Survey: Our Attitudes toward Yale

The Class Survey asked: “How would you describe your attitude toward Yale as an alum today?”

Classmates were invited to add comments to the question “How would you describe your attitude toward Yale.” Here they are, all 60 of them:

The reason I have been back to Yale so many times is that both my children went to Yale, and I think it is a far better place to be an undergraduate now than it was in 1970.

Failure to safeguard free speech and willingness to sacrifice everything for identity politics are major disappointments…..but still care about/value the place.

I probably would have been better off at a big state university where fewer people were full of themselves

Unfortunately, Yale has betrayed its mission as a beacon of liberal education by becoming illiberal in attitude, actions, and thought. Yale and institutions like it have an obligation to foster all strands
of thought and debate. By adopting policies encouraging identity politics, bowing to the politically correct orthodoxies, not disciplining students and faculty whose intolerance precludes and shuts down free speech and debate, smugly refusing to acknowledge history for what it is and some of history’s eternal truths, are evidence that Yale, at best, is hypocritical, and at worst is undermining the very pillars of the Western Tradition which made Yale possible. Yale’s behavior in recent years to erase or run away from its history and its eternal truths are ill considered and foster the divisions are rending apart this country. For instance, Yale’s bows to “feelings” (e.g., re-naming Calhoun College, the Christakises’ treatment at Halloween and its aftermath, the University’s institutional failure to give due process to Brett Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court hearings and its treatment of Professor Amy Chua) are morally bankrupt. America is comprised of many marginalized groups (who does not feel marginalized at one time or another?). White privilege is assumed. Yet no 10th generation Scots Irish working class woman or man in West Virginia or Kentucky would recognize such a privilege. Yale’s contributions to the current corrosive national ethos are no different than the ruling power in Orwell’s “1984,” to say nothing of their disregard of the Western Tradition’s seminal impact on the dominant events of the 20th Century. A failed Communist experiment in Russia, Mao’s Chinese dictatorship, Hitler’s madness were only defeated by a Western Civilization which, founded on a Judeo Christian ethic, and not withstanding its shortcomings, was/is demonstrably superior to other ways of life (at least in terms of fostering better living standards and giving all a place at the economic and electoral table, however imperfect same may be). Yale’s institutional relativism – judging everything by the standards of a modernity – utterly discredits Yale. Such relativism and willful ignorance of history are at war with everything a liberal arts institution like Yale at one time did, and claimed to, represent. What are those? The last time I looked, they were open inquiry, questioning all orthodoxies, not judging the past by the fleeting standards of today, not attempting to wipe out the past because of an effort to build a better man (is that Stalin or Hitler softly whispering in the background?), transmitting to future generations the Western canon with its eternal truths . Yale, sadly, has abdicated that mission when it should be championing those truths,. which after all, made Yale possible in the first instance. Yale’s early endowment was funded in part from the sins of slavery which was engaged in by native Africans, all of Christendom, all of Islam, all of China, and a host of other societies.

Too bad everybody is going into finance. What good does that do?

I live in coastal California. We have fabulous research universities here. Yale is playing catch up ball in technology and engineering. Yale is still incredibly strong in humanities and psychology. Yale is trying to stress innovation but I am not exactly sure how that can be done. I am concerned that it is hard to get tenure and faculty diversity remains lower than would be desired. I think there should be a way to recruit and retain DOERS as well as thinkers and they should have a place in the university.

Mostly historical — I don’t have gripes with Yale today.

I remain exceptionally angry over dishonest loan collection efforts by Yale after I had defeated them in court.

Gruntled and bemused that my three year old daughter who accompanied me to Yale is Class of ’90 (originally, but due to illness her last term is considered ’91), making her the first of the second
generation of women at Yale.

School has become way too Politically Correct.

I have been embarrassed and frustrated by Yale’s difficulties protecting women students from rape-culture fraternities. The school must do better.

Too much PC and cowtowing to snowflakes.

I don’t get the sense of Yale as a leader – I spend more time at Harvard, guest teaching, etc and find it to be a more stimulating and generative environment.

Diversity, equity and inclusion excludes Republicans.

The pandering to students that fosters an entitled narcissism rather than demands that they stand up as people of integrity. The enabling of spurious social justice claims/intersectionality and the suppression of truly diverse discourse (read – conservative perspective). I hold the current administration of the college in complete contempt.

Mostly positive. Is it a little squishy these days?

I don’t think Yale has maintained a level of freedom of speech and expression consistent with liberal education. It is not the Yale that changed my life for the better.

Largely indifferent

Since when do students bash professors for having the temerity to suggest that Yalies have the intelligence to choose their own Halloween costumes? The list goes on & on.

I think Salovey is a terrible President and has no backbone

Generally gruntled. but am concerned that the current Administration lacks a clear, and compelling vision for Yale’s future and mishandles key issues and crises. There is less boldness now, less creativity, less front line leadership on critical higher ed, national or global issues

Read “The Coddled Mind”

I remain absorbed and fascinated by Yale’s resilience after 300 years and counting. Will it persist as a place, like Oxford? How will Yale adapt to the Internet, rise of China, changing face of USA?

Needed career advice that should have been offered Freshman year without having to search it out, missed female friends, but got to spend time with brilliant people and had some great classes and loved Sterling library

It is fine, of course, but a shame that Yale let science drift into an afterthought

Comments about question 27 (Calhoun College). There is no question that Calhoun himself was a racist man in his days and I reject his racist ideas, as I am sure all my Yale classmates do, African-American or otherwise. I felt that Yale should have placed a plaque next to his painting at Calhoun College detailing his racist legacy, and that the larger Yale community rejected that legacy. However, the name Calhoun should have stayed because it is just a name. I will always think of that college as Calhoun, even though they gave it a new name, because that was what it was named when I was a student.

The reason I have been back to Yale is that. my children went to Yale, and I feel it is a far better institution now than in it was in 1970, particularly for women

Mostly gruntled

If I were applying now, I would not attend Yale. I don’t believe the faculty or the administration supports a well rounded education, or tolerates conservative viewpoints. Still thankful for the friends I met there and the experiences I had.

Is Yale teaching students to be fascists?

Like the physical campus and come back to visit occasionally just to walk around. I worry that there is less willingness to explore ideas that might challenge one’s preconceptions. Need to seriously think about the extent to which the class is shaped by athletics and legacies.

Yale should reflect the American promise of equal opportunity.

Grateful perhaps better describes it.

Add “proud.” Yale has been at the forefront of most major issues in the intervening years and has been on the right side – the one for truth, rational discourse, tolerance, and acceptance.

Loved my time at Yale, then.

I was glad to go to Yale when it was first opening up to women, because I wanted the best possible education and rejected the idea of a ‘safe space’ in, say, a women’s college. I wanted to have to compete on the same terms as I would later on. What I didn’t realize was how very uneven those terms would be in the outside world, and that 45 years later, the glass ceiling would still exist, powerful mentoring women would still be rare to non-existent, and that Roe v. Wade would be in danger.

Yale ought to pay real estate taxes. Night would turn to day for New Haven and Connecticut if it did so.

Safe places, really. You go to Yale to get your thinking challenged not to hide behind preconceived notions

With Levin’s tenure I think Yale became a more responsible citizen, but I think there is still much more it can do for New Haven and beyond. This would be a great topic for a session at a reunion some time.

Hypocrisy and political correctness have ruined Yale.

Yale has never been perfect but as the years go by I am increasingly glad I went there.

The politics of victimhood, class envy and political correctness which are being promulgated today have destroyed Yale’s reputation as a center of free intellectual inquiry. Yale wants diversity in everything but political philosophy. It has become racist (anti-white), sexist (anti-male), socialist (anti-free capitalism) and gender biased (anti-cis gender).

Yale did well by me. I hope I’ve done well by Yale over the years. Good to see others have the same opportunity that I had.

Way too liberal and intolerant an institution.

Yale still fails to show that it values diversity, inclusion, equity and access as elemental to sustainable success. Instead, it seems to continue a limited view that historically ignored or excluded groups should be grateful for admission and that the external world should congratulate the university for updating its image.

The negatives arise not so much from dissatisfaction with Yale as from my own inability to take full advantage of the academic feast happening all around me. Also, I don’t particularly respect who I was at Yale: self-absorbed, unkind and ungenerous.

Some of the on-campus political correctness has been disappointing.

I teach at Yale, as did my spouse, and one of our kids graduated from Yale, too. I know it from many angles and can only describe my feelings as mixed: admiring, proud, troubled, frustrated. The best thing, which gets better and better all the time: the students.

Unhappy with how sexual harassment issues have been handled, and how the misconduct of the Medical School dean (plagiarism) has been buried. Glad that tuition support has become so robust, but the school could do MUCH more for 1st generation college students. Legacy admissions are a crime.

Universities have a mission crucial to humanity. But concerned that Yale has become too rich and powerful, no longer loyal to the nation, sanctimonious and intolerant of conservative values, and
too tolerant of racial and sexual identity politics.

I’m proud to have gone there, grateful for the people I met there, but don’t feel I belong to the socio-economic class that defines Yale.

I hung out with grad students most of the time, which was great; but I don’t feel much connection to the Class of 1974. (And my one good friend in it, Tom Chen, has passed away.) Re: Question 30 your assumption that everyone attended Yale in 1970 actually alienates me further! There was no attempt by Yale or my college (JE) to make transfer students feel welcome or help to fit into undergraduate life. Re: Question 34 – I’ve never thought about whether I’m “proud to be a Yalie”. I suppose I’m a misfit all around! Seriously, though, I got good education and future prospects there, for which I am grateful. I’m just not a rah-rah boola-boola type.

I worry about the sway of political correctness on campus, combined with a social/intellectual tendency toward smugness and self-regard that I fear faculty and administration are loathe to challenge. I’m not as certain as I once was, as to the clear superiority of attending Yale instead of other “non-elite” universities.

Yale went out of its way NOT to offer financial aid to me as a woman with sisters (it’s a long excruciating story) while they subsidized the men from my high school class. I joined the ill-fated “cohort” loan program and was paying Yale into my 40s. In effect, Yale took away any extra earning power that the degree afforded me. Because of this I have never donated money to Yale per se (special interest groups, yes)

There is no reason to attend a research university for college unless one’s interests cannot be served by one of the many superb liberal arts colleges in this country.

I only wish that I had taken advantage of more of the many opportunities that Yale offered. Confidence may have been an issue for me. Because of that, I might have gotten more out of a small liberal-arts college.

Too much PR rather than truly meaningful image projection; Too much corporate speak (e.g. compare current President of Yale with Kingman Brewster.)


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