To the Editor:
Regarding Amelia Davidson’s report on Feb. 10, 2021 of the objections and angry dismay that some alumnae felt upon learning that their names would be omitted from the publicly distributed version of the volume of personal reflections, First Women in Yale College, I wish to add a different perspective.
The volume, emerging from the 50th anniversary celebrations of women undergraduates’ entering Yale, is a welcome and interesting collection of reminiscences and observations, and a substantive contribution from participants and witnesses to this moment of educational experiment and progress. While I would have no objection to anyone citing my small contribution by my name, others might, and for some it would depend on particular context. We should not assume what each individual writer would wish.
There’s no call for hectic posturing here. The editors’ decision to observe a decorum of anonymity in what is essentially a collection of personal accounts intended primarily for private distribution is perfectly sensible, and hardly the suppressive move some of my excellent sisters deem “not acceptable.” We are not being written out of our own histories, we are being given a choice. While Prof. Fishkin feels chagrin that “Without her name … [her] essay is ‘nonsensical,’ because readers cannot understand her career since Yale,” she forgets that most contributors were not writing to publicize the course of their careers. Many certainly did consider the place of Yale in their lives, but most wrote primarily to recall their experience of that particular moment of change.
The historical value of the documents is not diminished by the editors’ decision to anonymize the contributors’ names: Any reader who wants to know or get in touch with a contributor can contact the editors and ask them to ask us whether we wish to be linked to that reader or not. End of problem.
There was a truly pathetic typo in my own fascinating narrative, but I am trying to get over it.
With thanks for your reporting,
Ellen E. Martin
ELLEN E. MARTIN (Yale ‘73) is a graduate of Timothy Dwight College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the members of Plant-Based for Public Health, we fully endorse the Letter to the Editor written by Alan Presburger on behalf of the Yale Animal Welfare Alliance. Plant-Based for Public Health was founded to examine, recognize, amplify and celebrate the inherent connection between animal welfare, environmental justice and human health. This emphatically includes low-income and marginalized populations.
We agree that shame and judgement are not effective methods to educate or advocate for individual or systemic change. However, there are critical differences between shame, education and accountability; a rampant problem in our American culture is the inability to distinguish among the three. As soon-to-be public health professionals, let’s hold each other accountable and understand the destructive health impacts inflicted on both humans and animals by the modern animal agriculture system. It is our personal and professional mission to work toward a more nutritious, compassionate, inclusive and just future through advocacy and systemic changes.
We welcome everyone interested in learning more about how individual and systemic changes in our food system affect all aspects of public health to join Plant-Based for Public Health at any and all of our upcoming events.
ZOE NOVIC is a second year student at the Yale School of Public Health and the President of Plant-Based for Public Health. Contact her at email@example.com.