Some may worry about the uncommon occurrence of having almost half the Freshman class live in quarters outside Old Campus. However, fear not, the spirit of Yale and its history will keep us united. Take this opportunity to acquaint yourself with the events that kept your new home rocking over the past year.
Students had not been back to classes very long when terrorism stopped being an urban legend that only happened to the French and became a reality, hitting The City on September 11. With the typical Yalie vision of pacifist pragmatism, students started exclaiming the same night that we should not respond with hatred. They were right insofar as Tomahawk missiles are infinitely more useful than hatred in killing enemy soldiers.
Unfortunately, all six Yale professors invited to a panel about terrorism, headed by history professor Paul Kennedy, preferred to place the blame on America for the attack on the World Trade Center. Professor Donald Kagan was one of the few to criticize the lack of diversity on the panel and show that not every member of the faculty is out of touch with reality.
In a moment of wisdom, Yale decided to proceed with its Tercentennial Celebrations despite the recent acts of terror. The University held festivities at the Yale Bowl, with a dazzling light show and a parade of celebrity alumni such as Tom Wolfe. Bill Buckley and Big Bird shared a common stage, clearly an honor for as distinguished an author as Mr. Buckley. While most undergraduates were enjoying the festivities in the Yale Bowl, New Havens unions as well as GESO and USAY (the unions of graduate students and some overworked undergraduates respectively) organized a walk entitled Hope, not Fear to continue the tradition of disrupting Yales celebrations. They accused the University of economic terrorism, equating the schools employment policies with Al Qaedas jihad.
But it was not enough for New Havens unions to confuse capitalism with terrorism: they also managed to confuse history with fiction. GESO organizers authored the Yale Slavery Report. Funded by New Havens unions and issued at a convenient moment in labor negotiations, the Report accused the university of naming most residential colleges after people who owned slaves or defended slavery. As the Yale Standard uncovered, the Report included numerous factual errors. For instance, the Report stated that Timothy Dwight owned a slave, but neglected to mention that he bought her in order to free her. Funny to think that the writers of the Report could be the same people who grade your history exams.
Early during spring term, the contracts between Yale and Locals 34 and 35 (unions of Yales white-collar and blue-collar employees) expired. The University hired a consultant to handle contract negotiations, which had been bitter throughout Yales history. To the dismay of the unions, the consultant wrote in his report that union power is derived by attacking Yales reputation, which results in collateral damage done to New Havens economic development efforts. Gone is the illusion that the unions are out there to forward the interests of the Elm City.
The last great outburst of union passion of the year quieted down when Reverend David Lee, who received union funds to run as a candidate for the Yale Corporation, could not even get a quarter of alumni votes and lost the election to Maya Lin. Pain was felt and tears were shed.
As in most years, we also had an incident of cultural insensitivity on campus when the Morse College dining hall manager asserted that Korean food consists of dog and kimchi. While his comments reflect just about the usual politeness one encounters in the dining halls, the incident was blown out of proportion by some students who felt deeply wronged in their sense of ethnic identity. Rather than taking the comment as a personal attack, to be dealt with on a personal level, a group calling itself the Pan-Ethnic Coalition decided the comment necessitated a political petition. The Freshman Education Initiative intended to teach people that racist comments are mean. We thank the Coalition and all promise to be good.
One person did take concerns about ethnic sensitivity to heart, though: Yale Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer. In an email to the Yale University community, she described the age, build, and clothing of two men suspected in several robberies around campus. However, she omitted any mention of their race, a more helpful fact in recognizing them than what kind of hat they were wearing. When a Yale Free Press staff member inquired about this, Ms. Lorimer finally lifted the veil of ignorance from our eyes: the suspects were African-American. Brace yourself, as this will probably not be the last time that political correctness supersedes student safety at Yale. But, hey, dont you at least feel safer now that the government took Naples liquor license away to protect you from yourself?
Now that people cant drink, they will likely resort to more intimate means to satisfy their earthly urges. And for those in need of some sex ed, Natalie Krinskys new column Sex and the Elm City in the YDN provided plenty thereof and even made national news with its popularity among college students. From instructions on rationalizing ones superiority over ones boyfriend to the dark secrets of fellatio, Ms. Krinsky had something to offer to everyone For the more academically inclined, Yale held its first Sex Week in February, which covered topics from the history of the vibrator to kosher tantric sex. No one will claim again that Yales understanding of liberal arts doesnt include the teaching of crucial life skills.
On a happier note, this year marked the beginning of the Yale Free Press Web Exclusives. They will come in handy when you try to procrastinate during those long nights before your Directed Studies paper or chemistry lab report is due. Trust us, we have been there.
Natalie Jin is a sophomore in Pierson College