Category Archive 'Yale'
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.

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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.

23 Aug 2017

“Moved to an As-Yet-Undecided Location Where it Will be Available for Study and Viewing”

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Remember the little architectural joke detail near a previously-little-used entrance to Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library that, what with impending more frequent passage of more visitors, earlier this month, was deemed problematically guilty of endorsing European oppression of Native Americans, as well as triggering to hoplophobes, by the powers that be in the library administration, resulting in the Puritan with the blunderbuss being covered over by a large rock, but the sneaky redskin left perfectly free to stalk his adversary with a bow-and-arrow?

The Yale Daily News reports that merely covering half the image with a rock has been found to be inadequate.

Yale will remove from Sterling Memorial Library a stone carving that depicts a Puritan holding a musket to the head of a Native American, University officials announced Tuesday.

The announcement comes in the wake of widespread criticism of Yale for initially covering the musket with removable stonework. The concealment of the musket was first reported by the Yale Alumni Magazine on Aug. 9.

Rather than alter the image, the University now plans to move the stonework — which is located near the entrance to the recently renovated Center for Teaching and Learning — to an as-yet-undecided location where it will be available for study and viewing.

You have to hand it to the Yale Administration.

The decision to cover the musket was made by employees in Yale’s facilities division who were involved in the renovation of the Center for Teaching and Learning, said Vice President for Communications Eileen O’Connor.

“They were told to figure out how to remove it, and they thought it was going to be too difficult to remove,” O’Connor said. “So they thought, ‘We know it’s controversial, we’ll figure it out, we’re can-do people, and we will cover it.’”

O’Connor declined to name the Yale officials involved in that decision. But she said the employees were unaware of the University’s principles for renaming, which were outlined in a report released last December.

The report stipulates that the University should contextualize renaming decisions to avoid “erasing history.” The covering of the musket contradicted that principle, Yale officials say.

In a statement on Tuesday, University President Peter Salovey said Yale should not “make alterations to works of art on our campus.”

“Such alteration represents an erasure of history, which is entirely inappropriate at a university,” Salovey said. “We are obligated to allow students and others to view such images, even when they are offensive, and to study and learn from them.”

They are not “altering” the work of art that is Sterling Memorial Library. They are not “erasing history.” No, no, no, they are merely “moving” it “to an as-yet-undecided location where it will be available for study and viewing.”

One expects that it won’t be all that long before people guilty of Wrong Think will not be exiled or purged, they will just be “moved to an as-yet-undecided location [one much resembling Siberia] where they will be available for study and viewing.”

RTWT

11 Aug 2017

PC Vandalism to Architecture of Sterling Memorial Library at Yale

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Yale Alumni Mag:

If you were especially observant during your years on campus, you may have noticed a stone carving by the York Street entrance to Sterling Memorial Library that depict a hostile encounter: a Puritan pointing a musket at a Native American (top). When the library decided to reopen the long-disused entrance as the front door of the new Center for Teaching and Learning, says head librarian Susan Gibbons, she and the university’s Committee on Art in Public Spaces decided the carving’s “presence at a major entrance to Sterling was not appropriate.” The Puritan’s musket was covered over with a layer of stone (bottom) that Gibbons says can be removed in the future without damaging the original carving.

HT: Instapundit.

11 Jul 2017

More Linguistic Purging at Yale

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As Freshmen first we came to Yale,
Fol de rol de rol rol rol!
Examinations made us pale.
Fol de rol de rol rol rol!

Chorus:
Eli Eli Eli Yale,
Fol de rol de rol rol rol!
Eli Eli Eli Yale,
Fol de rol de rol rol rol!

A lot of Yale alumni look forward to the bimonthly arrival of the Alumni Magazine with roughly the same enthusiasm with which we look forward to our next dental procedure.

There is always the triumphant announcement of Peter Salovey’s invertebrate administration’s latest surrender to leftist insanity; accompanied by all the usual gloating over this, that, and the other cases of recent worldly success by this Yale graduate or that one; the advertising columns offering vacation rentals in Tuscany or Provence for thousands a week; and the Class Notes (at my age typically telling you who died).

The Yale Administration is cowardly and conformist, and has no enemies to the Left, but there is still usually in evidence the Yale tradition of competence, particularly in formal areas involving language. Yale’s English Department was always traditionally the best in the country.

So, it is even more depressing than usual to learn that the Administration is caving to feminist crackpots and eliminating the word “Freshman.” It was not very long ago that every educated person recognized that “man” was in the English language a generic plural for all of mankind, male and female, with no particular offense intended to females, children, hermaphrodites, or the family dog.

It was not very long ago that some belligerent female trying to make an issue out of this particular feature of ordinary language would simply have been dismissed universally as a nuisance and a crank.

All this has changed recently with respect to the very center of the American Establishment. Today, no preposterous complaint, no demand for grotesque change, no utter and complete absurdity emanating from the ranks of society’s demoniacs will not be rapidly complied with.

I was marveling over all this, and asking myself how and why this came about, and the best answer I am able to come up with is to echo Bill Deresiewicz’s 2008 Essay, which argues that what our most elite schools have evolved into is engines of production of “really excellent sheep.

The radicals are the wolves and Peter Salovey, the rest of the Administration, and the Yale Corporation are all the very best little girls and boys, all with their medals for deportment clinking away, all of them too nice and too tame, domesticated, and civilized to stand up to an adversary prepared to use Alinskyite tactics.

Yale men of yore, the kind of Yalies who won their place on the Fence as Freshmen by physically ejecting the Sophomore Class, the kind of Yalies who used to go out to Dragon led by the Class Bully, wielding his badge of office bully club, to fight with sailors, are extinct. The American elite of today is made up of Deresiewicz’s “really excellent sheep,” i.e. utterly conformist tools, competent at the job but always with a keen eye fixed completely on the main chance, the kind of people ready to eat any toad required to get ahead.

All you can say is: A country gets the kind of elite that it deserves and God help the country that deserves this elite.

The alumni mag:

Strictly speaking, the term “freshman” became obsolete at Yale in 1969, when women were first admitted as undergraduates. But language moves a little more slowly than reality, so the Yale College Dean’s Office only recently resolved to use the gender-neutral “first-year” in official materials. “This has been talked about for years,” says Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarribar. “We’ve been asked about it by students and parents, and it’s become more and more clear that what you call things does matter.” The new terminology will start appearing in Yale publications this fall, but Lizarribar expects that in conversation the two terms will coexist for a while. (“Nobody’s going to say, ‘Oh my god, you used the wrong word!’”) Freshman counselors will be known this fall as first-year counselors, but Lizarribar says the informal portmanteau “fro-co” isn’t going anywhere. As for other time-honored phrases of undergrad tradition, we have a feeling it will be case by case.

28 May 2017

Yale Gave Special Award for “Exemplary Leadership in Enhancing Race and/or Ethnic Relations” to Two of the Leaders of Crowd that Abused Nicholas Christakis

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There’s Abdul improving those racial relations.

The Tablet:

Yale’s Nakanishi Prize is awarded every spring to “two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College.” Normally, the bestowal of an undergraduate award, even at an august institution like Yale, is of interest to no one beyond the recipients, their classmates, and their families. This year’s prize, however, should trouble anyone concerned with the imperiled fate of free inquiry and rational dialogue at our nation’s institutions of higher learning: on May 21, Yale recognized—out of a graduating class of some 1,300—two individuals who did more than most of their peers to worsen race relations on campus.

Our story begins in the fall of 2015, when a mob of students surrounded professor Nicholas Christakis in the courtyard of Silliman, the residential college of which he used to be Master, a term used to describe head faculty members who oversee undergraduate life (more on this later). Christakis, a world-renowned sociologist and scientist, was there to answer complaints about an email sent by his wife, Erika, in response to a campus-wide message distributed by a Yale College dean of “student engagement,” Burgwell Howard, warning students away from wearing Halloween costumes that “threaten our sense of community.” For her mere suggestion that Yale undergraduates—adults who can legally vote and fight and die in the nation’s wars—be entrusted with the responsibility to choose their own Halloween costumes (and, furthermore, be entrusted to share whatever discomfort they may have about potentially “offensive” costumes with their peers, rather than encouraged to whine to overpaid, utterly superfluous, administrative busybodies), Erika Christakis was denounced by hundreds of Yale students, faculty, alumni, and countless off-campus agitators as an incorrigible bigot and “white supremacist” whose job should be taken from her. …

Of the 100 or so students who confronted Christakis that day, a young woman who called him “disgusting” and shouted “who the fuck hired you?” before storming off in tears became the most infamous, thanks to an 81-second YouTube clip that went viral. (The video also—thanks to its promotion by various right-wing websites—brought this student a torrent of anonymous harassment). The videos that Tablet exclusively posted last year, which showed a further 25 minutes of what was ultimately an hours-long confrontation, depicted a procession of students berating Christakis. In one clip, a male student strides up to Christakis and, standing mere inches from his face, orders the professor to “look at me.” Assuming this position of physical intimidation, the student then proceeds to declare that Christakis is incapable of understanding what he and his classmates are feeling because Christakis is white, and, ipso facto, cannot be a victim of racism. In another clip, a female student accuses Christakis of “strip[ping] people of their humanity” and “creat[ing] a space for violence to happen,” a line later mocked in an episode of The Simpsons. In the videos, Howard, the dean who wrote the costume provisions, can be seen lurking along the periphery of the mob.

Of Yale’s graduating class, it was these two students whom the Nakanishi Prize selection committee deemed most deserving of a prize for “enhancing race and/or ethnic relations” on campus. Hectoring bullies quick to throw baseless accusations of racism or worse; cosseted brats unscrupulous in their determination to smear the reputations of good people, these individuals in actuality represent the antithesis of everything this award is intended to honor. Yet, in the citation that was read to all the graduating seniors and their families on Class Day, Yale praised the latter student as “a fierce truthteller.”

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Nakanishi Prize page on Facebook:

Congratulations to Lex Barlowe and Abdul-Razak Zachariah, the 2017 Nakanishi Prize winners!

Lex Barlowe – An African American Studies Major and Mellon Mays Research Fellow graduating with distinction, Lex Barlowe has focused her scholarship on issues of land usage, cooperative economies, and reparations in the American South. She is described as a fierce truthteller who illuminates the challenges affecting her communities, rooting them in history and context in order to promote a deeper understanding of them. Her peers say of her “Lex never fights for just one issue. Her moral imagination operates with the knowledge that issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. are all interconnected.”

Lex has also worked tirelessly to build bridges among organizations and individuals, pushing relentlessly for a more equitable and just campus — and world — through her activism. Serving as past President and Social Justice Chair for the Black Student Alliance at Yale (BSAY), a Communication and Consent Educator (CCE), and an organizer for the group Fossil Free Yale, she brings womanist, feminist, anti-racist work to the fore with academic rigor and a deep integrity, and she has, by example, taught her peers, faculty and administrators about inclusive leadership.

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Abdul-Razak Zachariah – graduates with distinction, has worked to improve Yale’s racial and ethnic relations through his academic work, both within his Sociology major and in the Education Studies program. A recipient of a Mellon Mays Research Fellowship, he has explored the topic of “respectability politics” in mentorship organizations for Black male teenagers in New Haven in the first of his two senior essays; in his second, he examines multiculturalism and racial representations in children’s literature.

Abdul has devoted himself equally to community engagement, mentoring youth of color as a member of Yale’s Black Men’s Union, guiding and welcoming peers as a Cultural Connections counselor, and caring for first-year students as a Freshman Counselor for Timothy Dwight College. As a member of the Undergraduate First-Generation Low Income Partnership, Abdul has played vital roles as Recruitment Coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, the New Haven Outreach Coordinator for Timothy Dwight College, and undergraduate representative to the Yale President’s Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion.

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