Trying to Transcend

A Yale student attempts commercialized meditation

Illustration by Madeleine Witt. “Aim, aim, aim.” I’m sitting cross-legged on the floor of my dorm room, eyes closed, chanting this word over and over in my head. I’m trying to practice Transcendental Meditation, which, among meditators, is known for being especially simple. But it doesn’t feel simple. Am I breathing correctly? Is my posture right? How will I know if I’m meditating? I worry that worrying about the best way to meditate is getting in the way of meditating, which is exactly the kind. . . Read more
Margaret Shultz
Beyond Fossil Free

How does divestment fit into social justice?

Illustration by Daniel Semenciuc. On a Sunday afternoon last September, the three musicians started to groove. The fiddle wailed, and the bass ba-dummed. “We got this battle,” the melodica-player crooned, “We’re gonna sit in their office, get a fossil free Yale.” It was a real-life protest song, the twenty-first century Pete Seeger. I knew it was corny. But as a folk musician myself, I couldn’t help but feel excited. “Welcome!” said a tall blond woman in a white summer dress. She introduced herself as Diana. . . Read more
Ashley Dalton
Making Believe

Conversions come in many forms.

Over lunch early in my freshman year, my friend Madeleine Witt told me she had been at a Yale Students for Christ retreat that weekend. I asked her how it had gone. She smiled. “I had the most intense religious experience of my life,” she said. “It completely changed my relationship with Jesus.” For the rest of the day, I puzzled over those words. I’d thought religion was something people only found, or sought to deepen, in times of need. Witt was a talented artist. . . Read more
Aaron Gertler
The Syn is Dead/Long Live the Syn

An autopsy of student anarchism.

As a spectator of the burgeoning activism scene on campus, I’ve been struggling to keep track of the major players. Groups and causes at Yale have high turnover rates, and I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best not to get too attached. After all, it’s tough to have one’s heart set on Occupying Morgan Stanley when everyone else has long since begun Pushing for Divestment. But this year, I forgot about my pledge of disengagement. I chose to champion the Yale Syndicate, an underdog. . . Read more
Aliyya Swaby
In Search of Time Not Lost

Is procrastination really a bad thing?

“I have no time,” thought David* in the middle of reading week during his sophomore spring. He was planning on acing his three papers due at the end of the semester in hopes of getting straight A’s. As he saw it, this would be an important affirmation during a period when his extracurricular, social, and romantic prospects were each stagnant and disappointing in their own ways. Wanting control over his final grades but lacking the necessary hours, David turned to Adderrall for the first time.. . . Read more
Cindy Ok
Pillow Talk

The recent debate over Sex Week stands in for the discussion no one’s having about educating—and sleeping with—the Facebook generation.

In the debate about sexual culture at Yale, everyone agrees that “intolerance,” “rape culture,” and “objectification” are bad, while “intimacy,” “respect,” and “love” are good. Both sides also agree that something is wrong with their school’s sexual culture here. So the indignant, supercilious tone of editorial on both sides isn’t a result of a difference in goals, but of a disagreement about what the problem is. After news of the Department of Education’s Title IX investigation broke last spring, President Levin hosted a series of. . . Read more
Nicholas Geiser
The Execution Game

The Cheshire murder trials have forced Connecticut to confront its position on capital punishment.

Gloves entered as evidence in the murder trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky. Update: On January 27, 2012, New Haven Superior Court Judge Jon Blue gave Joshua Komisarjevsky six death sentences and 140 years in prison for his role in the murder of the Petits. On November 29, the defense rested its case in the sentencing trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky. In October, Komisarjevsky had been convicted of a slew of heinous charges, including six capital felonies, due to his involvement in a crime significant both for its. . . Read more
Ben Kline
Working Definition

Yale tries for a second time to establish a program for researching and studying the hatred of Jews in the contemporary world.

Professor Maurice Samuels took the podium and sighed. “As many of you know,” he said, “this has not been an easy summer.” To me, it didn’t look like those in attendance—faculty members, elderly New Haven couples, and a few undergraduates informed of the lecture through the Directed Studies program or the Polish Club—had found their way to the Wall Street auditorium on the heels of controversy. That September afternoon in Yale University’s Whitney Humanities Center, Samuels was introducing Princeton history professor Jan Gross, who would. . . Read more
Ben Kline
Ten Years

A young woman of Indian heritage remembers September 11, 2001.

I knew something was wrong with the way the kids in my carpool looked at the turbaned man behind the counter of the gas station in Atlanta, Ga., my hometown. I also knew he was Sikh and Punjabi—from India, like my parents—by the long, uncut beard and the turban he wore and the lively bhangra dance music playing behind the counter. He was Sikh, like Balbir Singh Sodhi, who owned a gas station in Mesa, Ariz., and who was shot to death on Sept. 15, 2001.. . . Read more
Sanjena Sathian
Title IX: Taking Yale to Court

Perspectives from a plaintiff in the landmark 1977 case Alexander v. Yale.

    Design by Rachel Kauder Nalebuff Editors’ note: Like many others on campus, we have dear friends who, as victims of sexual assault, have been ill-served by their University. We believe that the University’s mechanisms for responding to sexual misconduct can be substantively improved, and we are confident that in responding to the complaint to the Department of Education under Title IX, the University will become a safer, better place for students of both sexes. Ann Olivarius was a plaintiff in the 1977 case. . . Read more
Ann Olivarius