of Yale” and is known as an excellent teacher on campus.

    Polak stepped into his position as Economics chair in 2010, a year after a nearly 25 percent decline in the value of Yale’s endowment tore a roughly $350 million hole in the budget. He had to lead his department through tight financial circumstances in response to the administration’s across-the-board budget cuts, working to maintain programs that lost considerable funding such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunity in Economics fellowship program in 2011.

    Polak said he expects the position of provost to involve similarly difficult, and sometimes unpopular, decisions. While the endowment has achieved positive returns in recent years, Levin and Salovey announced last January that Yale would face a projected $67 million deficit this fiscal year.

    “There are going to be times when I have to say ‘no,’” Polak told the crowd. “I don’t want to go in saying it’s going to be ‘green lights’ from here to eternity.”

    He added, however, that he does not want these decisions to be made “just from the top” and will seek input from the faculty. Polak’s colleagues praised his commitment to reaching out to professors in his department, a trend he promises to continue as provost. In his speech, Polak said he will spend much of his time over the next six months learning about areas of the University in which he has less experience, such as the Classics Department and the School of Nursing.

    This knowledge will prove crucial from the beginning of his tenure, as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences is undergoing its first academic review held at the University in two decades. Salovey appointed an academic review committee in August, following a proposal outlined in a faculty report on resources last spring, to be tasked with recommending changes to the allocation of faculty positions across departments. In his speech, Polak said he hopes to build on the work of this committee and new faculty forums introduced by Salovey in the fall to make the University governance and decision-making more transparent.

    Polak, who was born in Britain and maintains dual British and American citizenship, joined the faculty in 1994 and has held a number of administrative positions during his time at Yale, including the director of undergraduate studies in the Economics Deparment from 2007 to 2009.

    Many administrators and faculty extolled Polak’s sense of humor, which Economics DUS Tony Smith described as a “British understatement.” Smith recounted how Polak downplayed his relocation to Warner House last night when one of Polak’s undergraduate advisees emailed him to schedule a meeting about course selection. Smith said Polak responded to the student that he was “starting a new job in the provost’s office tomorrow,” directing the student to Smith instead.

    “I had to email back that ‘Professor Polak is a tad too modest since his new job is as the provost himself,’” Smith said.

    In his almost two decades at Yale, Polak has collected numerous teaching awards, including the Economics Department Teaching Prize and Graduate Advising Prize in 1998, the William Clyde DeVane Medal for undergraduate teaching and scholarship in Yale College in 2005 and the Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences in Yale College in 2006.

    Yale College Dean Mary Miller said she thinks any student who has taken a class with Polak will understand why he has been tapped as the new provost.

    “How do you both grow and change while maintaining some of the fundamentals that characterize the teaching and research mission of the University?” Miller asked. “These are all marvelous questions for a provost like Ben Polak.”

    Polak, who normally teaches the popular lecture “Game Theory” during the fall semester, said he will forgo continuing teaching for now, which he said will be “tough to give up.” He added that, had he known he would step into the provost role this term, he may have finished his last course differently.

    “I would have written a better exam,” Polak said. “It was crummy. It got hammered on the course evaluations.”

    Polak is married to English professor Stefanie Markovits ’94 GRD ’01. She said after the Monday announcement that she is excited and a bit terrified about Polak’s new position, which she said was unexpected. She said Polak is attentive to details while also exhibiting an unusually broad sense of the University, especially concerning the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    “He is a perfectionist and he is a really hard worker and he doesn’t like to see things done shoddily. That’s good for Yale,” Markovits said, “[but] not necessarily good for me, because I’m anticipating long hours and much stress.”

    Polak and Markovits live in New Haven with their three young children. Markovits’ brother is Law School professor Daniel Markovits ’91 GRD ’00.

    Polak graduated from Cambridge University in 1984 and earned graduate degrees in history and economics at Northwestern University and Harvard University, respectively. His research and teaching interests include microeconomic theory and economic history.

    Jane Darby Menton contributed reporting.


  8. Lawmakers weigh street closures

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    The New Haven Board of Aldermen is set to consider the continued closure of Wall and High streets in coming months.

    City lawmakers have begun re-examining the 1990 Yale-New Haven agreement that cleared the streets of vehicular traffic. While the original agreement was to review the closure arrangement after 20 years — a period of time that elapsed over two years ago — aldermen say they are intent on keeping the streets closed.

    As terms of the 1990 agreement, the University paid a lump sum of $1.1 million to the city, committed to yearly voluntary payments as a “fire services use charge” and agreed to allow the city to tax the University golf course. While some aldermen previously proposed using the review of street closures as a bargaining chip to demand further monetary contributions from the University, current city officials interviewed shied away from such a strategy.

    “Pushing Yale to pay more money is not the best way to engage the University and strengthen our relationship,” said Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10, who chairs the City Services and Environmental Policy Committee (CSEP) that will oversee the Board’s handling of the street closures.

    “By and large, the public wants the streets to remain closed,” Elicker added. “We don’t want to be calling Yale’s bluff and threatening to open the streets to make them, say, pay an additional million dollars.”

    According to Elicker, the Board of Aldermen’s precise authority over the streets is unclear. The document outlining the agreement does not specify whether it represents a 20-year lease that now needs to be renewed, which could involve the University paying additional money to the city, or a one-time agreement that holds for perpetuity. City corporation counsel Victor Bolden previously testified before the board on that question, arguing that the agreement did not constitute a renewable lease but an indefinite settlement, Elicker said.

    Mayor John DeStefano Jr. praised the closure deal in a statement to the News Monday and called for a permanent agreement between the University and the city.

    “I think the closures have been a good thing and worked well,” he said. “I think its time the transfer be made permanent on terms that are equitable to both Yale and the City of New Haven.”

    Yale officials have previously argued that the city cannot legally dictate the financial terms of the agreement.

    In a Sunday email to the News, Yale’s Director of New Haven Affairs Associate Vice President Lauren Zucker deferred the question of the street closures to the Board of Aldermen.

    “The issue is in the hands of the Board of Aldermen,” Zucker wrote. “There isn’t anything else to say at this point.”

    Zucker and University spokesman Tom Conroy declined to comment further.

    In December 2011, the Board hired a private attorney to get a second opinion on the question of the board’s jurisdiction. According to Elicker, the legal judgment reaffirmed the language of the board’s charter in determining that it had authority over the city streets and the power to renegotiate relevant agreements.

    “We have the authority to cancel this agreement — that’s clear,” Elicker said. “What remains very ambiguous is what a mutually agreeable process for doing so would be, as the document does not specify responsibility for operation costs and other important details.

    “We could conceivably decide as a board that we want to open the streets to cars. I just don’t see that as likely because we’ve seen that they’re a public asset that serve both Yale students and community members,” Elicker added.

    As a member of the CSEP Committee, Ward 22 Alderwoman Jeanette Morrison said she is looking forward to taking another look at the two-decade-old agreement.

    “I’ve said in the past that Yale should be paying more. As a city, we’re definitely struggling. We need resources,” Morrison said. “The whole reason this agreement included a requirement for re-evaluation is because times change and maybe the terms of the deal should reflect that.”

    But Morrison said she is not interested in opening the streets back up, as she sees the walkways as an asset to her student constituents. Instead, she said Yale could offer the city more “in-kind services” as an alternative to cash payments.

    Elicker also said increased collaboration between Yale and New Haven could take the place of additional monetary contributions. He suggested combining public transportation services and offering Yale’s entrepreneurial incubators to city residents.

    Describing the street closures as a “hallmark location for the City and the University,” Ward 7 Alderman Doug Hausladen ’04 said he hopes to initiate a larger discussion about closing additional streets to traffic. He said parts of Crown and Orange streets might make for ideal locations.

    The Board of Aldermen will hold workshops in February to inform its members about the street closures deal before it schedules public hearings to gather community input.

  9. W. SWIMMING & DIVING | Bulldogs face Penn and Dartmouth

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    The Yale women’s swimming team produced another strong performance on Saturday and remain undefeated, with victories over Dartmouth, 171–128, and Penn, 176–121.

    Coming off a victory at Cornell on Jan. 7, in which the Bulldogs (4–0, 4–0) defeated the Big Red (1–5, 0–4 Ivy) 159–141, the team looked to continue its success at the tri-meet against the Big Green (1–5, Ivy 2–5) and Quakers (2–3, Ivy 3–3). The Elis produced a balanced effort, which included 1–2–3 finishes in the 1000-yard freestyle, the 100-yard breaststroke and the 500-yard freestyle events.

    Captain Joan Weaver ’13 confirmed that teamwork was a point of focus for the team during its winter training.

    “[Teamwork] is often something that can go by the wayside, and it makes a huge difference come championships,” Weaver said.

    Weaver noted the improved depth of the team this year, which has been aided by a strong freshman class. On Saturday, the youngest members of the team proved instrumental yet again with strong performances, including those of Eva Fabian ’16, Callie Fosburgh ’16 and Casey Lincoln ’16. Olivia Grinker ’16 also helped set the tone early on with strong diving performances.

    Fabian pointed to the team’s more senior members as the reason for the continued success of the freshmen on the team.

    “The upperclassmen are really helpful,” she said. “We owe a lot to them for being supportive and on top of their games all the time.”

    Weaver said that the team has proved itself to be really well-rounded.

    “We’re strong in our freestyle events, but we’re doing better in stroke events,” she said.

    The team produced top-three finishes in five of the six freestyle events. The final freestyle event, the 400-yard relay, was scored as an exhibition because Yale had already clinched the victory.

    Alex Forrester ’13 produced a well-rounded performance herself, with first-place finishes in the 100-yard backstroke, the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly events. Forrester set pool records in the backstroke (56.07) and the butterfly (54.24), the latter of which was the clinching performance for the Bulldogs.

    The women’s team will head to Princeton, N.J. for a meet against Princeton and Harvard on Feb. 2.

  10. WOMEN’S SQUASH | Bulldogs crush Ivy Rivals

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    The women’s squash team started the heart of the season in Ivy League play this weekend with wins against No. 6 Cornell and No. 14 Columbia. The Bulldogs also defeated Colby and Williams earlier in the break with clean sweeps of 9–0.

    In a crucial Ivy matchup, No. 2 Yale took down Cornell 6–3 and ruined the Big Red’s undefeated season. The Bulldogs’ play was patchy as they struggled with the adjustment to Cornell’s slower courts.

    “With having two practices a day since returning to campus on Jan. 2, we were able to push each other to get where we needed to be for Cornell,” Anna Harrison ’15 said. “Beating such a strong opponent showed all of our hard work together.”

    Millie Tomlinson ’14, ranked No. 2 in the nation, led Yale in the first spot as she beat her opponent 11–3, 11–6, 11–5.

    In the second spot, No.6 Kim Hay ’14 fell in four games despite a promising start. Hay took the first game 11–8, but was unable to capitalize in the following three matches. With the scores tight (13–11, 11–6, 13–11), Hay fought until the end but could not add to the Bulldogs’ tally.

    At No. 3 was Shihui Mao ’15, who battled back and forth to win a very close and well-deserved match. In a five-game contest, Mao and her opponent took turns winning, and Mao won the first, third and fifth games to eventually come out on top (11–8, 7–11, 12–10, 5–11, 12–10).

    Captain Katie Ballaine ’13 fell at the No. 4 spot by deficits of 13–11, 11–5, 11–9.

    In the fifth spot, No. 24 Gwen Tilghman ’14 bounced back from losses in the first two games (11–9, 12–10).

    “The first two games of my match were close, but at the start of the third game I was able to change my game plan to play to my strengths and my opponent’s weaknesses,” Tilghman said.

    By keeping her opponent in the back of the court through a combination of straight hits, tight rails and short hits, Tilghman was able to win most of the points. Her skill and mental power, combined with mistakes by her opponent, allowed her to win the match and put Yale up 3–2.

    Lilly Fast ’14 won in the sixth spot after dropping the first game, but took the next three to add to the Bulldogs’ score sheet.

    At No. 7, Issey Norman-Ross ’15 came out strong and took the first two games, but let up in the third game. To put the match away, Norman-Ross dominated the fourth game 11–4 in order to win the match.

    In the eighth position, Anna Harrison ’15 took the first two games (11–6, 11–6), but then fell in the third and fourth. Harrison’s physical determination helped her capitalize in the fifth game, winning 11–5 and taking the match.

    Though he was happy with the win, head coach Dave Talbott said his team was not consistent and did not play with its usual aggressiveness.

    Hoping to remain at the top of the Ivy standings, the Bulldogs faced a competitive Columbia on Sunday. Displaying more confidence after their performance against Cornell, Yale showed no mercy in a 9–0 defeat of the Lions.

    With Fast, Norman-Ross and Mao out of the lineup, the Bulldogs’ deep roster proved effective in this matchup.

    Tomlinson and Hay stayed in their No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. Captain Ballaine played in the third position, with Tilghman in fourth and Anna Harrison in fifth.

    The Elis will host the No. 7 Stanford Cardinals on Jan. 18.

    “The focus for the week will be on the team’s explosiveness, taking control of the front court and working on the confidence of their short game,” Talbott said.

    There will be no shortage of motivation for the Bulldogs as they face Stanford, a top team coached by former coach Mark Talbott, brother of Dave Talbott.

    “The team is off to a good start with a 5–0 record, 2–0 in the Ivy League, and the team has set its sights on an Ivy League championship and a national title,” Talbott said.

    The Bulldogs will face Stanford this Friday at the Brady Squash Center at 3 p.m.

  11. M. SWIMMING & DIVING | Bulldogs’ depth instrumental in victory

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    Fresh off winter training and a win over Cornell, the men’s swimming and diving team headed to Pennsylvania for a tri-meet against Penn and Dartmouth.

    The Bulldogs dispatched Penn (2–4, Ivy 1–4) 176–124, but they faced stiffer competition against Dartmouth (2–4, Ivy 2–4). In the team’s smallest margin of victory this season, the Elis (3–0, 4–0) defeated the Big Green 154.5–145.5.

    Victor Zhang ’16 produced the Bulldogs’ first victory of the meet in the 200-yard freestyle. Zhang set the tone as Mike Lazris ’15 responded with a win in the 100-yard backstroke and Alwin Firmansyah ’15 scored first place in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly events. The Bulldogs produced two of the top five spots in eight events, three of the top five in three events and swept the 200-yard butterfly, grabbing the top three spots.

    Team captain Jared Lovett ’13 said the team’s improved depth and talent was instrumental in its close victory over Dartmouth.

    “Dartmouth placed ahead of us in nine of the 16 swimming events,” Lovett said. “But our guys who were finishing second to fifth collected a lot of really important points that ultimately proved the difference in the meet.“

    This renewed depth has helped the team all season, but it came in handy especially on Saturday. The Bulldogs graduated three seniors last year but have been able to match their record (5–0, 4–0 Ivy) from last year by developing their freshmen.

    “Everyone has a chance to perform,” Zhang said. “We all have our individual events to perform. Head coach Tim Wise puts us in our best events, which is helpful for the team and each of us individually.”

    Zhang was one of five freshmen to place in the top five in at least one event. He was one of two, along with Kevin Stang ’16, to win an event on Saturday. Stang placed first in the 200-yard backstroke.

    The Bulldogs remain one of only three undefeated teams in the Ivy League conference, alongside Princeton and Harvard.

    The Elis will head to Piscataway, N.J. to face Rutgers, Fordham and Rider this Saturday.