I am glad the Yale Daily News accepts Letters to the Editor, with a generous allowance as to their length (400-500 words). It is wonderful that this very old collegiate publication still persists, after having served Yale University students in New Haven, Connecticut since January 28, 1878.
I am not a Yale College graduate, myself. I did apply, after my father had learned of a preference for legacy students, and saw an opportunity he did not want me to miss. However, I had not allowed academics to get in the way of my high school education, and my credentials did not meet minimum standards for admission to Yale College.
Instead, I wound up at a small, coordinate women’s college whose President, Sam Babbitt, is a Yale grad; and my major focus of study would be, not a formal field of study, but learning from the academic and personal instruction of another product of a Yale education, both B.A. and Ph.D., named David Miller. The contributions of these two, on top of those from my dad, who had a B.S. and Ph.D. from Yale, and the manifold great kindness of one Valentine Giamatti, a Yale B.A., have supported and sustained me in my life journey.
I had recent occasion to place a call to the office of Yale’s President Peter Salovey. I meant to comment to this person on two matters. (1) Having gone to great trouble to rename the former Calhoun College, Yale now celebrates receiving funding from Stephen Schwarzman, whose Blackstone Group intentionally monetizes the vulnerabilities of underprivileged renters. In these choices on the part of Yale, I see rank hypocrisy. (2) An ongoing lawsuit against Yale on behalf of Yale students with psychiatric diagnoses indicates to me that Yale is not delivering on its promise to provide a high-quality liberal arts education to its students. That qualified young people are running into trouble at, with and from Yale suggests to me that Yale, itself, is not doing well.
Back in 1983, I worked for a period of time at the Yale switchboards. For some reason, that experience seemed to be the one, in my life, in which my late parents took most pride. In order to have days free and to avoid some politics I saw taking place during the daytime switchboard shifts, I requested and was granted the graveyard shift. In my few months of service, I gained a perspective on Yale College that I would not otherwise have had.
Not to put too fine a point on it: I gained an impression that Yale College has a student body largely made up of entitled young white males, who have little consideration for anything besides advancing their status in life. In all of my service in supplying phone numbers to Yale College students, I do have one, but only one memory of a Yale College student who acknowledged my own humanity, by observing I had a cold and recommending tea with honey.
Mary Hayden Hall Y.D.S. MDiv 1981
B.D.S. STM 1986