Category Archive 'Yale'
13 Dec 2017

Peter Salovey’s Christmas Card

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If you were a member of the Yale community, you received this Christmas card (carefully designed to avoid so much as mentioning Christmas) from Yale President Peter Salovey.

11 Dec 2017

“That’s Why I Toured Yale”

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Alumni cringed back in 2010 when the Admissions Office released its execrable “That’s Why I Chose Yale” recruiting video. (Reviled here and here)

Well, Time replaces the jejune just as it does the superb, and the Yale Admissions Office (seven years later) has issued a brand new video with only a slightly modified title.

The guides are computer major Simone (who needs to wash her hair) and double major Classics and Political Science Sam (who seems a little gay). From the very start, biases toward the demotic and the “diverse” are pronounced. As the tour begins moving away from Phelps Gate on the Old Campus, guide Sam calls for musical accompaniment and a string quarter batting out “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” appears out of nowhere, only to be rejected in favor of “something with a beat.”

We had already previously been promised that, at Yale, one could study with “a renowned Shakespeare scholar” and “perform slam poetry at a cultural center.” When we get to the libraries, we are informed that Beinecke contains “one of the world’s largest collections of rare books and manuscripts, including ancient Egyptian papyrus, one of Beethoven’s original scores, and (inadvertent crashing anticlimax) manuscripts written by Langston Hughes.” (!)

Clearly, we are being given to understand that Yale is a fashionista establishment institution, only too eager to reject standards and judgment, trivialize the canon, and concede equality of cultural prestige to tokens. “We don’t want Mozart, we want something with a beat.” “Shakespeare wouldn’t do without some slam poetry on the side.” “Langston Hughes is purportedly somehow on a par with Beethoven.”

At Yale, the sciences we learn are “hands on,” and you won’t just sit through lectures, struggle through your labs, and get hammered with quizes and exams, no, no no. Why Yale science students “innovate solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.” Back in my day, all we did was try to pass the exams. We did, however, avoid the joke explosion ending the laboratory portion of the tour.

It gets painful to watch when they start touting the Yale residential college system. Today, college assignment, we are assured, is totally random. But residential colleges all have individual distinctive identities and traditions. (Presumably random ones.)

The college we get to see is Silliman, infamous site of the Christakis lynching and the shrieking student. There is no Master of Silliman now. The title of Master was deemed offensive and changed to “Head.” In the old days, college masters were male, aged, and distinguished scholars. Silliman’s “Head” these days is Laurie R. Santos, obviously a two-fer token (female and Hispanic), barely 40, and a canine cognitive studies specialist from the Psych Department. The video assures us that she ensures that each student feels welcome and gets to know every single one of them personally. She even apparently beats them at chess. In my day, most of us were on nodding-and-saying-hello terms with our College Master. He never specifically made any of us “feel welcome” nor did he tuck us in at night.

The residential colleges seem even more loaded with amenities today. They still have pool tables and ping pong, but there was no mention of squash courts. Colleges seem to have in-house non-dining hall after hours food facilities, which they call butteries. In the old days, there was one Buttery, on the ground floor of Durfee, which sold candy and such like during very limited evening hours. The colleges now all have their own work-out rooms, the Yale Gym clearly being too far to walk.

And so on.

This video is not as actively embarrassing, I suppose, as its predecessor, but it still leaves the alumni viewer slightly nauseated.

It is so offensively self-congratulatory, politically correct, and millennial-ish. One sort of feels like alien beings from the Planet of PC Tools have taken over Yale. They smile all the time. They think all the right thoughts. They worship materialism and success, but they are strangely empty. They have no dignity, no gravity. Ideas, Art, Culture are all just names and baubles to these people, ornamental trinkets lying around a grand nest of human magpies.

There is all this goody-goody-ness, but there is no sense whatsoever of Tradition, History, Duty, Honor, or Respect for the Past.

If I’d seen this video in high school, I would not have wanted to go to Yale.

05 Dec 2017

Native Americans Back on the Warpath at Yale

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The Oldest College Daily reports that hula dancing by unauthorized persons is a problem.

The Association of Native Americans at Yale this weekend condemned Shaka, an all-female Polynesian dance group, for appropriating Hawaiian and Tahitian culture and demanded that the group disband.

In a letter posted to its Facebook page Saturday afternoon, ANAAY condemned Shaka for “sexualizing and homogenizing Native [American] peoples, misrepresenting and erasing histories and political realities, and attempting to depoliticize inherently political culture and communities under colonial subjugation.”

RTWT

If shimmying in a grass skirt is “cultural appropriation,” how come spouting Marxist BS isn’t?

02 Dec 2017

The End of Yale Commons

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Yale Commons Dining Hall closed forever.

The Yale Alumni Magazine forwarded on Facebook the above image.

Commons, a nearly block-long dining hall in which Yale Freshman Classes dined together for generations was built 1901-02 in the Beaux-Art style as an architectural gesture celebrating the University’s Bicentennial.

It was originally the whole University’s dining hall, but after the construction of the residential colleges early in the 1930s (each of which had its own dining hall), Commons was used by the Freshman Class, which resided not in the colleges, but rather in the dormitory halls of the Old Campus. The Yale freshman was allowed so many meals monthly in his future residential college’s dining hall, but was expected to take most meals in Commons.

The Salovey regime has been reducing meal service in Commons for some years seeking to economize on service costs. Finally, a donation of $150 million from Steven A. Schwarzman ’69, the Blackstone Group private equity magnate, was arranged to fund the conversion of the grand dining hall into some sort of a cultural center.

I was a scholarship student and my first Bursary job consisted of making toast and busing tables at Breakfast in Freshman Commons. I was proud to be working for a bit of my tuition, and I made a point of appropriating a rose or carnation from one of the table vases for a boutonnière and displaying a foulard silk handkerchief in the breast pocket of my white serving jacket.

I entered Yale in the old 1960s days of male-only classes when coats-and-ties were required in dining halls.

After we returned from the holidays, months could go by before roads were passable and mixers started up again. A Yale freshman, by late February, might not have so much as caught sight of a young woman for six weeks or more.

I remember one particularly wintry Wednesday in that cheerless month. New Haven streets and Yale paths were icy. It was cold and sleeting outside. The sun had set long before dinner time. We were making the best of mid-week dinner in Commons, happy enough to be inside under a roof and out of New Haven’s weather.

Suddenly, the door swung open, and in walked a tall, blond classmate, wearing black tie (!) to dinner in Commons, and accompanied by an absolutely beautiful young lady in an evening gown. The Class of 1970’s collective jaw dropped. As one man, we stood up in admiration and applauded.

They may have “cultural events,” but they will never have anything in the renovated and remodeled Schwarzman Center as insouciant and superb as that glorious couple.


A few years ago.

27 Nov 2017

Yale Psych Prof Finds Cause (Fear, Of Course) of Conservatism and Discovers Cure

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Professor Bargh tells all in the Washington Post:

Conservatives, it turns out, react more strongly to physical threat than liberals do. In fact, their greater concern with physical safety seems to be determined early in life: In one University of California study, the more fear a 4-year-old showed in a laboratory situation, the more conservative his or her political attitudes were found to be 20 years later. Brain imaging studies have even shown that the fear center of the brain, the amygdala, is actually larger in conservatives than in liberals. And many other laboratory studies have found that when adult liberals experienced physical threat, their political and social attitudes became more conservative (temporarily, of course). But no one had ever turned conservatives into liberals.

Until we did.


John Bargh, the (God help us!) James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology at Yale.

—————–

Personally, I’d bet if I could get my hands on Professor Bargh for experimental purposes, I could prove empirically that the liberal Professor would react a lot more strongly to the physical threat of getting punched in the nose than I (the extreme conservative) would. We could play Mexican Standoff, and I’d even let the good professor have the first punch.

I had thought that the supposed ability of savants to associate physical features with psychological dispositions or states (Phrenology) was long discredited, but obviously in today’s academic culture ancient heresies and crackpot notions do keep coming back.

When I read this kind of thing, I blush for Yale and I wish once again that Peter Salovey could be immediately replaced by someone genuinely educated and serious: the kind of old-fashioned scholar who would take one look at this Washington Post article and send the onomatopoeic Professor Bargh and his entire preposterous department of “social psychology” packing.

21 Nov 2017

“Look What Yale Made Me Do”

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Harvard-made video insulting Yale which was released just before last Saturday’s The Game. Poor Harvard, for the record, got slaughtered 24-3.

I was surprised by all the inaccurate boasting about Harvard’s alleged academic & test-score superiority. I fear these young people are deluded and misinformed. I’m not up on current stats, but I know my own Yale Class beat the same entering Harvard Class’s SAT scores.

The bit at the end, mocking all the other Ivy League schools, was amusing.

09 Nov 2017

Portraits Going Back Up in Pierson College

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Pierson College Entrance

What do you know? Apparently there may actually be some limit to the politically correct insanity at Yale.

The Oldest College Daily reports that the Dean of Yale College put the kibosh on Pierson Head Stephen Davis’s latest grand gesture of inclusion.

Yale College Dean Marvin Chun said that while he is very excited by the conversations about how public art around campus can reflect Yale’s mission, he is also committed to historical preservation.

“In the case of portraits on display in the residential colleges, I think it’s important to keep them hanging, both for preserving the colleges’ histories and for honoring the intentions of alumni, fellows and friends who generously commissioned these portraits,” Chun said. “The two goals of reflecting Yale’s community today and honoring its past are not mutually exclusive.”

One kind of suspects that some prominent alumni donor from Pierson College put in an angry phone call to Woodbridge Hall.

RTWT

07 Nov 2017

Yale Alumni Throwing Up in the Street Again This Morning

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Pierson College Dining Hall

The same bed-wetting, hyper-politically-correct, victim-identity-group-ass-kissing imbecile who, two years ago, took exception to the title of College Master and took the lead in changing it to “Head” is back in action this fall, removing all the portraits of his (white, male) predecessors in office from his residential college dining hall so that contemporary snowflakes-of-color, admitted on the basis of compensatory group favoritism, need not be reminded that they are part of that unfortunate majority of Humanity, along with the Jews, the Catholics, the Irish, Italians, Poles, Finns, Slovaks, Tibetans, Eskimos, Dutchmen, and Australian Aborigines who neglected to found Yale or serve as Masters of Pierson College during the final two-thirds of the last century.

We cannot all be Abraham Pierson or John Hersey, and the knowledge of that gaping, yawning personal void is obviously today too painful to be borne by many people currently attending Yale.

The paintings removed from the walls of Pierson College dining hall in preparation for the annual Pierson… Halloween party — which include the images of former heads of college — will not be remounted, Pierson Head of College Stephen Davis announced in an email to students last Wednesday. Davis wrote that the decision was designed to “prompt conversation on what it means to create common spaces where everyone has a sense of belonging and ownership.”

The initiative comes amid wider conversations about how the abundance of images of white men around campus affect Yale’s inclusivity. During a “Popeyes and Public Art Study Break” on Monday night, Pierson students will gather with Sam Messer ART ’82, associate dean at the Yale School of Art and chair of the Committee on Art in Public Spaces, to discuss what kinds of values, identities and accomplishments are important to honor in public art. During the event, students will also paint portraits of each other that will temporarily hang in the dining hall. For the time being, Davis said, the portraits of former heads of college will be mounted in the Pierson Fellows’ Lounge, and the college will soon create plaques describing the historical context of each portrait.

“There is a long sustained, ongoing, open constructive discussion going on about the role of public art and the kind of art that we want displayed around campus, and with respect to portraiture there have been long-standing concerns among students that the portraits are not diverse enough,” Yale College Dean Marvin Chun told the News. “It is a completely legitimate discussion of what can we do to diversify our portraiture and public art in general, who the artists are and what they’re representing, and so on.”

Chun emphasized that the initial removal of the paintings was prompted by Pierson Inferno and not the ongoing discussions surrounding diversity on campus. Still, he said, Davis has had many conversations with students and administrators regarding paintings in Pierson before the Wednesday announcement.

“That distinction is important, because there is concern about removal of public art,” Chun explained. “[Head Davis] is using this opportunity to continue the discussions he’s already having.”

According to Davis’ email, the Pierson College Council, Pierson Student Activity Committee and the Pierson fellows were consulted before the decision.

Usha Rungoo GRD ’18, a resident Pierson fellow, said that she, as a woman of color, has “long been uncomfortable” entering common spaces at Yale filled mostly with the portraits of white men and is glad that Davis has begun a conversation about diversifying public art. She added that she appreciates that the college community has opened a dialogue about the significance of traditionally underrepresented Pierson affiliates.

RTWT

28 Oct 2017

Yale “Decolonizes” English Department

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The College Fix has some more bad news for Yale alumni:

A year and a half after a petition circulated calling for Yale to “decolonize the English department,” the first students are enrolled in a new course created by the department to increase the breadth of the curriculum and combat claims of departmental racism.

What’s more, new requirements are in place to ensure a more “diversified” slate of courses.

Previous requirements for the major included two courses in “Major English Poets,” including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton and Eliot, among others. But that two-course series petitioners had deemed actively harmful due to its focus on white male poets. The series is no longer a graduation requirement for Yale’s English majors.

The petition, a Google document which has since been made private, critiqued the perceived whiteness of the English department requirements: “A year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of color, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity.”

“It’s time for the English major to decolonize — not diversify — its course offerings,” the petition added. “A 21st century education is a diverse education: we write to you today inspired by student activism across the university, and to make sure that you know that the English department is not immune from the collective call to action.”

Nearly a year after the petition, around seven months ago, Yale’s English faculty voted to “diversity” the curriculum. At the time of the vote, the director of the department’s undergraduate studies, Jessica Brantley, told The Yale Daily News: “We’ve constructed a curriculum that has inclusion as its goal, embedded in the structures of its requirements, and I’m very excited to implement and develop that curriculum further.”

The reconfiguring of the English department’s required courses did not directly address the demands of the petition to do away with the Major English Poets sequences altogether; the courses still exist. The reconfiguration also did not refocus the program’s pre-1800 and pre-1900 literature requirement to address issues of race, gender, and sexuality as demanded by the petition.

Instead, the English department now allows students to fill three required prerequisites from a choice of four different courses: Readings in English Poetry 1, Readings in English Poetry 2, Readings in American Literature, and a newly created course, Readings in Comparative World English Literature.

Because Chaucer and Shakespeare are both studied in English Poetry 1, these expanded options mean that a student could graduate from the program without ever reading either of these authors.

RTWT

14 Oct 2017

No More Magic Carpet!

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Alfred Whitney Griswold, 1906-1963, President of Yale 1951-1963.

“Ours was probably the last class in history to leave New Haven on a magic carpet. Everyone since 1929 has taken the day coach.”

— Whitney Griswold, Hotchkiss 1925, Yale 1929 and Wolf’s Head, quoted in David Alan Richards’ “Skulls and Keys: The Hidden History of Yale’s Secret Societies,” 2017.

20 Sep 2017

Latest News from the Insane Asylum in New Haven

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Endangered portraits in the Davenport College Dining Hall.

The Oldest College Daily keeps the craziness a-coming.

Head of Davenport College John Witt announced on Monday the formation of a student committee charged with improving the diversity of the portraits that hang from the walls of the college.

In a collegewide email, Witt — who last year chaired the faculty-led committee that drafted broad principles on renaming and who took over as head of Davenport this fall — wrote that the committee would explore ways to complement the portraits hanging in the college with “more contemporary images of figures from a wide array of backgrounds and from many walks of life.”

“It’s … fair to say that the imagery of our walls has not quite kept up with our traditions,” Witt wrote. “For several decades now, the imagery of our walls has not reflected the diversity of Davenport’s student body, fellowship or staff.” …

College artwork played an important role over the last two years in the racially charged debate leading up to the renaming of Calhoun College in February. In the winter of 2016, Julia Adams, the head of the newly renamed Grace Hopper College, had portraits of John C. Calhoun, class of 1804, removed from the dining hall and college house. …

According to Tresa Joseph ’18, co-president of the Davenport College Council and a former Production and Design Editor for the News, Witt solicited advice on the portrait project from the DCC and the college at large on multiple occasions before Monday’s announcement, including during a recent council meeting.

“I think he is someone who is genuinely open to input and collaboration with the students, which is why I think that this committee that he’s forming is really promising,” Joseph said.

Other Davenport students interviewed also applauded Witt’s initiative.

Tarek Ziad ’20 said the portrait project epitomizes Witt’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity, which several students said has defined the first weeks of his tenure as Davenport head. Witt has already assembled a group of black graduate affiliates to advise black Davenport students, Ziad said.

Kesi Wilson ’21 said that given Yale’s tendency to sometimes honor the wrong leaders, it is important to line Davenport’s walls with figures students can collectively admire.

So, the portraits of Yale’s first rector, John Davenport, and other great men who achieved real accomplishments of significance for Yale and the Nation are to come down to be replaced with representatives of currently favored identity groups, whose student members, fellows, and faculty are really only at Yale through the extraordinarily benevolent charity of the original Yale founding constituency (the one currently being purged) coupled with heavy-thumb-on-the-scale group favoritism.

Evidently admitting dubiously-qualified minorities to Yale, creating new departments of Bogus Group-Ego-Stroking Studies and hiring a bunch of academic fraudsters and mountebanks on the basis of skin color, sexual perversity, and virulently radical opinions was not enough. Having filled the University nest with cuckoos, the current presiding administration is proceeding with a purge of Yale’s history, eliminating the great men of European ancestry which contemporary snowflakes of color or sodomitical inclination can neither identify with nor admire.

Personally, I find in all of this prima facie evidence that new constituency intrinsically alienated from, and hostile towards, Yale’s and America’s past are insolently egotistical, poorly-educated barbarians and bad citizens utterly intellectually unqualified and morally unworthy of admission or teaching or administrative appointment in the first place.

RTWT

11 Sep 2017

Oh, No! Yale’s Philosophy Department Lacks “Diversity”

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Detail, Raphael, The School of Athens, 1509-1511, Apostolic Palace, Vatican. Seriously lacking in Diversity.

The OCD is reporting on another crucial problem at Yale.

Yale’s Philosophy Department… has historically been majority white and male.

Philosophy has struggled as a discipline to attract students from diverse backgrounds, and faculty and students within Yale’s Philosophy Department told the News that while the department is not as diverse as it could be in terms of racial and gender makeup or curricular offerings, ongoing efforts to remedy the problem are a cause for optimism.

“[Lack of diversity] has inspired a lot of soul-searching in the discipline in recent years,” said Joanna Demaree-Cotton GRD ’21, co-coordinator of Yale’s chapter of Minorities and Philosophy which works to combat issues faced by minorities in academia. “Lots of departments, including ours at Yale, have started asking tough questions about the cause of this drop-off in the representation of women and racial minorities, and how we might go about ameliorating the problem.” …

“There is no question that as a field, philosophy is significantly less diverse nationally in terms of race and gender than we would like it be,” said Stephen Darwall, philosophy professor and former department chair.

He said that 2 percent of philosophy graduate students at Yale are black, and that there are no black faculty members currently in the department. …

Gender disparities also persist at the faculty level. Darwall said that five out of 18 philosophy ladder faculty, or 28 percent, are women. He added that the department focuses on identifying and recruiting talented women and philosophers of color to the doctoral program.

RTWT

For a Philosophy Department anywhere to fail to conform to contemporary notions of “Diversity” ought not to be surprising in the least.

In the first place, anyone sufficiently intellectually competent to study Philosophy could not possibly avoid noticing that Diversity as presently defined is a purely arbitrary and fundamentally bogus concept. Only identity groups identified with political grievances count toward Diversity. Nobody cares how many Appalachian hillbillies, Swedes, Belgians, Corsicans, Lithuanians, Eskimos, or Tibetans are studying Philosophy at Yale. Only identity groups with a litany of complaints and power-seeking political agendas count.

Many students of Philosophy these days take a particular interest in the philosophical thought of Friedrich Nietszche. Anyone adequately read in Nietszche cannot possibly avoid recognizing in “Diversity” what the great philosopher identified as “the slave revolt in morality,” the inversion of values, and the cynical and calculating attempt of the base and unworthy to gain power over their betters through the exploitation of their charity and benevolence. Anyone familiar with Zur Genealogie der Moral (1887) can hardly avoid identifing “Diversity” as nothing other than Ressentiment deceptively packaged for purposes of marketing.

(Disclosure: NYM’s proprietor was a white, male Philosophy major at Yale.)

01 Sep 2017

An Architecture Major from ’94 Reviews the New Colleges

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Alexandra Lange, a Yalie Architecture grad, reviews Peter Salovey’s new recently-opened colleges.

The colleges, designed by Robert A. Stern Architects (Melissa DelVecchio was the design partner), were intended as a kind of time travel. I graduated from Yale in 1994, and I could not remember what occupied the triangular block during my time, so undistinguished were its contents, but I do remember the deep sigh of having classes nearby “up Science Hill.” In order to shrink that distance psychologically, the university asked the architects to make more of what it had down below: James Gamble Rogers’s ten colleges of the 1930s, in a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Georgian styles. Rogers loved a visual trick to create coherence, akin to that of the tower. My own college, Pierson, is red brick Georgian on the inside, but it has a grey neo-Gothic wrapper on Elm Street to match its neighbors across the road.

On a recent visit, as I toured the colleges, ducking in and out of courtyards and vaulted tunnels, I felt respect for the thoroughness of the pastiche. Franklin is roughly triangular, with one big rectangular and two small wedge-shaped courtyards within. Murray… is more regular, with three courtyards enfilade. The bricks, the slate roofs, the gates, the lawns: all very charming. The small courtyards are quaint; the giant courtyards, camera-ready for graduation.

The architects at RAMSA learned their lessons well, and have employed every possible means to make the new colleges as charming as the old. No one could argue that they are being assigned second-best. Given a few years, and a little grime, most people may not even realize these are from 2017.

The illusion dispels once you go indoors, and the conflict between the twentieth and twenty-first centuries begins to sap the energy from the rooms. The problem is scale, mostly. These residential colleges—what other universities might call “dorms,” but with the addition of on-site faculty housing, dining and recreation facilities, and generous courtyards—were built to accommodate a 15 percent increase in Yale’s undergraduate student body. Because the freshman dormitories on Old Campus can’t be expanded, the freshman of these colleges will live with the upperclassmen, meaning every facility needs to be sized for 450 students. That’s larger than all but the largest of Yale’s existing colleges, which were built in a simpler time—socially and mechanically.

So the public rooms at the Head of College’s house, where s/he might hold a lecture or a dinner, are sized for a 400-strong buffet line to march through the pantry. The hallways and doorways are wider so that all of the rooms and gender-neutral bathrooms are accessible. The architects, working to combine Yale’s preferred room configuration— suites of singles and doubles off a common room—with contemporary fire regulations had to create long hallways, which the old colleges’ design studiously avoid.

Student rooms were fine: three times the size of my freshman dorm room, with a vestigial chair rail and elaborately paneled doors, the world outside seen through leaded glass. The intimacy and delicacy of the tight neo-Gothic spaces (which could also be dark and uncomfortable) was gone. In its place, I often felt like I was at the hotel next to a university, which apes its style as a branding exercise.

The dining hall at Franklin College feels enormous, its bulk broken down by side nooks, housed in little classically-fronted rooms that can each seat 20 to 25 students. The chairs, the moldings, the round window providing a view: Everything felt gigantic, puffed up to cover the baronial proportions of the room.

The dining hall was one of few places the architects were expressing some native personality—postmodernism rather than historicism—via the deep moldings around every opening, the flamboyant round lighting fixtures, the chairs with their own rows of arches on the backs.

Stern’s choice of a Cole Porter (Yale College 1913) quote above the non-working fireplace, “It was just one of those things,” seemed to be trying to express joie de vivre, but that was not what I felt. The room felt wrong, proportionally, functionally, spiritually. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a female alum quoted above the fireplace at the first opportunity? Or someone more beloved by the classes of the 2010s? Why build a non-working fireplace at all, especially opposite a 21st-century working kitchen? Why build such an enormous room at all, another place for haunches to be speared, when co-eds today would rather eat a salad on the lawn? The disconnect between the look and the mechanics showed through the skin.

I do not believe that residential colleges built in 2017 should look like those built between the first two World Wars, in turn an Americanization of Gothic colleges built in England in the fifteenth century. Who taught me to believe this? Yale, where I was educated in the history of architecture in buildings designed for the university by Louis Kahn and Paul Rudolph.

RTWT

HT: Tim of Angle.

There is, of course, plenty to infuriate intelligent older alumns.

Firstly, the preposterous names. One college is named for the worthy-enough Benjamin Franklin, as a concession to to the whim of Frankin Templeton Investments founder Charles B. Johnson ’54 who wrote the check. The problem is: Benjamin Frankin has no real connection to Yale.

The name of the second college is far worse. I’d prefer that it were named for Benjamin Franklin’s dog, rather than some colored lesbian who once attended the Law School, whom nobody not a communist had ever previously heard of. This level of Affirmative Action up-sucking to Identity Groups is just plain nauseating.

The deliberately non-working fireplaces are a nice symbol of today’s Yale, constituting a perfect example of the wussification of the place (some utter nincompoop fire marshal back in the 1980s, after most of two centuries in which working fireplaces had failed to burn down the university, concluded that fireplaces were a fire hazard, so Yale obediently closed them all up), along with offering an extremely apt metaphor for Yale itself. Yale being these days to real Education what a non-working fireplace is to Warmth & Light.

This Chicago Tribune piece has a slide-show of photographs.

23 Aug 2017

Yale’s Two New Colleges Open Today

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Blair Kamin, at the Chicago Tribune, reviews Yale’s new residential colleges which are open for business for the first time today.

When Yale built its signature Collegiate Gothic residential colleges between the two world wars, critics derided the buildings as “girder Gothic.” That term took aim at the disconnect between the colleges’ medieval-looking outer walls and their modern internal frames of structural steel — a sin against the modernist commandment that thou shalt express a building’s structure. The legend even grew that the leading architect of the residential colleges, James Gamble Rogers, had workers pour acid on the stonework to give his buildings an instant sense of wear, age and authenticity.

But that story, which provided terrific material for Yale tour guides, may be nothing more than an urban legend. More important, time has proved Rogers’ critics wrong.

Anyone who has visited Yale or Rogers’ buildings at Northwestern University, including the Deering Memorial Library, cannot fail to be impressed by Rogers’ masterful manipulation of scale and materials; his inventive, often whimsical, use of traditional architectural languages; and the way his buildings, which drew from the example of the ancient colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, engage their surroundings and encourage their users to interact.

So Yale’s new residential colleges, which New York architect and former Yale architecture school dean Robert A.M. Stern designed according to the Rogers model, have a very high bar to meet and some tough questions to confront: Do they refresh the Gothic tradition, as Rogers did, or are they a pastiche? Does it make sense for Yale, which claims to prize diversity and inclusion, to replicate the physical world of Rogers’ day, when the university’s student body was largely WASP and male?

It will be impossible to fully answer these questions until students move in Aug. 23, but a recent visit suggests that Stern has neared Rogers’ standard without matching him. The new colleges are strong, city-enhancing buildings and their interiors are graced with commodious, tradition-tinged rooms that students who grew up reading Harry Potter novels can be expected to appreciate. Yet Stern’s traditionalist architecture, which is draped like a Ralph Lauren suit over an underlying frame of steel and concrete, is uneven in quality, wavering between self-assured reinterpretation and over-the-top eclecticism.

Named for [a dual identity group token nobody not a Communist has ever heard of] and founding father Benjamin Franklin [who has no real connection to Yale], the colleges will allow Yale to gradually increase its undergraduate student population by 15 percent, to about 6,200. The university is not disclosing the colleges’ cost. Like Yale’s 12 previous residential colleges, 10 of which were completed under Rogers’ leadership, each of the new ones contains student rooms, a dining hall, a library and residences for faculty members who administer the college and advise its students. Yet there are crucial differences: With roughly 450 students apiece, the colleges are larger than their predecessors — in some cases, more than half again as big. And they are separated from Yale’s central campus by a large cemetery that sits south of their triangular, 6.7-acre site.

RTWT

HT: Matthew MacLean.

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