Letters to the Editor

Letters: May/June 2019

We welcome readers’ letters, which should be e-mailed to yam@yale.edu; mailed to Letters Editor, Yale Alumni Magazine, PO Box 1905, New Haven, CT 06509-1905; or faxed to (203) 432-0651. Due to the volume of correspondence, we are unable to respond to or publish all mail received. Letters accepted for publication are subject to editing.

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I just finished reading your article on the wonderful Jane Greenwood (“The Alchemist of Costuming,” March/April) and had to leave the room so my husband wouldn’t wonder why I had burst into tears. The article filled me with longing for those magical creative collaborations in the theater. As a stage management MFA student, I was privileged to sit in on meetings of collaborators in the theater, and later I played an active role in such meetings as a set and lighting designer in my working years.

I remember how sometimes agonizing those meetings could be, but mostly how satisfying they were as we watched all those creative minds bring their best tools and imaginations to the process. It was never one person who could claim full credit for the outcome, and that was what was so great about it. Instead, collaboration meant there was high energy, expression, tension, and respect from the team that came together and gave birth to what became the finished entity—itself alive because it included the audience.

Oh, how this article made me miss it! With the likes of Jane Greenwood, Ming Cho Lee, Michael Yeargan, and other professionals—and the countless talented students that rose through the ranks—the atmosphere was so satisfying, so rich with effort, passion, and results. That is a very valuable thing Yale has in its drama school and the Yale Rep. I hope you will continue to take good care of it.

Melissa Rick Cochran ’81MFA
San Diego, CA


Running mates

I just wanted to pass my thanks along to Jake Halpern for his thoughtful article about the New Haven Age Group Track Club (“A Place to Bond,” January/February). As a former track athlete at Yale, I always felt it unusual that the varsity team didn’t interact with the community at large more. Happy to see our facilities are, at least!

James Randon ’17
Cambridge, MA


More on Aldo Parisot

Remembrances of Aldo Parisot (“‘Irascible and Difficult.’ ‘Very intense.’ And Beloved,” March/April) could also include his work with his colleagues on the music faculty, perhaps most notably in the form of the Yale Quartet. The group’s extraordinary recording of the last quartets of Beethoven is still available from Amazon and Arkivmusic. It affords ample opportunity to hear the subtleties of Parisot’s playing.

In the late 1960s, I played viola in groups he coached, and yes, he was energetic, if not to say outspoken, on many matters—not only musical. And that wild arpeggio from the bottom to the top of the violoncello’s range in the piece Donald Martino wrote for him! I’m sure it is still vivid in the ears and eyes of those who heard and saw him play it.

Thomas Dunn ’69PhD
Silver Spring, MD


How strange to read a fascinating and detailed profile of Aldo Parisot with no mention—either by him or by the fine music journalist who wrote it—of his crucial role in the Yale Quartet from the later 1960s through early 1970s and their gold-standard late-Beethoven cycle.

Parisot’s playing was not perfect—the opening of the op. 132 Alla marcia is jarringly sour—but elsewhere his energy, musicality, and directness fully matched that of the other performers, and even today the Yale recording easily holds its own among the numerous “very best.”

David Moran
Wayland, MA


I remember Aldo Parisot playing at the Sunday candlelight performances at the Congregational church in Wilton, Connecticut, when I was a small boy. Amazing!

McKim Symington ’74
Washington, DC


The admissions fraud case

In his recent letter to the Yale community regarding the college admissions scandal (“Soccer Coach Charged in Admissions Fraud,” page 12), President Salovey ended with a promise to “ensure the integrity of our admissions process.” In addition to the immediate concerns about fraudulent athletic résumés, I hope this episode will inspire Yale to question more broadly the role of athletics in the admissions process.

My Yale experience was enormously enriched by the diversity of my fellow undergraduates. This diversity included athletes—their participation in their sports is an important part of how we should define “diversity.”

With that said, a football player is as important, but no more important, than (say) a dancer in enriching the tapestry of the undergraduate experience. The admissions process should not make him so.

In addition to this, because of the particular sports Yale values, admissions preferences for athletes effectively become affirmative action for affluent white kids. Participants in sports such as crew, squash, lacrosse, field hockey, fencing, sailing, and ice hockey are disproportionately white, affluent, privately educated, and—to a great degree—from the east and west coasts. Giving them an admissions advantage effectively discriminates against people who don’t come from that very narrow background.

When deciding on a starting lineup, Bill Belichick doesn’t factor the player’s skill at calculus or scanning poetry into his decision. Likewise, Yale should not give applicants a disproportionate admissions advantage because they can hit a puck, row a shell, or run 100 meters better than most.

Willoughby Johnson ’92
Westwood Hills, KS


I write as an alum and a first-generation Yalie. Following the announcement of the college admissions bribery scandal and Yale’s own connection to it, I was proud to see President Salovey publicly state his commitment to the integrity of the admissions process and suggest that the university may take further action. I encourage him to lead the nation by publicly attesting that henceforth, Yale will give no preferential admissions treatment to the children and relatives of large donors. Donations should be made and viewed as appreciation for the experience an alum had while at Yale, not as down payment for future generations.

Anant Raut ’96
Arlington, VA


A defense of DKE

After reading “Yale Report Slams DKE Culture” (March/April), I’d really like to see some response by DKE members and truly disinterested parties regarding the branding of the fraternity as an animal house.

I was not a frat member, but I thought it was overkill by the dean of the college to assume the role of “helicopter mom” to warn an adult student population of this den of iniquity. At least he could have waited to review DKE’s plan of positive action going forward.

The allegations by disgruntled students about the DKE parties being characterized by “unlimited alcohol, little crowd control, and a lack of concern for guests’ well-being” sound like most of the frats I remember from my own school years.

Students always have choices about the paths and actions they take—to be at Yale is not to be low-achieving—and they will indeed behave in a manner they perceive as providing value for themselves. They don’t need Mom anymore.

If these DKE leaders are as thoughtful and resourceful as I believe them to be, they’ll have a popular, energetic, successful operation and new digs in relatively short order.

Keith T. McEligot ’57E
Brielle, NJ


Confronting sexual abuse

I noted three different mentions of campus sexual abuse in the current issue of the magazine (Campus Clips, May/June). These took me back to the medical school case involving cardiologist Michael Simons and the five years it took to resolve it. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I was one of those deeply disturbed by it, and I reached out to Peter Salovey. He was extraordinarily gracious and was, like so many people in the Yale community, actually living the powerful emotions much of the campus felt. He was available to people like me at any time. On one occasion he told friends and colleagues that the issue of campus sexual abuse would be the primary issue of his presidency. That reminded me of the adage that “God doesn’t ask more of us than we can give.” In choosing Peter, He chose well. Peter will remain committed.

David Hilyard ’63
Suffield, CT


President Salovey criticizes federal changes to the Title IX regulations on sexual misconduct, saying that “live cross-examination of survivors” would “hurt those who are most vulnerable and it will not make the process fairer for anyone.” Doesn’t this smack of the Queen of Hearts? “Give him a hearing but then off with his head.”

Even before the hearing, the accuser is labeled a survivor and the one who is more vulnerable. But what if the charge is false? Could it be that the accused may in fact be the survivor and the more vulnerable? And whether he is or not, will not cross-examination make the process fairer for him?

Terrance J. Mullin ’66
Alexandria, VA



In our review of a book about Benjamin Rush (Output, March/April), we wrote that Rush was the only medical doctor to sign the Declaration of Independence. In fact, five doctors were signers; Rush was the only one with a medical degree.

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