To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
I read with considerable interest and not a little awe your Yale supplement. Particularly intriguing was the load article, entitled "Yale: For God, For Country, and Success". I was impressed and gratified to hear that I head an organization which "wields terrific influence" and that I myself am held "in near veneration" by the campus at large. An enviable position!--and one, frankly, of which I had not been aware. Because your writers reported it, however, I presume it must be so. I will not hesitate to inform the more doubting Thomases in the Ell midst of this happy fact.
I am disturbed, however, to hear that a Yale man is not accepted by his fellows on personal worth. I am disturbed to find out that success is the touchstone of the Yale community--and that this success has such a narrow definition, I am appalled by the fact that (apparently) everyone who is not elected head of some large campus organization suffers from intense frustration. He must be as sociologically maladjusted as are the TV-less children in the current video ads.
I had not known these things, you see, until I scanned your Saturday supplement. And, I must confess, I still nurse hopes that your writers' editorializing may have been a traffic inaccurate. Could it be that there are (despite the article) a happy few that are not the vocational automatons you describe? Could it be that some forsake the ways of the Pharisees and do not seek to conform to whatever this "Yale Man" is that you mention (and of which no one I know has heard) I Could it be that your writers operated from a Socratic basket in mid-air, trying to make the worse appear the better analysis?
Generalizing on the Picture
The questions are, of course, rhetorical. I suspect that your writers have a carry-over Stover-at-Yale obsession from childhood, or that they are congenitally unhappy. For a reporter, by all journalistic canons with which I am acquainted, would shrink from taking one aspect of the life of a community (and even that was treated with liberal superficiality) and generalizing it as the overall picture. A visitor to Cambridge, for instance, might read the Lampoon's recent miscarriage and bruit it about that all Harvard men are intellectual snobs and/or obscene. Upon a perusal of the CRIMSON, he might conclude that the institution on the Charles is a miasma of leftists and people in-ordinately concerned with something sexual called parietal rules. If he attended one of the dances (and were he in a carping mood), he might report that The Harvard Man is an objectionable drunk with a St. Grottlesex accent.
Perhaps, however, such conclusions would be unfair and unrepresentative. Just as much so as the statement, "Yale, according to its students of more than average insight, is a trade school for success." The Yale students concerned may have had insight a-plenty, but that quality is not to be discerned in their interviewers. Garrison McC. Ellis Chairman, Yale Dally News
The Authors Reply
The CRIMSON appreciates Mr. Ellis' loyalty but sticks to its guns. Its four researchers went to Yale with no prejudices or carry-over obsessions; they spent half a week talking to more than 100 students, professors, and officers. Among these were President Griswold ("Yale is more of a come-outer college . . . People should do what they do because they want to do it, not because they want to get ahead."), four College masters (one: "There's too much of a success-for-the-sake-of-success attitude here."), and an executive of Mr. Ellis' own paper ("Yale is a trade school for success.") Their conclusion agreed with a recent study of Yale society, based on cross-section polls and published as a sociology thesis.
Paragraph by Paragraph
1. Yale men might disagree with Mr. Ellis' modesty. In yearbook polls, over 60 percent called the News the most powerful organization on the campus, and 70 percent said they "admire students who occupy important extra-curricular positions."
2 and 3. Mr. Ellis exaggerates. The CRIMSON said, "Even if a student doesn't go after prestige, and many of them don't, Yale's social values set his undergraduate life."
4 and 5. Our story did not pretend to be an "overall picture" of Yale. Yale and Harvard are a lot alike; the CRIMSON was looking for the differences. What Mr. Ellis admits is "one aspect of the life" of Yale, we think is the main difference between Harvard's and Yale's value; that is why we played it up.