During the renaming ceremony for Calhoun College’s dining hall, now named in honor of Roosevelt Thompson ’84, former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73 made a surprise appearance in the form of a letter to University President Peter Salovey.
Around 60 alumni and members of Thompson’s family gathered Thursday night to celebrate the legacy of a former Rhodes Scholarship recipient, freshman counselor, varsity athlete and beloved community member. A small reunion accompanied the ceremony, which Thompson’s seven freshman-year suitemates, his two brothers and friends from the classes of 1984 traveled from all over the world to attend. Salovey read Clinton’s letter — which arrived at Woodbridge Hall yesterday — in praise of Thompson’s “supernatural balance of self-possession and discipline with his keen awareness and deep concern for others.”
Prior to his death in an automobile accident during the final semester of his senior year at Yale, Thompson worked as an intern for Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas. Clinton endorsed the University’s decision to name Calhoun’s dining hall after Thompson, a move Clinton wrote would inspire Yale students who “have more power than they know, to be and do good.”
“When he won the Rhodes Scholarship, it must have been the easiest decision the selection committee has ever made,” wrote Clinton, a Rhodes scholar himself.
A portrait of Thompson — which hangs on one wall of the dining hall — was installed on Monday.
At the ceremony, friends and family members shared memories of Thompson and praised his commitment to civil service. Thompson’s friends and family said naming a dining hall after him was very appropriate, given that dining halls played a central role in Thompson’s undergraduate student life.
Leading the ceremony was Julia Adams, head of Calhoun College, who said Thompson’s recognition came at an appropriate time amid campus and national conversations about the name and legacy of John C. Calhoun, class of 1804.
Adams explained the details of Thompson’s portrait, noting that the apple blossoms and mockingbirds in the background represent the state flower and bird of Arkansas. These images, Adams said, reminded us of “the grace and … harmony of a natural order and the transcendent importance of our common humanity and human rights.”
“I wish I had thought of this myself,” Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway, a former head of Calhoun, said of the dining hall renaming.
Holloway said Thompson and Calhoun were mentioned in a conversation he had with Clinton while sitting next to the former president during a Class Day ceremony.
Bryan Blaney ’84, a close friend of Thompson’s, said were he alive, Thompson could have run for president in the 2016 election. Other classmates of Thompson’s reflected on the great potential and promise of their college friend.
“Before Barack Obama, it was our thought that [Thompson] would become the first African-American president,” Angela Harris ’84 said. “He was very well-respected. Would do anything for anybody.”
Thompson’s friends and family praised the Calhoun College leadership for deciding to name the dining hall after him, although some had expected the University to rename the entire college after Thompson.
Errol Crook ’84, who played with Thompson on the Yale football team, said the dining hall was the most appropriate place for Thompson to be honored because Thompson was a unique voice in the “strongly opinionated, but mostly civil” conversations that often take place when students have meals together.
“He was a listener with the precision of a surgeon who made very wise, observant, fact-based comments,” Crook said.
Bill Taylor ’84, a suitemate of Thompson’s for two years, said he would prefer changing the name of Calhoun College, but added that he was satisfied with the dining hall honor. Taylor said he enjoys imagining Calhoun turning over in his grave by the thought of an African-American being honored in a building with his name.
Augie Rivera ’84, another suitemate, flew from his home in Texas to attend the ceremony. He said Thompson was part of what made Yale special for him.
“The people you meet here will always stay with you,” Rivera said. “He may have left us early, but he’s always with us.”
A plaque bearing the dining hall’s new name was installed on a stone pillar in the dining hall. Salovey said he intends to frame the letter from Bill Clinton and hang it in the dining hall along with Thompson’s portrait.
During the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday, Oct. 19, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 addressed her plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans in order to continue funding Social Security. In response to Clinton’s jab about his undisclosed tax returns, Republican nominee Donald Trump delivered one of his trademark interruptions. Shaking his head, as if to say “what a shame,” he branded his opponent with a now-viral phrase: nasty woman.
No one can deny Trump has a gift for catchy nicknames. And with this one, he may have solidified Clinton’s lead in a key demographic: women, whose support for him was already plunging after the release of 2005 Access Hollywood tapes in which he bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy.”
From mid-September’s pre-debates NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll to one conducted post-tape leak in mid-October, Clinton’s lead over Trump in a four-way matchup swelled from 6 to 11 percent. As of Oct. 11, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight had compiled 12 national polls to find that Trump trailed Clinton by 15 points among female voters. For comparison, in 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is estimated to have lost among women by 8 points. In the last few weeks of the election, as her lead widens, Clinton has eased up on direct campaigning, lending her influence to tight Senate and House races.
Among college voters, even those who temper their support for Clinton, Trump’s statements have finally united self-identified “nasty women” around the Democratic nominee. At Yale, Trump’s debate comment set off a Twitter firestorm and launched multiple t-shirt campaigns. Eleanor Slota ’17 recalls her mother’s reaction during their viewing of the debate: “Has nasty women merchandise started circulating yet? Because it will.” And indeed, the Yale College Democrats have begun selling t-shirts emblazoned with “Nasty Woman” and “Bad Hombre,” another Trump debate quote.
Azeezat Adeleke ’17, vice-president of the Dems, can’t wait to wear her t-shirt. She believes students have taken to the term as a rallying cry, citing photos they’ve posted with absentee ballots — Clinton/Kaine box checked — captioned with a Trumpian epithet. At Yale, 80 percent of students support Clinton for the presidency, according to an October survey by the News. Among students who identify as Republicans, 29.92 percent plan to vote for Clinton, more than the 26.14 percent who support Trump.
It’s entirely safe to say Hillary Clinton has won Yale, though it’s no surprise that the undergraduate population has swung Democratic. (The University’s undergrads have essentially tended towards the leftmost fringe of political discourse since before the last footsteps of William F. Buckley Jr. ’50 echoed over the threshold of Skull and Bones.) But Clinton’s 80 percent is more complicated than it appears. According to a mid-October NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Clinton stood 13 points ahead of Trump among younger voters. A September New York Times/CBS poll showed that more than a third of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 planned to vote for a third-party candidate.
Though many at Yale supported Clinton from the start, as evidenced by the three-year tenure of Yale Students for Hillary, there was no shortage of ambivalence about her on campus. In August 2015, the News conducted its annual survey of incoming freshmen. The survey found that 38 percent of the class of 2019 supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (D–Vermont), while Clinton trailed with 23 percent.
To the left, to the left
For many students at Yale during the primary season, Bernie Sanders was a more appealing choice for president. During his visit to New Haven in April, Overheard at Yale was flooded with photos of the back of Sanders’ head — the closest one could get through the crowds that followed him.
Gabrielle Diaz ’18, the current Ward 22 Democratic Committee co-chair, characterizes college-age voters as generally further left than the Democratic Party. Esul Burton ’20, who has canvassed a few times for Clinton through the Yale Dems, remembers the primary season as follows: “One week I’d be feeling the Bern; the next, I’d be with her.” As a woman of color, Burton found Sanders’ positions on criminal justice reform and the Black Lives Matter movement appealing.
Though she voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary, Rita Wang ’19, the political action coordinator at the Yale Women’s Center, says she did so to encourage the Democratic Party to embrace more progressive policies as she still expected to support Hillary Clinton in the general election. Wang believes her ability to see herself as a political person stems from seeing Hillary Clinton throughout her life. “She has been in the public sphere as a politician for as long as I have been alive, and her loss in 2008 was all too reminiscent of the high school campaigns I have lost.” For Wang, women in power promote broader gender equality, especially given the obstacles they may face in being elected.
Musing on Clinton’s lack of support during the primary season, Wang said, “Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t speak the ‘woke’ language easily that us Yale students are so used to hearing from Bernie and on campus.” Layla Treuhaft-Ali ’17, former chair of the Party of the Left, believes the animosity from leftists toward Clinton reveals “pretty serious sexism.” But she argues that millennials, unlike their parents, are more interested in candidates’ policies than their identities. That opinion would resonate with the many millennial feminists across the U.S. who refused to support Clinton solely on the basis that she might break the last “glass ceiling” aspired to by their mother and grandmothers. “Is Hillary a good candidate for feminists? Her policies are much better for women than Trump’s, in terms of reproductive rights and health care, and that’s what I care about,” Treuhaft-Ali said. “Is she, personally, a feminist icon? Probably not, and that’s okay with me.”
In early February, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made a controversial statement: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Many believed her remark was directed at women, especially younger women, who were not planning to support Clinton.
As if to underscore the shift from generation to generation of feminists, a senior at Yale, sitting in the Women’s Center during their voter registration drive, responded to Albright’s comment with an explosive “fuck you!”
Yet women may still need to help each other. There’s no denying it: simply because she is the first woman to be a major party nominee, Clinton has faced some unprecedented difficulties on the national stage. Sarah Rose ’17, a member of the Party of the Left, mentioned that, for her, Clinton lacks a charismatic stage presence — but sarcastically noted that charisma, for many Americans, is “much easier to display when presenting as male with a deep voice.” Burton acknowledges the deep and subtle power of entrenched gender expectations, saying “part of me bought into the sexist portrayal of Clinton. She seemed untrustworthy and cold, and I didn’t want that in my president.”
Burton now enthusiastically supports Clinton. She believes that the labels assigned to her — “liar,” “crook,” “untrustworthy” — would not have been assigned to male politicians on either side of the aisle, mentioning Secretary of State John Kerry ’66 and Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Florida). Burton argues that “politicians across the board aren’t genuine and aren’t transparent, but we expect Clinton, as a woman, to be held to a higher standard.”
Though she acknowledges many are thrilled to shatter the glass ceiling, Rose believes that electing women as leaders must extend beyond the White House, and that the wage gap and social gender norms need to be addressed as well. Emaline Kelso ’17, who previously supported Bernie Sanders, agrees, but more bluntly. “Hillary will not ‘shatter the glass ceiling.’ A white, wealthy, highly-educated woman with deep political connections becoming president does not, cannot and will not signal the end of the patriarchy.” Kelso points to President Barack Obama’s election, arguing that it did not eliminate racism or resolve racial tension.
Eleanor Runde ’17 tempers Kelso’s argument. “Our national narrative changed when Obama was elected. The stories that we tell ourselves about what America is, and what America can be, changed. The same is true this November.” Runde argues that facets of a candidate’s identity matter to Americans who share those identities, and beyond that, to those who advocate for greater equality.
In her 1995 speech at the United Nations as First Lady, Hillary Clinton said, “Women’s rights are human rights,” a statement she echoed in her 2008 concession speech. During that campaign, Clinton had not stressed her identity as a female candidate, lest she receive the same criticism as 2000 Republican presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole, of whom one GOP consultant complained, “she has to have a message beyond ‘I am woman, hear me roar,’” referencing Helen Reddy’s 1971 feminist anthem. The idea among millennial feminists that gender should not be a primary motivating factor is not new.
But on July 28, 2016, Hillary Clinton was introduced by the voice of God, Morgan Freeman, to accept the Democratic nomination. Opening the convention, she had appeared after the portraits of all the men she hopes to succeed in the White House on a massive screen, in the midst of shattering glass. Into “18 million pieces,” as Clinton put it in her 2008 concession speech, referring to the number of votes she received in the primary. Despite a less ardent desire to see a woman in the White House from younger feminists and criticism of her behavior from both sides of the aisle, Clinton had decided to embrace the historic nature of her candidacy. Ironically, it is her opponent who has unintentionally allowed her to capitalize on it in the final weeks of the election.
The Trump Touch
When Trump closed his eyes, shook his head and called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman,” he appears to have underestimated how many women had yet to cast their ballots.
Josh Altman ’17, president of the conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale, believes Trump’s attitudes toward women everywhere have now drawn far more focus than Clinton’s own gender. He believes the tapes seriously hurt Trump’s candidacy due to a wives-and-daughters effect. “Republican men cannot fathom having to justify these comments … to their female family members.” Emmy Reinwald ’17, co-president of the Yale College Republicans, calls the tapes “the straw that broke the camel’s back” for many Republican women who had previously backed Trump, ignoring his personal behavior and prioritizing conservative values and Supreme Court nominations. But for some Democrats on campus, this shift is too little, too late. “If the majority of those middle-range voters cared about women and respecting women, they would have been suspicious of Trump before his pussy-grabbing comments,” said Diaz.
The “nasty woman” comment also touched a nerve among younger voters. It made Burton “livid,” shocking her in a way the Access Hollywood tapes did not. “Maybe it was because he said it during a presidential debate on national TV, which meant he intended it to be heard publicly, but I was pretty upset.” said Burton. “To say that directly to Clinton when debating her on live television? It’s disgusting.”
Helen Price ’18, co-director of Unite Against Sexual Assault Yale, argues that this election in particular has “put a spotlight on the kind of subtle sexism that virtually every woman is familiar with — the obsession with Clinton not seeming “likeable” and that being discussed in very gendered terms; the fact that she — the most qualified candidate to ever run for president — has to stand on a stage and debate with a man who is wildly unqualified and misogynistic as if they were equals.” Price said that the “nasty woman” moment has electrified many millennial women and allowed them to identify more closely with Clinton. “Women at Yale, and educated women everywhere, are so often characterized as aggressive, mean or pushy for voicing our opinions or being ambitious.”
From her years as part of the Yale Political Union, Treuhaft-Ali remembers men criticizing her as “too aggressive,” and “too angry,” while men speaking alongside her were praised for being “assertive and convincing.” She was instructed to lower her voice so as not to sound too feminine. Men in the audience gestured for her to cut her speeches short.
However, the effect of #NastyWoman has some doubters. Bree Peilen, a junior at the University of Michigan who previously organized for Bernie Sanders and now does so for Clinton, said the phrase seems to be uniting feminists already committed to Clinton, rather than swinging undecided voters.
On the right, Amalia Halikias ’15, a former member of the Yale College Republicans, the Tory Party and the Buckley program, thinks the “nasty woman pride response is laugh-out-loud hilarious.” She wonders if her social media feeds would have “blown up” had Trump called Hillary a “stupid woman” instead. Reinwald, also of the Yale College Republicans, characterized the phrase as a great sound bite, saying, “the Clinton campaign couldn’t have scripted anything better; it was a hashtag waiting to happen!” She says, “It’s become a rallying cry for feminists; they’ve reappropriated the insult and wear it as a badge of honor.”
Runde couldn’t agree more. She believes the reclaiming of the epithet on social media has allowed women to create power out of disempowerment, celebrating their “nastiness.” “To self-label as a ‘nasty woman’ is to acknowledge prejudice and to proudly proclaim non-conformity to restrictive standards,” said Runde, who will perform tonight with the Sphincter Troupe, a feminist political comedy sketch group, at their “Nasty Women” show.
“It is to laugh in the face of that prejudice, and sometimes, that’s all you can do.”
The Impossible Election
In her commencement speech at Wellesley in 1969, before she was Secretary Clinton, HRC, Hillz, Hil(liar)y, or simply Hillary, Hillary Diane Rodham told her graduating class, “the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible.”
Many things that seemed impossible are now quite possible. A thrice-married tycoon was chosen as the evangelical standard bearer in a primary landslide, from a field of 17, including senators and governors. The Speaker of the House has refused to continue campaigning with his party’s candidate. A self-proclaimed “Democratic Socialist” gave an establishment candidate a run for her money that ultimately threatened to split the Democratic convention. And a woman is running for president.
Despite ongoing campus discussions about free speech, Yale remains deeply unwelcoming to students with conservative political beliefs, according to a News survey distributed earlier this month.
Nearly 75 percent of 2,054 respondents who completed the survey — representing views across the political spectrum — said they believe Yale does not provide a welcoming environment for conservative students to share their opinions on political issues. Among the 11.86 percent of respondents who described themselves as either “conservative” or “very conservative,” the numbers are even starker: Nearly 95 percent said the Yale community does not welcome their opinions. About two-thirds of respondents who described themselves as “liberal” or “very liberal” said Yale is not welcoming to conservative students.
“Anybody who supports Donald Trump or is a Republican is just hated,” said one respondent, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of backlash from liberal students. “I just get the general vibe that Republicans aren’t respected for their beliefs as much as maybe the liberal people are.”
More than 60 percent of the 103 Yale students supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said they are “uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” discussing their political beliefs at Yale.
The 2,054 respondents make up 37.58 percent of Yale’s undergraduate population, and results have not been adjusted for bias.
By contrast, more than 98 percent of respondents said Yale is welcoming to students with liberal beliefs. And among students who described themselves as “liberal” or “very liberal,” 85 percent said they are “comfortable” or “very comfortable” sharing their political views in campus discussions.
In an interview with the News, Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway said the results of the survey were lamentable but unsurprising. Holloway attributed conservative students’ discomfort at sharing their views partly to the pervasiveness of social media.
“So much of your generation’s world is managed through smart phones. There’s no margin anymore for saying something stupid,” Holloway said. “People have been saying dumb things forever, but when I was your age word of mouth would take a while. Now it’s instantaneous, now context is stripped away.”
Holloway added that Yale is one of many liberal arts universities where conservative views are highly unpopular, noting that in election years the political environment can become especially heated.
According to a 2015 article in the Harvard Crimson’s weekly magazine, many conservative students at Harvard College feel like their political opinions are neither respected nor appreciated. And in a recent article in The College Fix, a right-leaning online news outlet, a student at Columbia said that he feared he would be “physically assaulted” if he displayed conservative images or slogans on his clothing.
Still, Karl Notturno ’17, an outspoken Trump supporter, said he feels comfortable discussing his beliefs, even though he agrees that overall Yale is unwelcoming to conservative viewpoints.
“I have been very honest for most of my life. I’m not going to change myself to what others want me to be,” Notturno said. “I’m a little bit of an anomaly, but most Trump supporters I know don’t feel comfortable talking about it.”
Kevin Olteanu ’19, a member of the conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. Program, said his views make him a “rebel in the crowd” who keeps conversations in his friend group interesting.
Scott Smith ’18 said that while he would be considered a liberal outside of Yale, he is more conservative than most students on campus. Smith said his views have grown more conservative over the course of his time at the University.
“I think on social issues I’ve become somewhat less liberal mainly because of how incredibly liberal Yale is,” Smith said. “I’m not a fan of going along with the majority on everything. I think I’ve been pushing back against all of that mainly because it’s just frustrating to see only one viewpoint being expressed, and expressed loudly.”
But not all conservative Yalies feel as comfortable outside of the majority. Grant Richardson ’19 said it sometimes feels “intimidating” to voice conservative opinions during discussion sections.
Claire Williamson ’17 said it became harder to express conservative viewpoints during the controversies surrounding Calhoun College and the title“master” last fall. Students who did not hold the “popular vocal opinion” of renaming the college and changing the title were seen not only as wrong, she said, but as bad people.
“I would say it’s a frustrating Catch-22 to be a conservative-leaning moderate or conservative on campus,” Williamson said. “You’re sort of airing your own political views and trying to talk about them with the risk that someone disagrees with you to the point of assuming you’re an immoral person because of them. You either stay silent or you risk alienating some of your friends and groups around you.”
Still, political science lecturer Jim Sleeper ’69 said unwritten rules about when one should and should not share controversial opinions have existed for decades and are “woven into the fabric” of the University.
“Some of what we call self-censorship is necessary and good,” he said. “What you disagree about productively depends on certain things you agree not to disagree about. Civility requires self-restraint.”
Clarification (Oct. 27): Describing the statement he initially provided the News as unintentionally unclear, Dean Jonathan Holloway issued the following: “In no way did I intend to imply that the views of any student or faculty were stupid or should be dismissed. I meant to lament the fact that meaningful conversations were too often reduced or misconstrued in the shortened messages of social media, leading to a lack of understanding. I apologize if my words were misconstrued and taken to mean anything otherwise.”
In 1969, the same year Yale College went coed, a young woman entered Yale Law School. Like many of us, she was an idealist: She took on child abuse cases and provided free legal advice to the poor. Like many of us, she was a go-getter who worked at the Child Study Center and conducted research on migrant labor. Long before she became Secretary of State Hillary Clinton LAW ’73, Hillary Diane Rodham was working to make our country a better place. Almost four decades later, the News is proud to endorse her for president.
We do not endorse Clinton solely because of the disqualifying flaws of her opponent, Donald Trump, whose campaign has disgusted and astonished our board. Indeed, our endorsement of Clinton should come as no surprise: A recent survey conducted by the News found that a vast majority of students support her candidacy. We endorse her because we, as young people, recognize this election is a turning point for our country. And the choice couldn’t be more clear.
Voting for Clinton is our obligation to ourselves and to future generations. Hillary Clinton has a long history of public service, and has demonstrated unwavering dedication to progressive values. She knows what it means to fight — for America and for Americans. In her long career in government, she has embodied a value elemental to both our institution and our nation: an abiding commitment to public service. In the words of none other than the Republican nominee: “She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up.”
Do not be lulled into complacency by the opinion polls: On the eve of Brexit, most predicted the “Remain” campaign would prevail. The best way to quash Trump’s bullying and bigotry is to elect Clinton in a landslide and prove that he cannot corrupt our finest values.
Perhaps you voted for someone else in the primary. Perhaps you’re a die-hard conservative, who cannot stomach Trump but will never vote for liberal policies. Or perhaps you just haven’t gotten around to registering to vote. If you are tempted to abstain or to cast a protest vote, remember: Compromise is not a sign of weakness, just as thoughtless dogmatism is not a sign of strength. The ability to make difficult trade-offs is a core value of both our democracy and our liberal arts education.
Campus conversation should shape our political priorities as Yale students in this election. Every day, Yale invites and demands ethical reflection from its students. As a community, we struggle for racial justice, debate the student income contribution and aspire toward a campus culture that affirms gender equality and sexual respect.
Clinton’s agenda reflects our own anxieties and hopes — for these issues and others. Her ends are bold, but her means are pragmatic. She will address our nation’s student debt crisis by ensuring every student can graduate debt-free from a public college in their state. She will continue the fight for racial justice by combating discrimination in policing and reforming our criminal justice system. She will act against the scourge of climate change by investing in clean energy. And she will give women, working families and queer people the respect they deserve.
Regardless of what happens on Election Day, life will all but certainly go on at Yale. But not too far from our campus, elementary schoolchildren could wake up fretting that their parents will be deported. Teenage girls could wake up wondering if it is okay for a man to touch them inappropriately and judge them by how they look. Trump voters could wake up euphoric, only to be let down by a president who exploited their stories and struggles to win their votes yet has no concrete plans to improve their lives.
We could elect a candidate who has spent her life fighting for the rights of all Americans, or we could elect a candidate who has threatened to throw his opponent in jail. We could elect the first female president, or we could elect a man who has openly bragged about perpetrating sexual assault. We could elect a seasoned leader who will confront any foreign policy threat with experience and restraint, or we could give a volatile provocateur access to the nuclear codes.
Like the young woman who arrived in New Haven in 1969, we have the power to realize a different future. That power lies in our vote. Let’s use it to elect Hillary Clinton.
Members of the Managing Board of 2018 who have worked on either presidential campaign recused themselves from the conception and execution of this editorial.
Forty years after graduating from Yale Law School, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 will receive an Award of Merit from the school’s Alumni Association at this year’s alumni weekend in October.
The annual award honors either a distinguished alumnus or a professor who has been a full-time faculty member for at least 10 years. Clinton will receive the award for her “extraordinary contribution to the legal profession,” according to the school’s website.
Earlier this summer, the American Bar Association announced that it would honor Clinton with the ABA medal — the organization’s highest honor — at its annual meeting in August, recognizing Clinton for her accomplishments as a lawyer and human rights activist.
Before entering public service, Clinton served as a counsel on the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives during the Watergate investigation. As an attorney in private practice, she engaged in pro bono child advocacy, eventually becoming her firm’s first full female partner.
Clinton will address alumni weekend attendees on Oct. 5 at 3:45 p.m. in Woolsey Hall.
Jake Sullivan ’98 LAW ’03 will serve as Vice President Joe Biden’s new national security adviser starting this week, according to a Tuesday press release from the White House.
Sullivan will move to the vice president’s office from the State Department, where he was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s LAW ’73 director of policy planning and deputy chief of staff. He joined the State Department in 2009, after teaching at the University of St. Thomas Law School and clerking for Judge Guido Calabresi ’53 LAW ’58 of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
“[Sullivan] is respected across the administration for his intellect, his dedication to our country and the perspective he brings to even the most complex issues,” Biden said in the press release. “He has been part of some of the biggest foreign policy challenges our nation has faced, and he’s always handled himself with incredible skill.”
Sullivan graduated from Yale College with degrees in political science and international studies in 1998. He has an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University, which he attended as a Rhodes scholar, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
She may have just left her job in Foggy Bottom, but former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton LAW ’73 seems set on staying in touch with the American public.
The one-time first lady has launched a new website that simply features a photo of her with a button labeled “contact.” Hitting “contact” produces a pop-up window, in which, in the spirit of full disclosure, I ventured to enter the required personal information — first and last name, email, phone number — and indicated my purpose — “other,” as opposed to “scheduling request” or “media inquiry.” And in the questions/comments box, I took a more informal approach: “Hey, unlike everyone else, I’ve ascertained you don’t really want to run in 2016, so maybe we can be friends?”
Personal opinions abounded in reaction to the website: Pundits took to Twitter and other social media outlets to speculate simultaneously about the website’s purpose and Hillary’s future. Still, mainstream opinion regarding her performance as President Barack Obama’s top diplomat has been overwhelmingly positive. Her political prospects have only brightened, and she now arguably outshines her husband, former President Bill Clinton LAW ‘73, on both the world and American political stage.
But for now, the future of today’s “most powerful woman in American history” — as she was dubbed in a recent Newsweek cover story — seems apolitical. Clinton has described her current priorities only in relation to women’s rights, telling The Daily Beast in 2011 that female issues, and not the political stage, are “the unfinished business of the 21st century.”
Guess we’ll just wait to see where America’s “Iron Lady” goes next. I’m still waiting for her to get back to me myself.