Doors and gates at Yale often have been subjected to memes and ridicule. Silliman’s incredibly heavy doors. Branford’s gate that is forever locked. But recently, there has been one gate that has really pushed Vanderbilt and Bingham residents’ buttons. The High Street gate near Linsly-Chittenden Hall used to be a quick avenue for students who wanted to go to their dining halls or class. But as of late, that gate has been locked and first years’ commutes have suffered.
Perhaps most frustrating is the fact that many Vanderbilt residents do not do laundry in Bingham’s basement, as that space is either rarely working, extremely full or just a “clown fiesta.” Also, keep in mind that many first years have yet to develop the basic, essential skill of doing laundry. Considering these circumstances, it is not difficult to see why certain Vanderbilt students choose to go to their residential college basements to wash their clothes. When students are carrying their large laundry bins or bags, any shortcut helps. The High Street gate was this shortcut, but now it is no longer an option. Its closure is not only annoying but also unnecessary.
Last semester, the High Street gate was open for the majority of the year. Past 9 p.m., the gates usually would close for what we assumed to be security measures. This gate management was very much rational and was never really an issue for most students. However, now students run late for classes, miss meals and go out less because of the extra distance they have to walk to get to their destinations. Additionally, this makes ordering food even more difficult for students and for the individual delivering the food — as you can notice, food is a huge priority for first years.
This gate has also limited the entry points for visitors and tourists. While this may seem like a good thing at first — let’s be real, we have all had moments when tourists were in our way and making us wait while they took pictures — this just means that the other gates on Old Campus are being flooded with people. Thus, by not opening one gate, Yale also indirectly has complicated getting through the other gates they keep open.
After coming to terms with the situation, many Yalies are already attempting to find alternatives. One new practice has been cutting through LC and walking a bit more than usual. Others have begun to use the gate in between Vanderbilt and Bingham near the trash and recycle bins, despite the various trash bags which often obstruct this path. Some, on the other hand, have simply given up and take the longest way possible to get to their destinations.
Many of these students, though a bit frustrated at first, have now accepted the closure of the High Street gate — something which I have clearly not been able to do — and justify it as a security measure. To be fair, this seems like a logical explanation. Last semester, police were often found in substantial numbers near the gate investigating some incident.
However, LC is never locked. I’ve cut through Linsly-Chittenden Hall later than 10 p.m. and I never needed to swipe my Yale ID to get in. What good are security measures if you are going to leave another entry point open to everyone? Not much. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we should leave High Street gate open all the time and ignore campus security. Having hours during which the gate was open worked wonderfully last semester, and the return of that practice would be more than ideal. My argument here is simply that I am not convinced security played a role in closing off the High Street gate.
We have seen small rays of hope lately, as the gate has opened periodically. If this random opening of the gate continues, then perhaps I may have overreacted. Furthermore, this article would seem rather ridiculous, and to an extent I would completely agree that it is. After all, I could never see myself actually taking the time to write about a gate. But the reality is that this gate is a big help to a lot of us Old Campus residents. And at Yale, we’ll take any help we can get.
Carlos Rodriguez Cortez | firstname.lastname@example.org