Tag Archive: Yale-Harvard game

  1. Y-H Spissue: Harvard students navigate new travel, lodging, and cost challenges to attend Yale-Harvard Game

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    Since learning that Yalies cannot host Harvard students the night before the Yale-Harvard game, students are navigating a host of considerations to travel to New Haven and take in the sporting event.

    For the 2021 Yale-Harvard football game on Nov. 20, the first since the pandemic, Harvard students will not be permitted to stay in Yale dorms due to COVID-19 restrictions. Harvard students have been encouraged to leave Cambridge for Yale on Saturday morning. For this reason, Harvard’s shuttles that are usually offered on both the Friday and Saturday of the weekend of the game are only being offered on Saturday, and at minimal capacity. Previously, Harvard students would often come to Yale on the Friday before the game and stay in Yale dorms. With restrictions in place, many Harvard students told the News they are searching for alternate lodging. 

    “I think this new plan disadvantages students who cannot afford rides [or] places to stay overnight and people who do not know individuals at Yale especially since students from Ivy League feeder schools have more friends at Yale,” Harvard junior Andrea Liu said.

    Liu said she has friends who attend Yale, and has friends from Harvard who live in New Haven. She plans to come to Yale on Friday afternoon and stay at her Harvard friend’s New Haven house. Liu believes going on Friday is a “better plan” than taking one of the Harvard shuttles on Saturday; she was worried about not arriving at The Game on time. 

    Liu says many other students at Harvard are also coming on the Friday before The Game. Some are planning to rent AirBnBs, and others are looking to stay with off-campus students, she said. 

    “[We] are not sure about the consequences and are not worried about them, but rather our larger fear is, what if Yale doesn’t let us in [to dorms],” Liu said in regards to her decision to avoid staying with friends on campus at Yale. 

    Kalyan Palepu, a Harvard junior, has a similar plan. He plans to come on Friday and stay with the family of a friend who lives in New Haven. 

    “I have to believe that Yale won’t force Harvard students who come on Friday hoping to sleep at Yale to not have a place to sleep for the night,” Palepu wrote in an email to the News.

    This is especially worrisome for students on financial aid, Harvard junior Diana Meza said. Meza is a student on financial aid and is planning to stay with friends at Yale. She said Harvard offered free round-trip transportation on Saturday to students eligible through the Harvard Student Events Fund––a program at Harvard that offers qualifying students free tickets to student events, according to Harvard’s website––but those tickets were sold out by the time Meza tried to purchase them. 

    Tickets for the Yale-Harvard game were available for pickup at various athletic events throughout the past week and at Payne Whitney Gym.

  2. Y-H Spissue: Nolan Grooms takes reigns of Yale offense

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    Sophomore Nolan Grooms ’24 entered Team 148’s season solidly placed as the back-up quarterback. Junior Griffin O’Connor ’23, meanwhile, entered the year as starting quarterback, with high expectations after setting a Yale record for single-game passing yards en route to his Rookie of the Year award in 2018. O’Connor had been sitting behind Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Kurt Rawlings ’20 and was ready for his first full season at the helm.

    To begin the year, head coach Tony Reno used his creativity to keep Grooms involved. The sophomore was sprinkled into the offensive gameplan, similar to how the Saints used Taysom Hill while he played with Drew Brees. Grooms flashed as a runner to start the year and took advantage of his first extended action as a passer. Against Lehigh in early October, Grooms threw for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Two weeks later, O’Connor had arguably the toughest start of his career against UConn, throwing for only 59 yards on 23 attempts and three interceptions. Grooms replaced O’Connor at halftime, spurring a second half comeback and pushing the game to the final play.

    In the week that followed, head coach Tony Reno said, “Nolan really distanced himself [from O’Connor] this week in practice and in the second half of the game against UConn … Griffin is an extraordinary player, and he’s a huge part of this team. We just felt that Nolan gave us a better chance to do what we needed to do offensively.”

    Making the first start of his collegiate career against Penn the following weekend, Grooms put together a dazzling display of offense to lead his team to a 42–28 victory. When the final whistle blew, Grooms had thrown for 283 yards, two touchdowns and just one interception, adding a team high 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. For his performance, Grooms was awarded the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week accolade.

    “I really pride myself on being a passer first,” Grooms said. “But then, once stuff breaks down, you gotta be able to move a little bit, so I got to be decisive … I got to keep working, gotta keep my eyes downfield as a passer, but as soon as I personally pass the line of scrimmage, it’s time to go.”

    In his following start against Columbia on a rain-filled afternoon, Grooms helped lead the way for Team 148 in what was its most complete game of the season — putting 37 on the board against a stingy Columbia defense that had only allowed 16 points per game entering the contest.

    “Coming into the game, we knew they were going to give us one on one, especially with the rain,” Grooms said. “We knew if we won a couple of one on ones, we’d win the game.” 

    In a must-win game against Brown the following weekend, a cold Saturday afternoon in Providence stood no chance of cooling off any of the fire that had been building under Grooms throughout the season’s second half. The South Carolina native passed for a career-high 330 yards to go along with three touchdowns and 31 rushing yards en route to a 63-point shellacking of the Bears. Grooms improved to 3–0 as a starter and took home his second ​​Ivy League Player of the Week accolade of the year for his performance. 

    “Obviously game reps are very important for a quarterback,” Grooms told the News after the game. “But I feel like here we do a great job sort of simulating the game situation in practice … it’s easy to play quarterback when you’ve got guys like Melvin Rouse … [and] Darrion Carrington.”

    Following last week’s loss against Princeton, Grooms is 3–1 as a starter in his collegiate career.

  3. Y-H Spissue: Clay Patterson grows as defensive leader

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    When looking at the numbers put up by defensive lineman Clay Patterson ’24 in 2021, it is not surprising that he was named to the Buck Buchanan Watch List for being the best defensive player in the FCS.

    As a senior at Frisco Reedy High School in 2018, Patterson put together a season of defensive dominance that saw 13 sacks, 76 tackles and 22 tackles for loss. After deciding to take his talents to New Haven with the Blue and White, Patterson served as a reserve defensive lineman in 2019 with the expectation that he would enter the defensive line rotation in 2020.

    This expectation would not become a reality until 2021 following the COVID-19-cut 2020 season. When Ivy football made its highly anticipated return in September of this year, it did not take long for Patterson to show Ancient Eight offensive coordinators that he was more than deserving of a starting spot on the defensive line. 

    A week after notching two sacks in the season’s Ivy League opener against Cornell, the Texas native would go on to have a performance for the ages, securing a game-high nine solo tackles and four sacks against Lehigh University — earning him Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week​​ honors.

    “I think that, as a whole, our defense played great against Lehigh,” Patterson said when asked to comment on his performance. “My goal personally is just to play hard every play. When you pay hard, good things will happen. On the [defensive] line we do a lot of movement on third downs. We also have a lot of different guys, whether it be the ends or interior linemen, working to get others on the line open. It just goes to show how we have a lot of trust in each other, since we expect the person who’s open on the play to execute.” 

    Since then, Patterson has gone on to register a total of 11.5 sacks in the eight games he has started — three more than the next closest player in the Ivy League. He leads all other Ancient Eight players with 12.5 tackles for loss and is ranked fourth in the nation with 1.36 sacks per game. 

    On the year, Patterson has compiled a total of 42 tackles, good for 22nd in the league, and has been one of the driving forces behind a Bulldog defense that has put together one of highest efficiency ratings in the Ancient Eight. 

    “Clay [Patterson] has done an amazing job of growing week in and week out,” Reno said after the Lehigh matchup. “You can see how he’s been playing more freely and more confidently as the season has been progressing. He’s a very athletic interior defensive lineman and has a skillset that’s really tough to handle if you’re an offensive lineman.” 

    Patterson will be in action at 12 p.m. this Saturday for the 137th rendition of The Game.

  4. Y-H Spissue: The Yale football alumni experience at The Game

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    Team 148 is set to face off against Harvard in the 137th playing of The Game on November 20. For alumni, The Game is a massive draw to return to campus, especially for those who once played on the football team. 

    One of the most important traditions for many former football players is the tailgate before the game. Outside of the Yale Bowl, Lots D, F and H are overrun with football alumni as early as 10 a.m.

    “If you just go between Lot F and Lot D, you’re gonna see, you know, 75 people you played football with. They’re all gonna be over in that area,” said offensive lineman Steve Webster ’96.

    The opportunity to see old teammates at the annual meeting of the Bulldogs and the Crimson is something that former players look forward to. Every year, alumni come from all corners of the country to gather in New Haven or Cambridge.

    For alumni, The Game is both a time to reconnect with old friends and teammates, and also a chance to cheer on the current team. Many alumni look back on fond memories of past victories over that school up the river. 

    “I remember our junior and senior year we won. I remember my junior year, I sacked the Harvard quarterback to end the game, and we won 33 to 31. That was the last play of the game,” said defensive lineman John Lykouretzos ’95. “It was kind of a coverage sack, I won’t take all the credit.”

    Although these memories of The Game were from decades ago, nothing can dull the reminisces of glory against the Crimson.

    The Bulldog alumni still feel a part of the team and the long tradition of Yale football. Every former player seems to remember every snap they ever played in The Game, without fail.

    “I just think it’s good to see how the program continues to build and evolve and it’s always encouraging to see that it’s, at the same time, kind of honoring and remembering the former teams, especially on the plaza at The Bowl. It’s always fun to go find your name,” said former center Jay Sturhahn ’95, “To feel like you’ve got a connection to the current team. It’s a really good experience and I really have enjoyed sharing it with my kids too.”

    For these alumni, one constant will remain in the years to come — the singular goal: beat Harvard. Above all else, the competitive spirit of Yale versus Harvard prevails.

    Whether on the playing field or up in the stands, Yale football players of all ages never lose their love for The Game. 

    “I think it’s a homecoming, and a phenomenal opportunity to come back and watch the competition, cheer against Harvard, and reconnect with friends and meet a lot of new people,” Lykouretzos said. 

    This year’s matchup will be the 137th iteration of The Game.

  5. Y-H Spissue: It’s Yale-Harvard, and that means tailgating is back for a weekend

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    For 362 days out of the year, the Yale community and the athletics department stay mostly separate. The annual Yale-Harvard football game, however, changes everything.

    School spirit reaches an all-time high in the days leading up to the game. Students who don’t know the difference between a home run and a touchdown spend their days tailgating and proclaiming “Beat Harvard!” Tailgating, that nearly-lost tradition on Yale’s campus, makes a grand revival every year at The Game. During the football season, only about 40 students will make the trek to the Yale Bowl to partake in burgers and beer before each game. Against Harvard, however, most of the student body partakes in some form of tailgating. 

    Linton Roberts ’24, President of Yale’s tailgating club, the Whaling Crew, spoke about the environment at the game.

    “Every student group on campus is throwing parties before and after the game,” Roberts said. “The alumni association typically throws a massive tailgate… If I was a student going to the game for the first time, the best thing you can do is just show up to everything. That’s the most fun part.” 

    The Game –– along with the tailgates and parties that come with it –– is one of the biggest community events of the year. To many, the actual athletic competition is far outweighed by the time spent with friends and fellow members of the Yale community.

    Most groups hold open Yale-Harvard events. Students do not have to plan out their day, but can float between groups enjoying various activities and social scenes. Carla Sanchez-Noya ’22 spoke of the welcoming and fun nature of these events.

    “It was really great when I was there, [the official tailgate] was organized by college,” Sanchez-Noya explained. “Everybody really wanted to be there. And you’re hanging out with people in your college… Everybody just wants to have a good time and beat Harvard.”

    While Sanchez-Noya and Roberts have experienced Yale tailgates before, a large segment of the Yale community has not. First-years and sophomores who did not take gap years have not attended Yale-Harvard before.

    For them, the week marks an entirely new experience. Some, like Eli Buchdahl ’25, expressed excitement about experiencing the tailgating and pageantry surrounding the game.

    “I’m really excited for the experience of the entire school coming together in a spirited way where we are really one community with one goal and one enemy,” Buchdahl said. He also explained that he was excited “to get some of that big-school football Saturday vibes that Yale isn’t exactly known for.”

    According to Judy Schiff — Yale Library’s chief research archivist — the tradition of tailgating ahead of sporting events started at Yale. 

    “Not only did football start at Yale with Walter Camp… but also the custom of tailgating,” Schiff told NBC Connecticut in 2019.

    Then, those who wished to see the Bulldogs take on the Crimson would either take the train or drive their newfangled automobiles to New Haven and potluck ahead of the kickoff.

    Yale tailgates can be traced back to 1906, eight years before the Yale Bowl was constructed.

    Andrew Cramer | andrew.cramer@yale.edu

  6. FOOTBALL: Yale set to host The Game in fall 2021

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    If Ivy League athletic competition can occur in fall 2021, the 137th edition of the Yale-Harvard football game is set to occur in New Haven.

    In 2019, the Bulldogs hosted The Game at the Yale Bowl, capturing a dramatic double-overtime victory over the Crimson in front of 44,989 fans. This November, Harvard would have hosted the 2020 installment of the rivalry on Nov. 21 in Boston. But with the COVID-19 pandemic putting a stop to fall-semester competition in the Ancient Eight, both teams and their respective fan bases are set to meet back in New Haven for the second consecutive time in fall 2021.

    “We’re going to be following our 2021 schedule,” Yale football head coach Tony Reno told the News. “I just think from a big picture standpoint, and from the perspective of all eight teams in the conference, if you’re going to change the league scheduling, it would create a lot of inequity in home and away games. So for the athletic directors to just reset it and aim for what the original 2021 fall season would have looked like makes much more sense.”

    Mike Gambardella, Yale’s associate athletic director for strategic communications, also confirmed to the News that the Bulldogs are set to host The Game in fall 2021. Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris and Harvard’s Associate Director of Athletics Tim Williamson did not respond to the News’ requests for comment.

    The Ivy League Council of Presidents announced the cancellation of fall-semester intercollegiate athletic competition in early July, and the conference has not yet released an update on the status of competition after Jan. 1, 2021. The July decision left open the possibility that “fall sport competition would be feasible in the spring,” promising a decision “at a later date.”

    Marisa Peryer, Staff Photographer

    According to Reno, the football team has mainly focused on preparing for fall 2021 this past semester.

    “We’ve really just pressed the reset button because we would have finished our season next week,” Reno said. “So hopefully, in December, we’ll be back on track to play football in 2021.”

    Last November, the Bulldogs’ dramatic 50–43 win over Harvard capped a 9–1 season and secured the Bulldogs an Ivy League championship. Quarterback Kurt Rawlings ’20 led the Elis with 417 passing yards and 101 yards on the ground in a game that lasted four hours and 36 minutes, delayed by halftime protesters and two overtimes.

    Yale wide receiver Mason Tipton ’24, who hauled in a crucial touchdown for the Bulldogs with 1:10 remaining in the fourth quarter during last year’s edition of The Game, expressed excitement about being able to play in New Haven again next fall.

    “I’m not complaining,” Tipton said. “The atmosphere at the Yale–Harvard game was pretty dope. So I’ll take it, I’ll take that again.”

    Lukas Flippo, Photo Editor

    Although fall-semester play has been canceled, Yale student-athletes enrolled in residence have been able to engage in limited training for most of the fall. Phase I weight training has given enrolled players the opportunity to get into the weight room in order to regain any strength that was lost during quarantine.

    Punter Jack Bosman ’24, who is on a leave of absence, said there are weekly meetings for remote players to receive updates on Yale’s training and the University’s COVID-19 situation. He said the team breaks out into their position groups on Zoom, where unenrolled or off-campus students can discuss footage taken of the players enrolled. Bosman said he thinks a spring 2021 football season is unlikely.

    “I don’t really see us playing in the spring because it would make it really difficult for future seasons,” Bosman said. “Then at some point you’d have to have a back-to-back season, which wouldn’t really make much sense for injuries and postseason surgeries.”

    Bosman believes that starting when the players get back from winter break, the team will begin preparing like they would for a normal fall season. He thinks the coaches will have them in a regimen that is pretty much identical to other years’ postseason plans.

    Although the future of athletic competition remains uncertain, Tipton is certain the group will be ready for next season, regardless of when it begins.

    “I know the team,” Tipton said. “Whether we play in the spring or we play in the fall, everybody on the team will be ready when it comes. The guys have definitely taken advantage of the time we’ve gotten off.”

    After 136 meetings with Harvard, Yale leads the series, 68–60–8.

    Jared Fel contributed reporting.

    Kaitlin Flores | kaitlin.flores@yale.edu

  7. FOOTBALL | Bulldogs fall to Harvard


    Harvard was a 33-point favorite over the Elis coming into the 129th playing of The Game. In rivalries like these, however, Yale proved that predictions mean nothing.

    Yale (2–8, 1–6 Ivy) stuck with Harvard (8–2, 5–2) for 60 minutes but ultimately fell 34–24. The Cantabs extended their recent string of successes over the Bulldogs, winning for the sixth straight year.

    Yale battled the Crimson to a 3–3 tie at the halftime break. The defense started the day on a high note when linebacker Dylan Drake ’13 sacked Crimson quarterback Colton Chapple on the second play from scrimmage.

    Although Yale was forced to punt on its first ensuing drive, the Eli defensive front was again able to break through Harvard’s protection on the next drive. Linebacker Will McHale ’13 downed Chapple 11 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

    The Crimson managed just two first downs in the opening quarter, but a strong showing by its defense limited the Bulldogs to just three first downs. Quarterback Derek Russell ’13 was under center for the first time since playing against Penn a month ago.

    Yale struck first with 00:21 left in the first quarter. Kicker Philippe Panico ’13 gave Yale a 3–0 lead with a 29-yard field goal.

    Kicker David Mothander responded on Harvard’s next drive, splitting the uprights from 23 yards to knot the game up at three. Neither team was able to score for the rest of the half, thanks in part to penalties on Harvard’s offensive line. Three false starts were called on Harvard in the first two quarters. The Crimson racked up a total of seven penalties for 55 yards before the break.

    The third quarter saw the scoring pick up, starting with 37-yard field goal by Mothander to put Harvard up 6–3 with 8:53 remaining in the third. After the Cantabs forced a Yale punt, Chapple drove Harvard 63 yards on seven plays for the game’s first touchdown. Passing for 28 yards on the drive, Chapple took it himself with an 18-yard scoring run at the 4:51 mark in the third quarter.

    Although Russell completed all seven of his passes in the first half, Yale’s offense was unable to stretch the field. That changed when Reno put Henry Furman ’14 back at quarterback. Furman immediately showed off his arm, finding a diving wide receiver Cam Sandquist ’14 over the middle for 46 yards on his first drive.

    Running back Tyler Varga ’15 then took over as Yale’s signal caller and found the end zone two plays later when he froze Harvard’s defense with a pump fake, then ran in to cut the lead to 13–10.

    A three-and-out by Harvard left Yale with the ball on its own 29-yard line. The Elis then opened up the final quarter of play with a 12-yard touchdown strike from Furman to wide receiver Grant Wallace ’15. Furman was flushed from the pocket, but he threw on the run and Wallace came to meet the ball for the score and a 17–13 Yale lead.

    Harvard took the lead right back in just 1:35 when Chapple finished a 5-play, 64-yard drive with a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Andrew Berg.

    Yale was unable to get a first down and punted, but nose guard Nick Daffin ’13 intercepted Chapple on Harvard’s 33. Yale battled its way down the field to set up third and goal on Harvard’s 2-yard line, then Varga rushed up the gut for a touchdown. Yale took a 24–20 lead with 7:07 to go, but the Cantabs were not done.

    Chapple broke free on a 61-yard dash, but defensive back Collin Bibb ’13 tripped him up at the Yale 9 to prevent a touchdown. Yale appeared to have kept Harvard out of the end zone when linebacker Ryan Falbo ’13 knocked down a pass on fourth and eight, but he was flagged for defensive holding and Harvard was awarded a new first down at Yale’s 4.

    The Elis paid for the penalty two plays later when Chapple hit tight end Cameron Brate in the back of the end zone to put Harvard up 27–24 at the 4:44 mark.

    After Furman’s pass was tipped on second down, Sandquist was dragged down for no gain on third down and the Elis punted on fourth and four from deep within their own territory.

    Harvard’s drive started off with false start to back the Crimson up, but running back Treavor Scales was able to pick up two first downs, the second going for 63 yards and a touchdown. Scales’ run iced the game by putting up 34–24 with just 1:08 left.

    Yale’s attempt at a comeback ended when the ball landed in Crimson defensive back Reynaldo Kirton’s hands for an interception.

    Varga led the Elis with 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Furman went 13–20 passing for 158 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

    The Elis lead the overall series 65–56–8.

  8. Forum: Yale-Harvard game shirts

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    This year’s Freshman Class Council Yale-Harvard game shirt will go on sale this week, but not without its share of controversy. Read perspectives in the News’ Forum:

    Kathryn Crandall, Guest Columnist | Freshman in Saybrook
    It’s a well-known fact among all Yale students. It’s printed on T-shirts, sweatshirts and even boxer shorts: “Harvard sucks.”
    Why do they suck? Who cares? That’s not the point. The point is they — the cold, calculating androids of Harvard University — are our rivals, academically and athletically. That in and of itself is reason enough. And so, it is our duty as Yalies to crack jokes, pull pranks and print witty T-shirts at their expense.
    But for the second year in a row, the Freshman Class Council’s original T-shirt design was rejected. The original shirt poked fun at Harvard’s recent, and embarrassing, cheating scandal, altering Harvard’s crest to read “CH-EA-TAS” instead of the traditional “VE-RI-TAS.” This design was rejected by some combination of the Harvard and Yale licensing offices.
    With this rejection, the licensing offices of Yale and Harvard are contaminating the purity of a beautiful rivalry. The point of a rivalry is to keep your rival on his toes with constant banter, relentlessly displaying how you are better than him in every way shape and form. That is the fun and the beauty of it all.
    And without a rival, there are no challenges. If we didn’t have Harvard, whose name would we boo? Whose football fans would we trick? Who would motivate us to put our heads together and create droll and slightly offensive T-shirts every year?
    As much as I hate to admit it, we need Harvard. We need their rivalry to keep us sharp. And Harvard needs us. They need us to print that shirt. They need us to show them that cheaters never win. And they need us to be a constant reminder that they need to do better.
    Besides, it isn’t our fault they give us so much material to work with.
    Nathaniel Zelinsky, Staff Columnist | Senior in Davenport College
    Yale’s licensing office (acting on behalf of its Cambridge counterpart) recently told the Freshman Class Council they can’t sell a Harvard-Yale T-shirt. Why? FCC’s shirt called Harvard “cheaters,” a reference to the scandal that rocked the Crimson campus early this year.
    Is this a suppression of free speech? Is the legitimacy of academia under attack? Is it a slippery slide from a banned T-shirt to McCarthyism?
    As you can probably tell from my tone, I don’t think so. Yale and Harvard licensing are well within their rights to prevent FCC from printing this shirt.
    I am a free speech advocate (or “nut” depending on whom you ask). And I was deeply troubled in 2009, when Dean Mary Miller prevented the then-Freshman Class Council from making a similar The Game T-shirt that called Harvard men “sissies.” Apparently the term is homophobic and violated Yale’s community standards. Many saw Miller’s actions, correctly, as censorship. She abandoned Yale’s stated policy that any speech, no matter how offensive, deserves protection (see the Woodward Report of 1975, Yale’s ur text on free speech).
    So what’s the difference between 2009 and 2012? Why is “sissies” shirt protected but a “cheaters” shirt is not?
    In 2009, Yale College decided it was in the censorship business. A select few in Woodbridge Hall and Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona imposed arbitrary “norms” — and the logic wasn’t limited to T-shirts. Taken to the extreme, “norms” could extend to every aspect of Yale life. We could be told what guest speakers are within the community’s norms, what plays are okay and what activities go beyond the pale.
    In contrast, in 2012, a corporate licensing office makes a more narrowly tailored claim: This, particular article of clothing cheapens our brand. There is no “norm” based argument that claims to govern all of collegiate life. The potential repercussions are far less worrisome.
    This isn’t an issue of free speech at all — it’s an issue of a corporation controlling its merchandise.

    Want to contribute? Email opinion@yaledailynews.com