About an hour into the event — when it had gotten sufficiently crowded such that people began to sweat through their suits and dresses — the formal ceremony began. The event’s emcee gave a generic, but thankfully brief, speech about the history of the holiday dinner, then doled out his requisite thank yous to the unknown administrators and sponsors who helped plan the event. He took a moment to note the sheer abundance of food at the dinner — 1,000 shrimp, pounds and pounds of fish, crab, lobster, lamb, turkey and pork and cakes with too many layers to count — all for Yale. Once his speech ended, the Parade of Comestibles began. Dining hall workers, most of whom were Black, marched around Commons carrying the flags of the 14 residential colleges and carrying elegant food displays as a local drumming band, all Black, played triumphant beats. They circled Commons several times touting, among other things, a 10-foot loaf of bread, an ice-sculpted sleigh stuffed with the aforementioned shrimp and a rack of lamb decorated with mint and berries. Students swayed to the beat of the drums, excitedly watching the performance and recording it on their cell phones.
The food had to go somewhere, so people started taking it by the pound. Students lined up near the meal station back of Commons, waiting to grab entire crabs and lobsters to take home with them. They grabbed turkey legs the size of my forearm and munched away at them too. We all feasted like royalty.
Just two blocks away, on the city’s Green, homeless people froze and starved in the bitter New Haven night.
I left that dinner feeling disturbed and disheartened. On the walk back to my Old Campus dorm, I realized that I felt this way quite often while at this University. There’s something unsettling about Yale, about the way it operates, about its very existence. And now, having sat with these uncomfortable feelings for a while, I have come to realize that Yale is a problem. To fix it, we must get rid of the University. Completely.
In an interview with the Atlantic, Princeton University President Christopher Eisgruber answered the question: “Should Princeton exist?” He said, “The idea of a place like Princeton is that you can identify young people who have extraordinary talent and will benefit from an intensive academic experience. Over the space of years and decades, they will blossom in ways we can’t even predict, and they will be able to address problems that matter.” He listed names like Madison, Turing and Sotomayor as examples of the types of world-changers schools like Princeton can produce.