Category Archive 'Harvard'
27 Jan 2017
The Independent reports:
For nearly 100 years, scientists have dreamed of turning the lightest of all the elements, hydrogen, into a metal.
Now, in a stunning act of modern-day alchemy, scientists at Harvard University have finally succeeded in creating a tiny amount of what is the rarest, and possibly most valuable, material on the planet, they reported in the journal Science.
For metallic hydrogen could theoretically revolutionise technology, enabling the creation of super-fast computers, high-speed levitating trains and ultra-efficient vehicles and dramatically improving almost anything involving electricity.
And it could also allow humanity to explore outer space as never before.
But the prospect of this bright future could be at risk if the scientists’ next step – to establish whether the metal is stable at normal pressures and temperatures – fails to go as hoped.
Professor Isaac Silvera, who made the breakthrough with Dr Ranga Dias, said: “This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics.
“It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.”
At the moment the tiny piece of metal can only be seen through two diamonds that were used to crush liquid hydrogen at a temperature far below freezing.
The amount of pressure needed was immense – more than is found at the centre of the Earth.
The sample has remained trapped in this astonishing grip, but sometime in the next few weeks, the researchers plan to carefully ease the pressure.
According to one theory, metallic hydrogen will be stable at room temperature – a prediction that Professor Silvera said was “very important”.
“That means if you take the pressure off, it will stay metallic, similar to the way diamonds form from graphite under intense heat and pressure, but remains a diamond when that pressure and heat is removed,” he said.
If this is true, then its properties a super-conductor could dramatically improve anything that uses electricity.
“As much as 15 per cent of energy is lost to dissipation during transmission, so if you could make wires from this material and use them in the electrical grid, it could change that story,” the scientist said.
And metallic hydrogen could also transform humanity’s efforts to explore our solar system by providing a form of rocket fuel nearly four times more powerful than the best available today.
“It takes a tremendous amount of energy to make metallic hydrogen,” Professor Silvera said.
“And if you convert it back to molecular hydrogen, all that energy is released, so it would make it the most powerful rocket propellant known to man, and could revolutionize rocketry.
“That would easily allow you to explore the outer planets.
“We would be able to put rockets into orbit with only one stage, versus two, and could send up larger payloads, so it could be very important.”
However some scientists have theorised that metallic hydrogen will be unstable on its surface and so would gradually decay.
Asked what he thought would happen, Professor Silvera said: “I don’t want to guess, I want to do the experiment.”
11 Jan 2017
Yalies got Harvard fans to hold up these signs in 2004.
Harvard-man Teddy Wayne does not feel like dropping the H-bomb.
[A]fter several incidents that have besmirched the university’s reputation, and in an era of heightened self-consciousness over privilege, that formerly contrived embarrassment may be ceding to sincere shame and a reassessment of the merits of a Harvard education.
The university has been in the news quite a bit lately. Its gargantuan $35.7 billion endowment, the largest in the country by far, was cited in articles about dining-hall workers who went on a successful three-week strike for a salary increase to $35,000 per year. The school canceled the men’s soccer team’s season after the discovery of a 2012 “scouting report” in which team members rated the sexual appeal of individuals on the women’s team; the men’s cross-country team was just placed on athletic probation for doing the same thing in 2014.
Also, Harvard had the sixth-most-reported rape cases on campus in 2014, and its law school figured prominently in the controversial documentary about campus sexual assault, “The Hunting Ground.” Students in all-male final clubs, Harvard’s longstanding and exclusive version of fraternities, will now be penalized for their membership (as will members of female final clubs).
The brand has also had an unexpected collision with that of the incoming presidential administration. Stephen K. Bannon, Donald J. Trump’s chief strategist and the former executive chair of Breitbart News, is a 1985 graduate of Harvard Business School. More than 600 female students and alumnae signed a letter to The New York Times denouncing his selection by Mr. Trump, accusing him of engineering “a movement that preaches white nationalism, racism, misogyny and hatred.” Mr. Bannon dropped out of a postelection event at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, perhaps because of a planned large protest.
Daniel Golden’s 2006 book, “The Price of Admission,” about how the rich buy their way into elite schools, has become newly relevant for its disclosure that Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, received acceptance to Harvard despite an unremarkable academic record, possibly thanks to his father’s donation of $2.5 million. (A spokeswoman for Mr. Kushner denied the allegation, noting that Mr. Kushner graduated with honors; Mr. Golden observed that, in a climate of rampant grade inflation, so did about 90 percent of Mr. Kushner’s graduating class of 2003.)
Beyond the unsavory headlines and questionable associations, swelling populist resentment for bastions of exclusivity and obscene wealth — from many of Mr. Trump’s supporters and critics alike — may inspire alumni of Harvard, and similarly elite schools, to be even less conspicuous about where they received their degrees.
26 Apr 2016
Roofline of Berkeley College Master’s House at Yale. Don’t you love those Tudor chimneys?
The Oldest College Daily happily reports that Yale is currently well along in the process of following the examples set by Harvard and Princeton in eliminating the title of Master for the heads of undergraduate residential colleges or houses.
Apparently, a majority of current students have gradually fallen into line in support of the demands of the radical lunatic fringe that the title be changed. In their wake, hastening to come on board, can be found the actual adults making up both the Yale Administration and the Yale Corporation.
A small racially-obsessed group of leftists, quite recently, decided that 150 years after the elimination of Slavery in the United States, it must be actively painful and humiliating for students-of-color to have occasion to address a head of college as “Master.” The memories and associations, you see, are just too painful. (sob!)
At Yale, the nonsense started last year, when the current Master of Pierson College, a hyper-sensitive creep named Stephen Davis found his new title unacceptable, and sent a letter to the college urging students to eschew tradition and address him merely as “Dr.” or “Professor” Davis.
One has to bear in mind that the title of Master has nothing whatsoever to do with Antebellum Slavery. It has everything to do with Anglophilic tradition and Pretension.
19th century Yale students were members of a single college (Yale College) or (if banausic) of the Sheffield Scientific School. The poor lived off-campus in rented hovels, the better-off in rooms in college residential buildings called “halls,” then much resembling architecturally orphanages or reformatories.
Where the Master business came from was via the philanthropy of Edward Harkness, a member of the Class of 1897. Harkness was the scion of a Standard Oil fortune. He had money like God has money, and cheerfully volunteered to pay for the transformation of both Harvard and Yale into residential colleges, i.e., fantasy imitations of the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, designed at Yale by his classmate James Gamble Rogers. Yale’s student body was divided among ten (later twelve) residential college and its grim Victorian architecture was augmented by a new campus of whimsical Tudor and Georgian design.
The heads of Yale residential colleges and Harvard houses were called “Masters” in pure imitation of the practice of the majority of Oxbridge Colleges. Master, in this case, is a purely academical title, an anglicized version of the Latin “Magister.” It has no connection to Slavery. Nor does it imply domination of anything. A College Master at Yale has traditionally been a distinguished senior faculty member who lives in a mansion associated with a residential college and who functions essentially as that college’s master of ceremonies. The College Master is formally administrative head of the college, but he has a Dean and a bunch of secretaries and student aids to do all the shit work. The Master smiles at students, presides over functions, throws parties, and thinks up new, nice things he can do for the benefit of the undergraduates in his college.
There would be no opportunity for this particular politically correct grand gesture today, of course, had the presidents of Yale and Harvard in the early 1930s possessed crystal balls. They would then have foreseen all this, and taken care to call heads of residential colleges (or houses) “Rector” instead (as is the practice at Exeter College, Oxford and King’s College, Cambridge) or “Warden” (All Souls College, Oxford and Robinson College, Cambridge). Upon reflection, though, having to address the head of one’s housing unit as “Warden” could very possibly also have become a major issue for contemporary Ivy League students-of-color.
17 Apr 2016
Harvard’s Porcellian Club
It is a measure of the hypocrisy and endemic intellectual confusion of today’s elite university administrators that they will commonly lavishly fund identity houses for spooks, beaners, broads, Injuns, and queers where representatives of recognized and privileged minorities can hang out, party, and discuss all their historic grievances ad nauseam in their very own safe spaces, while the very same university administrators will denounce male-only private clubs as flawed with a “deeply misogynistic attitudes, reflected by the long-standing refusal of many clubs to admit women as members.” Meanwhile, we are supposed to assume that the Harvard Women’s Center is obviously totally free of even superficial “misanthropic” attitudes.
The Harvard Administration is busy these days twisting the arms of its final clubs to co-educate, holding over their heads the threat of banning undergraduate membership in single gender fraternities or clubs with the expulsion of anyone who dared to violate such a ban as a penalty.
The Wall Street Journal remarked negatively on Harvard’s attack on students’ freedom of association.
22 Nov 2015
Harvard won 38-19.
Quote from the Yale Class of ’69 list-server:
Harvard had more points but we had a more diverse defensive line. Does that mean we won?”
“Yes. Because that diverse line didn’t inhibit Harvard’s freedom of expression and opposition to our view they should not score more points than us and win, but was allowed to express and implement that point of view at will with almost no resistance from us.”
Hat tip to Frank A. Dobbs ’69.
03 Oct 2015
The Crimson strokes its chin and wonders if diversity in politics should, or even could, be established at Harvard.
[T]hat conservatives come in small numbers at Harvard comes as no shock. For years, The Crimson’s freshman survey has found that liberals may outnumber conservatives in incoming classes by as much as five to one—65.1 percent of the 1,184 respondents to this fall’s Class of 2019 survey, for example, identify as somewhat liberal or very liberal, compared to just 12.2 percent who identify as somewhat conservative or very conservative. Last year, among survey respondents from the graduating College Class of 2015, former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton had a higher favorability rating than Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker—combined. A surveyed senior was almost 10 times more likely to have a favorable view of Bernie Sanders than Ted Cruz.
And the liberal bent—to put it mildly—is not limited to the student body. A Crimson data analysis last year found that nearly 84 percent of campaign contributions from a group of 614 University faculty, instructors, and researchers between 2011 and the third quarter of 2014 went to federal Democratic campaigns and political action committees. In the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, that number was closer to 96 percent. …
“Diversity? Political? Two words [that] can be put in the same sentence?” concludes freshman Sapna V. Rampersaud ’19, a registered Republican.
13 Mar 2015
At The Game in 2004, Yalies tricked Harvard fans into holding up signs creating this message.”
Fred Schwarz explains why SAT compression resulted in Harvard becoming an athletic powerhouse.
Harvard has won or shared the Ivy men’s basketball championship every year since 2010–11. And it isn’t just basketball: Harvard football has won or shared five of the last eight Ivy championships, up from a modest one or two per decade over the league’s first half-century (since 1956). In 1977, during oral argument before the Supreme Court on the momentous Bakke affirmative-action case, the distinguished lawyer Archibald Cox found time to joke about how bad Harvard’s football team was. But now the Crimson dominate the league in the only two sports that most people care about. What happened? The explanation lies in … policies imposed in the 1980s and 1990s, which … give Harvard a significant advantage over the rest of the league in recruiting athletes — and provide a lesson in unintended consequences. …
[The key cause was] the College Board’s decision in 1995 to “recenter” its SAT scoring. This meant that instead of the average score for all SAT takers being somewhere around 400, the board arbitrarily set it at 500 (midway between 200 and 800). Cynics suggested that this was done for political reasons, so the discrepancy between white/Asian SAT takers and others would be less dramatic; in any case, the effect was to crunch together all the good students near the very top of the scale. For example, any SAT Verbal score of 730 or higher from before the recentering would be an 800 today. This means that double 800s are “not that great a distinction any more”; over a decade ago, Harvard was already getting 500 double-800 applicants a year, and rejecting half of them. That’s part of the reason for the insane gauntlet today’s high-school students have to run, with activities, music, volunteer work, and all the rest, trying desperately to distinguish themselves from the herd. When applying to elite colleges today, it’s difficult to make yourself stand out from other very smart kids with your test scores or grades, since everyone has high SATs and straight A’s. More important, though, this compression means that the AI standard that Harvard athletes have to meet is not much higher than that of the rest of the league, whereas before the recentering, there was a significant gap, which gave the less selective schools much more latitude. So: Harvard has the best reputation among American universities and the most money to give out for scholarships, and when another member of the league goes after a talented athletic prospect, regulations prohibit it from sweetening the deal by offering extra money or relaxing its admission standards. That’s why the Crimson have been tearing up the league lately, and will probably continue as long as they want to. Letting colleges compete for students is all to the good, and there’s nothing wrong with a group of educational institutions’ agreeing to put education first. But in this case, as so often happens, when strict regulation meets vigorous competition (with a bit of statistical manipulation thrown in), the result is that the rich only get richer.
14 Dec 2014
“Dean of College Rakesh Khurana attempts to gain the attention of the participants of Primal Scream by climbing onto the shoulders of a Primal Scream runner Thursday in Harvard Yard. Other students organized a protest in response to recent police brutality [in Ferguson, Missouri] that attempted to delay the start of the run.”
Primal Scream is a fairly recent (streaking era) Harvard tradition in which, on the last night of reading period, just before final exams start, Harvard students run naked across and then around Harvard Yard.
This year about 30 left-wing holier-than-thous tried to arrange a four-and-a-half minutes of silence prior to the Primal Scream naked run to protest the shooting of poor Michael Brown. Unfortunately, the more typical drunken and unruly Harvard students, bent upon streaking, objected to interference with the naked run, and proceeded to defy them, initiating the run, and chanting “USA!, USA!” while running.
The lefties grew angry and tried to block the naked runners, chanting “Black lives matter!”, while runners responded with obscenities and “USA!”, while ignoring them.
A number of Harvard administrators turned up to assist the protestors (not to run naked), and the best moment of comedy occurred when Harvard College Dean Rakesh Khurana climbed atop the shoulders of a naked young man, bullhorn in hand, tried, but failed, to persuade the crown to bow to the wishes of the leftie bedwetters,
Members of the protest said that they were upset by the reactions of the student streakers.
Amanda D. Bradley ’15, who helped organize the protest, said that while she did not know the intentions of the primal screamers, she felt disgusted by what they were chanting.
“For people to say black lives matter, and for the crowd to shout back ‘U.S.A.,’ which is upholding a system that is oppressing black people, I think that that is problematic,” she said.
Sasanka N. Jinadasa ’15 said she was appalled by what she called a disrespect both for Khurana and the protestors.
“I think that for many students of color, particularly black students, there’s always a fear of what white retaliation looks like,” she said, citing obscene gestures and language toward protesters.
Keyanna Y. Wigglesworth ’16, another protester, said she was “disturbed” and “angered” by reactions to the protest, especially from those in the front of the crowd of streakers who she believed could hear the calls for silence.
But, never fear, the pinkos at the Crimson were never going to let it be said that the left was defeated by youthful high spirits. It was all really a misunderstanding, you see.
Skip L. Rosamilia ’17, a Primal Scream participant, said that he could not hear or see through the crowd of streakers.
“I’m sad because it…look[ed] like there was one group who was for [the demonstration] and a huge group that wasn’t, and I don’t think that was the case,” he said, calling the interaction between the protest and the streakers a “huge egregious misunderstanding.”
Khurana also said many runners told him that they would have joined the protesting students if they had known about the demonstration.
“I think what it was, is just…a tight physical space and a relatively loosely structured event without actually clear planning,” Khurana said, noting that it was difficult for him mediate between the two groups of people.
Some students voiced similar concerns before the demonstration on the Facebook post for the event, saying that the protest would be disruptive to the College tradition of Primal Scream and potentially would risk student safety. As a result, organizers posted an update on the protest’s Facebook page saying that they had changed the nature of the protest from a die-in to a moment of silence out of safety concerns and in an effort to preserve the Primal Scream tradition.
Though Walker, one of four principal organizers of the protest, acknowledged Thursday afternoon that there “was some confusion as to what was going on and not a lot of individuals knew what was happening,” he said he thought the protest was a success.
“The event was successful because it started a conversation in communities that haven’t been talking about this.”
12 Dec 2014
Cayuga’s Waiters is clearly a Cornell a capella singing group.
Hat tip to Frank Dobbs.
23 Nov 2014
Burns: Honestly, Smithers, I don’t know why Harvard even bothers to show up. They barely even won.
Smithers: Their cheating was even more rampant than last year, sir.
Hat tip to the Yale Alumni Magazine.
19 Oct 2014
K.C. Johnson wonders Is the Left Losing its Mind Over Campus Sex? He notes a recent column by Ezra Klein defending California’s recent “affirmative consent” law as so indefensible as to represent an intellectual tipping point.
Klein’s argument was astonishing—he conceded that the law was flawed, even badly flawed, but celebrated the flaws as a virtue. The law will mean that “too much counts as sexual assault” and that innocent students will be branded rapists (though such cases, Klein suggests in a fact-free claim, “very, very rarely” occur). But Klein considered it “necessary” to get more students deemed guilty of rape in “morally ambiguous” situations to convince men in college (but, it seems, not anywhere else) that “they better Be Pretty Damn Sure.”
Klein’s column has triggered a torrent of criticism. The highest-profile came from New York’s Jon Chait, who expressed amazement that Klein was “arguing for false convictions as a conscious strategy in order to strike fear into the innocent,” a “conception of justice totally removed from the liberal tradition.”
Johnson also reports on sharp criticism of new Harvard disciplinary policies (adopted by Harvard along with a great many other universities in response to Federal Department of Education threats and prodding) by 28 Harvard Law professors.
The Ezra Klein column was widely criticized because Klein expressed enthusiastic support for injustice when he perceived the injustice as forwarding the leftist process of making Society more just.
All sorts of people dropped their jaws and did a double take at the spectacle of one of the Left’s noisiest moralists foaming at the mouth and demanding that the innocent should be loaded onto the tumbril and carried to a meeting with the guillotine in the Place de la Concorde. But why should anyone be surprised?
The very essence of leftism is its exaggerated claims of victimization and its one-sided perspective. Leftism was never about being fair, and leftist “justice” was never about being just. Leftism is entirely about Revolution, about the triumph of the victim groups by forced political change achieved through perpetual agitation. No one ever said that the left’s agitprop would be balanced and fair. And no one ever said the Revolution was going to practice due process.
Ezra Klein simply dropped the veil a bit too abruptly, being flushed with insolence over his side’s victory in California, and allowed everyone to see him for the tricoteuse he really is.
03 Apr 2014
The Crimson did a feature on Harvard’s Anthropodermic items back in 2006.
A few individuals give new meaning to the idea of spending forever in the library—their skin binds three of the books in Harvard’s 15-million-volume collection.
Without extensive genetic testing, Harvard librarians still do not have the “foggiest notion” of how many volumes wrapped in human hide exist throughout the system, says Director of University Libraries Sidney Verba ’53. But they have identified three such volumes in the Langdell Law Library, Countway Library of Medicine, and the Houghton Collection. The three books range in content from medieval law to Roman poetry to French philosophy.
Langdell’s curator of rare books and manuscripts, David Ferris, says of his library’s man-bound holding: “We are reluctant to have it become an object of fascination.” But the Spanish law book, which dates back to 1605, may become just that.
Accessible in the library’s Elihu Reading Room, the book, entitled “Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias…,” looks old but otherwise ordinary.
Delicate, stiff, and with wrinkled edges, the skin’s coloring is a subdued yellow, with sporadic brown and black splotches like an old banana. The skin is not covered in hair or marked by tattoos—except for a “Harvard Law Library” branding on its spine. Nothing about it shouts “human flesh” to the untrained eye.
The book’s 794th and final page includes an inscription in purple cursive: “the bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King Mbesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it. Requiescat in pace.”
Ferris, who believes the volume was “almost certainly rebound” after its initial assembly, sees it as “a kind of memento mori, in the spirit of rings and jewelry made out of the hair of deceased in the 19th century.”
“While it strikes us as macabre,” the curator says, “it is honoring and memorializing this man.”
In February 1946, Harvard acquired the tome from a New Orleans rare books dealer for $42.50. “Clem G. Hearsey, New Orleans,” is stamped on the book’s first page. In 1992, DNA tests on the binding’s skin proved inconclusive—the genetic evidence presumably was corrupted by the tanning process. Ferris says “he has never seen a book like this on the market,” and that, without its binding, the book probably values between $500 and $1000, while the skin makes it more valuable.
Jack Eckert, the reference librarian at the Countway Library’s Center for the History of Medicine in Longwood, writes in an e-mail that he believes only one human-skin volume exists in the Countway collection. According to Eckert, the Medical School’s 1597 French translation of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” bears a small penciled annotation, “Bound in human skin,” on the inside cover.
But Eckert questions the binding’s authenticity. “I think even this is somewhat doubtful as [the book] doesn’t greatly resemble others I’ve seen in the past,” he adds.
Back in Harvard Yard, in the rarefied confines of Harvard’s Houghton Collection, resides “Des destinées de l’ame…,” a collection of essays meditating on the human spirit by Arsène Houssaye, a French poet and essayist.
Houghton’s associate librarian for collections, Thomas Horrocks, describes the light volume as one of the author’s lesser works.
Notes from a now-missing typed memorandum that once accompanied the book revealed that the binding’s skin comes from “the back of the unclaimed body of a woman patient in a French mental hospital who died suddenly of apoplexy.”
Houssaye gave the book, printed in the 1880s, to his friend, Dr. Bouland. The doctor, who had the book rebound, included a note expressing his belief that “a book on the human soul merited that it was given a human skin.”
Given to Houghton in June 1954 by the wife of John B. Stetson, the small book—approximately three by six inches—sports gold trim. Its binding features a greenish-gold hue as well as visible pores.
Via Roadtrippers Daily.
NYM published an article on a similar book owned by Brown back in 2006 as well.
01 Apr 2014
An anonymous Harvard coed published an angry letter in the Crimson, asserting that she was giving up and will be moving off-campus next semester because Harvard failed to prosecute, or even remove from the same residential house, the male student she claims sexually assaulted her roughly a year ago.
The young lady’s account of the alleged assault reads:
He was a friend of mine and I trusted him. It was a freezing Friday night when I stumbled into his dorm room after too many drinks. He took my shirt off and started biting the skin on my neck and breast. I pushed back on his chest and asked him to stop kissing me aggressively. He laughed. He said that I should “just wear a scarf” to cover the marks. He continued to abuse my body, hurting my breast and vagina. He asked me to use my mouth. I said no. I was intoxicated, I was in pain, I was trapped between him and the wall, and I was scared to death that he would continue to ignore what I said. I stopped everything and turned my back to him, praying he would leave me alone. He started getting impatient. “Are you only going to make me hard, or are you going to make me come?” he said in a demanding tone.
It did not sound like a question. I obeyed.
Shortly after I reported my sexual assault to my House staff, I was told by a senior member of the College administration that the Administrative Board was very unlikely to “issue a charge” against my assailant and to launch a thorough investigative process because my assailant may not have technically violated the school’s policy in the student handbook. Even though he had verbally pressured me into sexual activity and physically hurt me, the incident did not fall within the scope of the school’s narrow definition of sexual assault.
Her indignation over that incident and the failure of the Harvard Administration to avenge her honor, she claims have caused her to develop a mental illness.
I’m writing this piece as I’m sitting in my own dining hall, only a few tables away from the guy who pressured me into sexual activity in his bedroom, one night last spring. My hands are trembling as they hover across the keyboard. I’m exhausted from fighting for myself. I’m exhausted from sending emails to my resident dean, to my House Master, to my Sexual Assault/Sexual Harassment tutors, to counselors from the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, to my attorney. I’m exhausted from asking for extensions because of “personal issues.” I’m exhausted from avoiding the laundry room, the House library and the mailroom because I’m scared of who I will run into.
More than anything, I’m exhausted from living in the same House as the student who sexually assaulted me nine months ago.
I’ve spent most of 2013 fighting the Harvard administration so that they would move my assailant to a different House, and I have failed miserably. Several weeks ago, in a grey room on the fourth floor of the Holyoke Center, my psychiatrist officially diagnosed me with depression. I did not budge, and I was not surprised. I developed an anxiety disorder shortly after moving back to my House this fall, and running into my assailant up to five times a day certainly did not help my recovery.
“How about we increase your dose from 100 to 150 milligrams a day,” my psychiatrist said in a mechanical, indifferent voice. Sure thing.
This morning, as I swallowed my three blue pills of Sertraline and tried to forget about the nightmares that haunted my night, I finally admitted it to myself: I have lost my battle against this institution. Seven months after I reported what happened, my assailant still lives in my House. I am weeks behind in the three classes I’m taking. I have to take sleeping pills every night to fall and stay asleep, and I routinely get nightmares in which I am sexually assaulted in public. I cannot drink alcohol without starting to cry hysterically. I dropped my favorite extracurriculars because I cannot find the energy to drag myself out of bed. I do not care about my future anymore, because I don’t know who I am or what I care about or whether I will still be alive in a few years. I spend most of my time outside of class curled up in bed, crying, sleeping, or staring at the ceiling, occasionally wondering if I just heard my assailant’s voice in the staircase. Often, the cough syrup sitting in my drawer or the pavement several floors down from my window seem like reasonable options.
This item came to my attention because several female Yale undergraduates from a fraternal group I belong to were circulating it and discussing it from a feminist point of view.
The whole business sounds very sad, and we older people find it very easy to be critical of today’s hook-up culture in which young women are apparently commonly expected to deliver sexual gratification to male associates as a routine courtesy at the conclusion of any shared social experience, however slight.
Nonetheless, it is bound to strike any sensible adult as obvious that it is impossible for third parties simply to accept the subjective account of one party to such a private encounter as completely factual and veracious. It is inevitable that two people will have different viewpoints and there can be no objective witnesses to a romantic liaison. It is part of the nature of relations between the sexes, too, that romantic encounters may be filled with mutual misunderstandings and may not infrequently lead to animosity and regret.
Just as young ladies are very liable to be confused and too easily pressured into doing things they may later regret, young men are too frequently liable to be loutish, uncouth, and simple-mindedly optimistic in interpreting the willingness of their partner. In earlier periods of history, these problems were widely recognized and young ladies were firmly advised to avoid finding themselves alone and intoxicated in the company of any young man.
When one reads this young lady’s anonymous account, one tends to think that she must be an example of the modern type of person who wants to have things both ways. She wants a modern sexually-liberated society, in which dormitories are coeducated, in which college authorities have withdrawn any pretension to acting in loco parentis or supervising the morals and behavior of undergraduates in any way, but when she finds herself regretting getting drunk, accompanying a young man she obviously did not know as well as she thought she did to his room, alone and at night, and then giving in to some sort of less-than-life-or-death pressure and finally doing something she regrets, she blames everyone but herself. Frankly, one feels obliged to reflect aloud: if society and your college are not going to have power over you or be in charge of protecting your virtue, then that task is really simply left to you.
Beyond that, I would say that pretty much everybody, when young, gets drunk a time or two and then does things he (or she) will inevitably regret. That kind of unfortunate experience ought to lead to a firm resolve in future to avoid levels of intoxication which might untowardedly influence one’s own behavior and to a certain amount of temporary personal chagrin. It should not lead to a campus-wide political campaign of agitation aimed at personal revenge, to the neglect of one’s studies, or to an obsession over one’s personal wrongs leading to mental illness.
This young lady fails to observe the obvious. When someone takes an unfortunate incident like this and proceeds to inflate it into a grievance making her the equivalent of one of the principals in a Jacobean drama, when she allows herself to get carried away with self-entitlement and self-righteousness to the point of striking such lurid and dramatic public poses over what must be essentially the kind of unfortunate private transaction which goes on routinely every day at colleges in today’s fallen world, when she wages a year-long campaign of this kind, no rational person is going to take her seriously as a reliable witness or responsible complainant.