Georgians once again find themselves with the eyes of the nation upon them as they choose their next United States senator in a hotly contested runoff election. The election, the last of the 2022 midterms, will be the final message voters will send to each of the two major parties before the new Congress is gaveled into session in January. While Democrats hope to strengthen their mandate with an expanded senate majority and Republicans hope to save the remnants of their “red ripple” with a 50/50 senate, the voters have already sent a clear message to Yalies: knock it off. 

While midterm elections are traditionally a referendum on the sitting President and his party, 2022’s elections were a referendum on former President Trump, his Republican party and Yale alums. Despite Yale graduates winning elections across the country, voters made their disapproval of prominent Yalies’ actions in recent years plain. The Big Lie was created and told by Trump but repeated and spread by Yale graduates. Senator Josh Hawley LAW ’06 was joined by 147 lawmakers, including Congressman Tom Cole GRD ’74, in objecting to the certification of Biden electors resulting in the attack on our Capitol on Jan. 6. While they worked to undermine our democracy from within, Oath Keepers founder Steward Rhodes LAW ’04 engaged in seditious conspiracy with four of his associates and members of his organization breaching the Capitol to stop the certification process. Alan Dershowitz LAW ’62 later defended Trump in his subsequent impeachment trial, ironically declaring his intention to “defend the integrity of the Constitution.” 

Millions of Americans lost loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic owing to the failed response of Secretary Alex Azar’s LAW ’91 Department of Health and Human Resources, while in the judiciary, Yalies eroded the rights of women, made our schools and streets less safe and blurred the lines between church and state. Despite allegations of sexual assault, Justice Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90 was rushed to the bench. The Court’s second Black justice, Clarence Thomas LAW ’74, cleared the way for racial gerrymandering and voting restrictions by gutting the Voting Rights Act, Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts, allowed corporations to make unlimited campaign contributions by declaring money to be speech, and now Justice Samuel Alito LAW ’75 is poised to take a sledgehammer to affirmative action in college admissions. 

The American people rejected these policies and the former president in the midterms, rewarding Yalies like Ron DeSantis ’01, who Republicans now see as the way forward to a post-Trump party, with a landslide victory in Florida. Even Yalies like senator-elect J.D. Vance LAW ’13, who won his race, saw Ohio trend blue compared to the 2020 election likely because of his association with former President Trump and the last two years of inane Republican policies. 

In times of crisis, Yale has educated individuals who devoted themselves to leaving this world a little better than when they found it. The Class of 1945 paused their education to fight fascism and authoritarianism in World War II. A monument to the memory of Yalies who gave their lives for freedom in the Great War stands in the Hewitt Quadrangle. Yale abolitionists fought to hold this country to the standards it proclaimed for itself in the Declaration and every first year is reminded that Nathan Hale’s YC 1773 great regret was that he had “but one life to give for [his] country.” For over 300 years we have produced Nobel Prize laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners, great thinkers and leaders, and it is only in the recent history of our country that we has suffered at the hand of Yalies. Yale is not alone in producing damaging leaders. Graduates of equally prestigious universities share responsibility for the position we find ourselves in today, but we are unique in our ability to change our present course because itis not the path history has marked out for us. From the earliest days of the Revolution, this country and the world have benefited greatly from the contributions of Yale graduates, and they can again. 

We often discuss our privilege to be Yalies, but not often enough our responsibilities as Yalies. In courtyards, common rooms, lecture halls and libraries, we embark on journeys of self-discovery and intellectual growth, often neglecting the important question of the impact we intend to have as a result of our time here. Beyond Yale’s gilded gates lies a world in desperate need of public servants and leaders, defenders of democracy and advocates for social justice, people who will rise above the desire for self-endeavor and the pursuit of ambition. If we remember that the talents, skills, gifts and opportunities granted to us are not actually our own, but loans which must be repaid by our dedication to the improvement of our world society, then we can rekindle the fire which burns at the heart of a true Yale education. 

In the difficult days ahead, as we battle the ghosts of our past and face the challenges of our future, the value of our education will become increasingly clear. Yale must aspire to be more than just a tradition and strive to create a bond between its students deeper than a company of scholars or society of friends, but a community of servant leaders who give more than they take, make life worth living for all of us and ensure a more fruitful life for those who will come after us. There is no greater challenge or bigger sacrifice but there is also great honor, courage and merit in that. For us, the fortunate and privileged, it is a happy burden. 

Despite what we read in the headlines, Yalies can make positive contributions to the life of this country. We must remember that we are not defined by the faults of those with whom we share an alma mater and that the times in which we live require us to not become disillusioned. Now more than ever, our world demands our engagement and honest efforts, regardless of field or profession. While the times in which we live are dangerous and divisive, they are also more open to the creative energy and constructive power of the minds and talents that can only be found here. This is a time for movers and shakers, builders and innovators, truth-tellers and barrier breakers.

Indeed, this is a time for Yalies. 

MICHAEL NDUBISI is a sophomore in Saybrook College. Contact him at 

Michael Ndubisi is co-editor of the Yale Daily News’ Opinion desk and one of the News’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion co-chairs. Michael was previously an opinion columnist for the News, contributor and managing editor of ‘Time, Change and the Yale Daily News: A History’ and an associate beat reporter covering student accessibility. Originally from Long Beach, California, he is a sophomore in Saybrook College majoring in Political Science.