Finkle Finds His Accent Chakra (continued)

By David Finkle

Any returning alumnus/alumna who picked up the Thursday, November 10 edition of the Yale Daily News, still the oldest college daily, saw the banner headline “Campus Despondent After Trump Victory.”  (Has anyone noticed that the name Trump is contained in the word “Triumph”?)

Anyone scanning the OCD likely took in a leading editorial by Isis Davis-Marks headlined “The End of Times” and beginning “I cannot even function right now.  As a queer black woman, I feel unsafe in this country.”  Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway is quoted as saying, “One thing we need to do during difficult times is keep focus on what we are all about… Being as normal as we can in day-to-day work is, I think, a healthy response.”

An issue given over almost entirely to post-election campus blues included stories about faculty members not accepting all-nighter-election-watching as a reason for delayed papers or as resistance to already scheduled exams. (This, as if teachers hadn’t themselves indulged compulsively in the activity.) There was coverage of ensuing Wednesday panels discussing media lapses as well as faculty historians Joanne Freeman, Beverly Gage and Glenda Gilmore putting things in their perspectives.

In light of these developments, perhaps only your ’62 AYA rep was drawn more directly to these secondary Assembly aspects. This year’s theme (there’s always a specific theme) was “Teaching Our Strengths: Yale’s Schools of Art, Architecture, Drama and Music.” (Notice that the schools are listed almost in alphabetical order).

But even President Peter Salovey did address the election aftermath, the first of three questions culled from previously-filed query cards. He did so by, first, mentioning the ways in which the university could be most adversely affected, pointing first to potential taxes applied to the endowment. He also said he’d written a letter to the university population stating, “We have to elevate the discussion.”

In his remarks preceding the file-card enquiries, Salovey emphasized what has been accomplished during his first three years in office.

  • He cited the enlarged number of deans and an overall commitment to new and enhanced leadership.
  • He focused on the teaching-research balance going forward, noting that the most expensive area will be in the expansive sciences.
  • He closed that lengthy segment by stressing that by “endowment,” he not only means fundraising but the endowment of, say, undergraduates and alumni acting as ambassadors for Yale. Nicely poetic, it was.

The three-day convocation — Thursday and Friday aimed at panels, et cetera and Saturday primarily devoted to the Yale-Princeton game — does have as its essential goal the underlining and enlarging of already strong alumni interest and support.

Accordingly, the yearly update on class accomplishments in the way of the continuing alumni/alumnae bond. This two-hour meeting, headed by the extremely competent, amusing Karen Jahn — included, as usual, three class officers describing their tactics. Wendy D’Amico, Yale ’93, impressed me with her ticking off monthly events she and colleagues are running as a strategy to keep the old college tie tightly knotted.

Considering this year’s theme, Thursday panels and the like were given over to architecture, art, music and drama. Since I write about theater, I opted for those look-see opportunities but don’t want to try the patience of those who might not have selected the same path.

I’ll just say I attended “Drama I: The Actors’ Accent as a Vehicle for Empathy,” where we were asked to participate by, among other participation requests, locating our accent chakras. (Adherents to Eastern philosophy will understand.) The ensuing chanting was fascinating, but enough said.

I also attended rehearsals for an undergraduate production, both written and directed by undergraduates, and for the next Yale Repertory Theater’s production, August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars.”  About that experience, I’ll only say that already the progress indicates this is going to be a first-rate affair.

By the way, this was my third and last year as an Assembly, and so I want to say profuse thanks for the rewarding opportunity.

Please comment here. Thanks.

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