I am proud about a lot of things connected to the institution that gave me my college education. It is an ivy-walled gem of architectural beauty; it carries a history of open minded inquiry and a commitment to challenging the minds of young people to think, produce, and make the world a better place. The student body is widely diverse, which ostensibly must only add to the richness of the dialogue between students.
Their motto, after all, is "light and truth."
On the other hand, there are times when Yale students or alumni make me cringe, or even make me sick. Following a night last week when a bunch of pledges for a fraternity house at Yale marched around the campus yelling sexually violent and hateful phrases, there was a responding outcry from students, other organizations, and the administration.
I understand that there are some who feel it is all a tempest in a teapot. Stupid boys looking to provoke attention. Just ignore them.
Well, the consequences of ignoring them are too great. I am glad to see the very definitive statement of censure from the college president and dean. The bottom line was this sentence: "Yale has policies that broadly protect freedom of expression, but we also value decency and civility."
My oldest daughter graduated from Yale a year ago, but is still very connected, and I was interested to hear what she had to say about the incident. First, she remarked that this kind of incident/behavior may be horribly offensive, but is not that uncommon on campus. She was curious to know how this particular incident happened to catch the eye of the media.
Second, she answered my question - "I am hearing people claim that the societal pendulum is swinging back again, away from open-mindedness and tolerance, towards a new era of supremacy and prejudice. What do you think about that?"
"It's really sad, but I think there is some truth to that. Frankly, I think that racial prejudice and intolerance of homosexuality will go away long before sexist behavior goes. It's just too ingrained in our society."
Women in the world face some oppressive regimes, but here we are in our enlightened, highly educated, advanced nation. Look at the impression that has been made upon a young woman newly emerged into society from higher education. We have a lot of work to do.
Now that the hour of dawn will be at 7am or later for a while, I will warn regulars that my posts will often come a LOT later on days that I have early morning commitments.