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Perhaps the only thing that everyone can agree on about this year’s election for Alumni Fellow of the Yale Corporation is that there’s never been anything like it. In addition to the rarity of the petition candidacy of the Reverend Dr. W. David Lee '93MDiv, the race has seen unprecedented campaigning and an unusual number of public statements about the race.
Ballots were mailed in mid-April to all alumni of the University, with the exception of Yale College graduates of the last five years, who are not yet eligible to vote. They will be counted on May 26. (Alumni who did not receive their ballots can apply for one at www.aya.yale.edu or by calling Dianne Witte at 203-432-7280.) Alumni must choose between Lee, who is the pastor of Varick Memorial AME Zion Church in New Haven, and Maya Lin '81, ‘86MArch, an artist best known for designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The winner will serve a six-year term on the Yale Corporation, joining five other alumni-elected trustees and ten “successor trustees” appointed by the Corporation itself.
Lee earned a place on the ballot by obtaining signatures from 3 percent of the alumni electorate. He argues that “Yale and New Haven should become true partners” and that the Corporation needs “someone grounded in the local community.” His unusual candidacy has included direct-mail appeals to alumni, a campaign Web site, and endorsements from political officials including U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman '64, ‘67LLB, Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal '73JD, U.S. representative Rosa DeLauro, and New Haven mayor John DeStefano Jr. Yale’s labor unions, of which Lee has been a supporter, paid for his first $30,000 mailing; since then, he has not accepted any union contributions, instead raising more than $20,000 from alumni and New Haven residents.
Lin was the only candidate chosen by an Association of Yale Alumni committee that usually nominates two or three candidates each year. Lin has expressed publicly her eagerness to serve, but she has otherwise declined to comment on the race, explaining in a letter to student groups that “Yale alumni have always relied on the record of the proven accomplishments and prior service of candidates in determining who would be the best stewards for the entire University.”
Although Yale officials have not endorsed either candidate, some have criticized Lee for introducing campaigning into the election process and have suggested that he will be indebted to Yale unions if elected. The AYA has created a Web page (www.aya.yale.edu/election) with information about each candidate and links to selected news and opinion articles about the race. For the first time this year, election results will be tabulated not by Yale employees, but by the outside firm of Mellon Investor Services.
A Head of State for Global Center
When Strobe Talbott '68 announced in January that he will leave his job as director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization this fall, many wondered if the new Center, which had been built largely around Talbott, had a future. But in April, the University announced that it had found a high-profile successor to Talbott in Ernesto Zedillo '81PhD, the former president of Mexico.
In Zedillo, the YCSG gains a leader with experience in academia, economics, politics, and international affairs. After attending college in Mexico, he came to Yale for a doctorate in economics. He taught at two Mexican universities and worked for the Banco de Mexico before entering government, serving in cabinet posts for six years before being elected president for a six-year term in 1994. Most recently, Zedillo headed a United Nations panel on financing for development.
The YCSG was launched last year, one of several initiatives designed to make Yale more international. It sponsors conferences and publications that explore the increasing interdependence and interconnection of the world’s nations.
Like Talbott, Zedillo describes globalization as neither good nor bad but inevitable. “Globalization is not the problem itself,” he told the New York Times. “The problem is that we are lacking effective policies regarding globalization.” President Levin said that Zedillo “wants to make sure that the globalization process improves the welfare of the poor itself as well as the rich.”
Childhood Obesity Linked to Diabetes
Americans have long been fighting a losing battle with their waistlines, and while medical experts routinely warn adults about the risks of being overweight, a new study by pediatricians at the Yale School of Medicine has shown that the hazards extend to adolescents and children.
A research team led by Sonia Caprio, an associate professor of endocrinology and pediatrics, found that in a group of 167 severely obese boys and girls, around 25 percent had an impaired ability to metabolize sugar. “Glucose intolerance,” as this condition is known, is especially worrisome, says Caprio, whose findings were published in the March 14 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. “Most of these children are at high risk for Type 2 diabetes,” she says, “and if they develop it before the age of 20, they face a lifetime of being at very high risk for complications from diabetes.”
There are two kinds of diabetes. The Type 1, or early-onset, variety typically appears in children, while Type 2, or adult-onset, is often not diagnosed until middle age or later. In either case, failure to regulate blood sugar levels—either through regular insulin injections, a combination of diet and exercise, or both—can result over time in a wide range of severe health problems, such as premature atherosclerosis, ulcers on the legs and feet, and impaired circulation that can lead to amputation, kidney disorders, and blindness.
The Caprio team’s research establishes a connection between what public health officials have termed an “epidemic” of childhood obesity and a disturbing increase in the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in young people. Roughly 10 percent of all children in this country are obese, and that percentage, along with those who are considered to be overweight, has been rising steadily for the past 30 years. The Yale study offers another powerful incentive for youngsters to lose weight and possibly prevent a diabetes epidemic and its potentially devastating consequences.
A Home Base for Student Groups
For many of Yale’s 250 undergraduate organizations, the “office” is a well-worn cardboard box of papers stored under a dorm room bed and passed down from officer to officer. Only a few established groups have their own space on campus. But in February, the University opened a new Student Office Center to give groups from the Ayn Rand Society to the Freestyle Dueling Association a place to meet.
The Center, operated by the Yale College Dean’s Office, is located above the J. Crew store in the University’s new Broadway retail building, but it is entered from the rear of the building, off the pedestrian walkway behind Mory’s and Toad’s Place. Designed by architects Nelson, Edwards & Cruickshank of Branford, Connecticut, the space includes dedicated office space for the Yale College Council, the New Journal, and the Yale Herald. In addition, there are computers, photocopy machines, conference rooms, and file cabinets for other registered groups to use.
So far, the traffic has been light, according to Philip Greene, the assistant dean of the College who works with student groups. Some students have complained that the Center’s hours—6 p.m. to midnight—are insufficient to accommodate student schedules, and Greene says he hopes to expand them next year. In the meantime, some club officers are grateful just to have a place for their stuff.
Poor Sales End Lyme Vaccine
Venturers into deer tick-infested landscapes will no longer be able to rely on a Yale-developed vaccine to provide protection against Lyme disease. Citing poor sales, GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company that licensed the vaccine from the University and began offering it to the public in 1999, announced in February that it would stop distributing Lymerix, as the product was known.
Yale and the manufacturers had high hopes for the vaccine, which was developed in part by School of Medicine researchers Erol Fikrig, Fred S. Kantor, and Richard Flavell. Lymerix was the first product to protect against infection by a spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochaete that can cause a wide variety of symptoms ranging from the flu and fatigue to severe arthritis and heart abnormalities. With the incidence of Lyme disease rising rapidly, from nearly 8,000 cases reported between 1990 and 1996 to the Centers for Disease Control, to more than 16,000 in 1999 (the figure is thought to be very low), there was considerable demand for the vaccine, and doctors dispensed about 500,000 doses in the first year of release.
But there were problems almost from the beginning. First of all, patients required three separate Lymerix injections over a year for the vaccine to reach its maximum effectiveness, which was only about 80 percent, and they would also need periodic booster shots.
Inconvenience and incomplete immunity aside, many observers feel that what ultimately doomed the vaccine was bad publicity in 1999 and 2000. Not long after the product was introduced, there were news reports that chronicled an array of what sufferers, some of whom would later join still-pending class-action lawsuits, claimed were adverse reactions to Lymerix. Most prominent among these was a condition called “treatment resistant Lyme arthritis.”
A recent study in the journal Vaccine seemed to exonerate the product, but the public-relations damage had already been done. Lymerix sales were projected to be no more than 10,000 doses next year.
While GlaxoSmithKline spokespeople maintain that economics, not the issue of possible side effects and safety, prompted the decision, School of Medicine pediatrician and epidemiologist Eugene D. Shapiro suggests that Lymerix failed for a far more basic reason. “Lyme disease is easily treated in most instances,” says Shapiro. “For most people the risk is not enough to justify the vaccine.”
Yale Index Shows Investors’ Mood
The last two years have been difficult for Wall Street, and after the terrorist attacks, the Enron debacle, the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and other shocks to the economy, no one would blame investors for losing faith in the stock market. And yet, despite all the economic bad news of the past few years, the confidence of individual investors has remained rock steady, says Robert Shiller, the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Economics.
Since 1989, Shiller, author of Irrational Exuberance, the best-selling examination of the effect of psychology on the market, has conducted regular surveys of both individual and institutional investors, and the latest release of what the economist now calls the Yale School of Management Stock Market Confidence Indexes reveals a number of surprises. “One of the puzzles is that confidence is not more related to events,” says Shiller, a research fellow at SOM’s International Center for Finance. “It seems to have a life of its own.”
To compile the indices, the economist periodically asked some 100 individuals, each with a median income of about $150,000, and the same number of brokers and analysts, four questions. The first concerned the valuation of U.S. stocks, while the second asked respondents how much of a change they expected in the Dow Jones average in a one-, three-, or six-month period, as well as over one year or ten. A third question asked for the direction the Dow would most likely take after a three percent decline during one day, and the fourth asked about the probability of a catastrophic market collapse within the next six months.
Shiller’s data shows that the men and women who work for investment firms have had their confidence shaken by the recession, the retreat of the market from all-time highs two years ago, terrorism, and corporate scandal. “These are people who are aware of all the tricks and know that there are a million ways to be dishonest,” he says.
However, because of the Internet, all of the information that used to be reserved for the pros is now available to everyone, but even with this knowledge, individual investors remain upbeat, Shiller has found. Nor have the recent shocks to the market system made them rethink their assumptions. “September 11 scared everyone, but our successful response boosted confidence,” says Shiller. “There was even a patriotic element in not giving in to bin Laden.”
So, despite market volatility, money continues to be invested, and Shiller’s indices show that individuals continue to believe that their risk of losing it is very low. This may be irrational, but it is often hard to know what to believe. “You have to put your money somewhere,” he says, not entirely convinced that stocks are a better place than, say, under the mattress. “With the stock market, you’re trying to predict something that is unknowable, something whose ups and downs have never made any sense at all.”
Record Celebrates and Struggles
As the actor Edmund Gwenn once quipped, “Dying is easy. Comedy is difficult.” But dying has proved more difficult than comedy for the Yale Record, which has clung tenaciously to life during the last 30 years. Now, as the student-run publication celebrates its 130th anniversary, its leaders hope to regain some of the consistency and glory of its mid-century heyday.
Ulysses S. Grant was president when the Record was founded in 1872—a good four years before the better-known Harvard Lampoon—as a weekly newspaper. It quickly morphed into a humor magazine, one that by the 1920s claimed to be “the most read collegiate publication in America.” At its height, the Record had its own building (now home to the theater studies department) and produced eight issues a year that looked to the New Yorker for tone and format. But the magazine declined rapidly in the 1960s, and published only sporadically over the following two decades before Michael Gerber ’91 and Jon Schwartz ’92 revived it in 1989.
Today, the magazine tries to publish four or five times a year, says chair Jules Lipoff ’03, while also keeping up a Web site (www.yale.edu/record), producing occasional parodies of publications, and bringing humorists like Al Franken, George Carlin, and the Onion’s Scott Dikkers to campus for events. Last year, the magazine elected its first woman editor, Krinka Sigurdsson '01. But on a campus where funny people now often gravitate to sketch comedy and improv groups, it is a struggle to keep humor alive on the printed page. Gerber, a humor writer who heads the Record’s alumni group, says he hopes alumni can build an endowment and provide some continuity and direction for the magazine. “What’s so interesting about the Record, “ says Gerber, “is that it just refuses to disappear.”
Sada Jacobson '04 has had a busy spring. In late March, she defended her NCAA championship in collegiate fencing’s newest event, the women’s sabre, and then, just two weeks later, she won a bronze medal at the world championships in Turkey. The day she returned to New Haven in April, one might have excused her for taking sometime to relish her recent successes, but she was looking ahead. During her stay in Turkey, the International Olympic Committee announced that in 2004, at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, women’s sabre will be a full-fledged medal event for the first time. “This is huge,” says Jacobson, laughing. “I’m so excited.”
When other members of the Class of 2004 are job hunting and applying to graduate school, she may well be preparing to compete in the Olympics. Jacobson first started fencing the summer after her sophomore year of high school. Her father, David Jacobson ’74, had been an All-American fencer at Yale (under Henry Harutunian, the same coach who now guides Sada), but had let the sport go since college. When he discovered a fencing club in Atlanta, he began fencing again and introduced his daughter to the sabre.
Competitive fencers may choose from among three weapons: epee, foil, and sabre. With epee and foil, a fencer can only score points with the tip of the blade. But with sabre, points can be scored with the cutting edge as well as the tip. Due to this freedom of attack, sabre bouts are usually fast and furious, lasting less than a minute. Sada Jacobson loves it.
“Sabre is definitely the most aggressive style of fencing, and I think it’s the most exciting,” says Jacobson. “The movements are small, precise. You have to be able to move fast. But it’s also a very thinking sport. Sometimes, you fence bouts and you just get through them and win the bout. And sometimes you really manipulate your opponent—you know what they’re going to do before they do it, and you totally control the bout. That’s a really great feeling.”
When the Chicano and Puerto Rican cultural centers united to form La Casa Cultural last year, its leaders decided that a mural on the side of the Center’s Crown Street home would be a good way to celebrate. Artists Francisco Delgado, Maceo Montoya '02, and Carlos Jackson posed with the work in progress in April.
It’s getting harder to get admitted to Yale—but easier to find out if you have been. The College admitted 2,008 of 15,443 candidates in April, an admission rate of 13.0 percent, the lowest in Yale history. This year, for the first time, candidates could find out their status on a password-protected Web site starting April 3; nearly two-thirds had done so by the end of the day. Those who were admitted viewed a personalized Web site with Web and e-mail links to follow up on their specific interests.
The ongoing negotiations between Yale and its unions yielded agreement on some issues in April, when the University agreed not to use subcontractors for food service and maintenance jobs in new buildings, reversing a six-year-old policy. The two sides have also reached agreement on a no-layoff clause and minimum staffing levels.
The summer employee who stole $2 million worth of letters and books from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library pleaded guilty in April to larceny and criminal mischief charges. Benjamin W. Johnson, a University of Wisconsin student who cut valuable signatures out of letters he had stolen and tried to sell them, could face up to two years in prison when he is sentenced in June.
Gifts to higher education were up 4.3 percent in 2000-2001 despite a slowing economy, but Yale’s total slipped to $350 million from a record $358 million.
The New York Police Department came to Yale in April to bolster its ranks with another shade of Blue. The department is recruiting on less traveled paths this year, hoping to interest Ivy League job seekers in a career on the force. About 20 Yale students attended a recruiter’s presentation, and two of them filled out applications.
From the Collections
Having made a name for herself with complex black-and-white Op Art drawings in the 1960s, British artist Bridget Riley simplified her compositions when she began to use color, as seen in her 1969 Red and Blue. The gouache-on-paper drawing is one of several works given to the Center for British Art recently by art critic John Russell.
The women’s lacrosse team was ranked 12th in the nation in mid-April with a 4-1 Ivy record that was marred only by a loss to number-two Princeton on April 6. The men’s team beat Princeton on its home field on March 30 to end the Tigers' 37-game Ivy winning streak.
Men’s hockey forward Chris Higgins '05, who led the Ivy League in points, goals, and assists this season, was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year in March. Higgins was also a unanimous choice for the All-Ivy first team.
Yale’s polo teams joined forces to field two co-ed squads against Oxford and Cambridge in the first Atlantic Cup competition. Yale placed third and fourth in the round-robin tournament, which was held at Yale’s Equestrian Center on April 6 and 7.
Army and Navy in the Ivy League? Athletics director Tom Beckett floated this modest proposal in the New Haven Register in March, arguing that the service academies would give a big boost to attendance at Ivy football games. The academies have yet to express their enthusiasm.
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