Bright College Years, 1969-1973

Bright College Years, 1969-1973


– Good morning, and thank
you so much for coming. I would also like to say good morning and I wish you were here to all of those who are
here with us in spirit but just physically couldn’t
make it to New Haven. I want you to know if this is being filmed and you’re listening that we’re remembering you fondly. We hold you tightly in our hearts, and we wish you were here. You’re really missed. Yesterday, through yesterday, our panels dealt with the
decision to go coeducational and its historical context. Through Julia Pimsleur’s wonderful movie and the results of the survey, we got a glimpse of what it was like to be here in 1969. Today we’re going to
plunge more fully into that with a panel of six of us, two from each class, and our moderator is Anne Perkins. Anne was a trailblazer herself. She entered Yale in 1977, a momentous year it turned out for coeducation across the pond. She received her BA and was a trailblazer in that she was the first
woman editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News. – [Woman] Woo. (audience applauding) – [Woman] That’s amazing. – After Yale, Anne won the prestigious Rhodes
Scholarship to Oxford. In 1977, it took an Act of Parliament to change the Yale Trust
to allow women to attend as Rhodes Scholars. Anne read Modern History
at Balliol College, and Balliol College, talk
about male tradition. Balliol College had been single
sex from 1282 until 1977, but back in the 1200s, it was a woman who originally
funded Balliol College. (audience laughing) – Amazing, amazing. – After reading Modern History at Balliol, Anne returned and got a master’s in Public Administration
from Harvard University. She then taught and worked
in educational policy until at the age of 52, she had what I like to think of as a mid-life epiphany
and decided to get a PhD. She juggled working while
pursuing a PhD in higher education at the University of Massachusetts. A paper which she had to
write for a retired course eventually led to this wonderful book, “Yale Needs Women,” and I love the title. It’s just fantastic. Anne interviewed many, many of us, and I spoke to many of them, many of us who were interviewed by her. Everyone was delighted with the process and very pleased with the results. It’s with great pleasure that
I introduce Anne Perkins. (audience applauding) – Pam is very kind in calling my late life PhD an epiphany. Really it was one of those
better late than never moments, (audience laughing) and I did get my PhD, and it’s very odd for people to call me Dr. Perkins, so it is such an honor to be here this weekend with all of you, the first women of Yale College. The New York Times called
you the female versions of Nietzsche’s ubermensch, (audience laughing) whatever that means, superwomen, but what was it like really
to be a woman student at Yale during those tumultuous
early years of coeducation? And the goal we’re trying
to accomplish here today is perhaps to give you a
chance to listen and learn from other women as you
might not have been able to do when you were a student here. This is a different type of
session from the ones before because in addition to
the experts up here, every single woman sitting
in the chairs out there who started at Yale is
an expert on this topic, and so we’re gonna organize
this a little differently, but before I get to that game plan, I just want to begin by introducing our panelists. As Pam said, you’ve heard
this weekend on topics from before you got
here to, sorry, Billie, to well after you arrived, but our goal here today is
to go narrower and deeper, four years only, 1969 to 1973, and so the brief intro
bios that the panelists and I put together emphasize
that part of their life. You can think of it as a two
or three sentence glimpse at who they were when they came to Yale and one or two of the
things that they did. So I invite you to listen
to these bios for ways that they intersect with your own, ways that they offer perspectives
that you did not have when you were at Yale, and also for perspectives and experiences that are not up here on this panel and for which you might be able
to provide us some insights. I’ll start with the Class of ’71, so Billie Tsien attended a
public high school in New Jersey and spent her first two
years of college at Pembroke, the former and now
vanished women’s college at Brown University. Billie was in Pierson. (mumbling) is here to cheer for that, and majored in Fine Art. One of her unforgettable Yale memories was the December 1969 draft lottery and the sound of the lottery numbers echoing through the Pierson
courtyard over speakers that students had set up for the purpose. Some of you may remember that as well. Kathy Murphy, also Class
of ’71, came to Yale as a junior after spending
her first two years of college at Mount Holyoke. She grew up in Fremont,
Nebraska, population 18,000. Is there really someone
else from Fremont here? – [Woman] Nebraska. (audience laughing) – She was the first in her
family to go to college. At Yale, Kathy was in
Calhoun, Grace Hopper, where she worked as a master’s aide. She majored in Study of the
City and met her husband, a fellow Hounie, working the
Calhoun hotline over Mayday. Class of ’72, Jerylle Kemp arrived
at Yale as a sophomore, after starting college at
the University of Rochester, which I think I’m right
in saying you despised. Is that correct? (laughing) (mumbling) For her first three years of high school, Jerylle attended Booker
T. Washington in Atlanta, Georgia’s first public high school open to African Americans. For her last two years, she attended Scarsdale
High School in New York. Jerylle was active in the BSAY and was a member of the Yale Glee Club. She majored in Afro-American
Studies with a concentration in Political Science. Kay Hill, Kay came to Yale
from a large public high school in West Hartford. She spent her freshman year at Wellesley and arrived at Yale as a sophomore. At Yale, Kay was in JE,
majored in Psychology, worked at Dwight Hall, and
taught ESL as a volunteer in the New Haven Public Schools. She lived off campus her
junior and senior years, including in a house that she helped renovate in collaboration with the Yale Student
Community Housing Corporation, and our Class of ’73 members. Joan Abrahamson attended
a large public high school in San Francisco and had
already been accepted at Stanford when she
heard Yale was going coed. She sent in her application
without telling her parents. (audience laughing) At Yale, Joan was in Davenport College and majored in Philosophy and Psychology. She worked as a TA for Yale
Law Professor Charlie Reich, author of the best selling,
“The Greening of America,” and last but definitely not
least, Cai Emmons, Class of ’73, Cai graduated from a public
high school in suburban Boston. She was in JE and majored
in Psychology and Drama. She devoted much of her
time at Yale to theater, first acting, then writing plays, one of which, Mergatroid, was staged in New York City. During the strike her freshman year, Cai became a more ardent feminist and as a result joined a group that helped New Haven women
obtain abortions in New York because they were still
illegal here in Connecticut, so that’s our panel, and here’s our game plan. We all know the drill of a typical panel. The experts speak. The audience sits and listens, and then at the very end, the audience can ask questions and woe betide she who stands up and tries to make a statement instead of a question because you’ll get the big
eye roll from the moderator. We’re gonna change
those rules in two ways. One is for each question, I’m gonna start with one or two or maybe
even three of the panelists, but then I’m gonna come
out to you as the audience, so you have a chance
to speak to that topic before we move on to the next, and then while you’re more than welcome to ask questions, you are also welcome if you want to share your own
experience on the question, to answer it directly and
speak to that experience, so that’s the good part. Here’s the frustrating part. There are 300 stories in
this room of what it was like to be a first woman at Yale, and every single one of
those stories deserves to be heard and honored in its entirety, and we have at this point
75 minutes to do so. (laughing) Mission kind of impossible, but there are two things that we can do together this morning. One is for every woman
that chooses to speak, we can give her the gift of being heard and of being seen, and the other is we can think of this as the start of a conversation, a conversation that I hope that all of you will continue not just today, but onward after this weekend because it’s a really
important conversation to hold and the experts in the entire world on this conversation are you. We’re gonna try to. Back to mission impossible, we’re gonna try to include
as many voices as possible and cover a wide range of topics. We came up with 12 questions. I cut them to nine last night. Don’t even know if we’re
gonna get to all nine. I’m gonna try to spend about
10 minutes per question, and so we’ll see how that goes, so let’s begin. The first topic is identity. Students arrived at Yale in
1969 with many identities. What was your hometown,
your religion, your gender, your race and ethnicity, your sexuality? Were you the smart girl
in class, the athlete? And Billie, I’m gonna start with you. What identity was most salient to you when you came to Yale and why? – I think when I came to Yale, I had no particular identity except that I knew that
I wanted in some way or another to be different, and obviously I was different. However, I couldn’t figure out how, and coming from a family
of engineers and scientists and the sort of whole
Chinese pressure of trying to do the same thing, I decided that what I would do would be to major in Art, but, (audience laughing) the interesting thing
was I came from Pembroke, and I just remember thinking, this is not the place for me, because every weekend, women would dress up in
dresses and wear corsages and go to football games, and I thought, I can’t be here. So when I came to Yale, the thing that was amazing for me was that there were more different kinds of people doing more odd things in their own little ways than I could have every perceived when I was at Pembroke at that time, and that for me was incredibly freeing. And I think what that taught me was, I didn’t know how to get there, and I didn’t really know how I was going to become different
in the way that I wanted to, but people were starting
to figure that out while they were here, and that’s, I think, how I felt that I learned something
about my identity, although I didn’t know the
answer when I was here. – Thank you, and I should note that
Billie avoided one thing, which is because I’m trying
to keep track of time, I have a lovely, I’m sorry. That was so sexist. I have a young timekeeper in the back row who’s gonna do this for me
if anyone hits two minutes, and so just to let you know, but Billie avoided the yellow card. Joan, you want to jump in
and give us the perspective as a freshman woman, which is almost as obnoxious as asking you the opinion of a woman, but– – Yeah, I’m a fifth
generation San Franciscan, and for me that really was my identity, and I had never thought about
living on the East Coast or anything like that. I just was very happy and
involved in California, both in nature, a lot of
hiking and loved the Sierras, and I wrote poetry, and I was in my own kind of world, but I was very social justice oriented, and I was the youth representative on the Human Rights Commission
when I was in high school, so in Grace Cathedral is where we met. It was pretty amazing, so anyway, my dad really
wanted me to go to Stanford ’cause he had gone there. I was admitted to Stanford. Everyone was happy. I didn’t want to go. I was like, I want to go
somewhere no one knows me. I want to go somewhere where
I can find out who I am without everybody
knowing already who I am, and when I told my parents at dinner that I was going to Yale, they were furious. My dad, he wouldn’t talk to me for a day. He was really upset, and any rate, he got used to it, but he would do things like, “Do you know what their song is? “Boolah, boolah,” (audience laughing) and I said, that’s not true (mumbling), (audience laughing) so they dropped me off at
the San Francisco airport. I’m with my green footlocker
I had had at camp every year, and I get on the plane. I get off at JFK in the TWA Terminal, and I look at the Saarinen building, and I am like blown away, you know? I’d never seen anything like that, so then I flag down the
Connecticut limousine, and they put my footlocker
on the top of the van and drive me here and drop me right outside the old campus, right across from the Green at the gate there, and I’m there with my footlocker, thinking, how the hell am I
gonna get this thing anywhere? So I leave it there, and I walk into the little campus and flag down a couple of guys who, they carried it up to Entryway Six, of course, the top floor or something, and I meet my roommates, and we walk over to Davenport
for the welcome speech, and of course the welcome speech– – [Anne] Joan, I’m just gonna warn you, you got the yellow card so if you could– – Oh my god– – [Anne] Wrap it up just
so we could hear one more– – Okay, well, then I’m not gonna tell you that story because– – [Anne] Oh, you got to
make sure to ask her after– – Not as important as this
because this is important. My only mentor and advisor
that I was assigned was Rulon Wells, who was in Davenport. I don’t know if anyone’s ever met him. He was a classicist, and I don’t think he’d
ever seen a woman student before ever in his life, and so he walks in, and he says, “Now what would you like to major in?” And I said, forestry, (laughing) and Rulon Wells looks at me and says, “You can’t major in Forestry. “There is no forestry classes.” I said, well, Sage Hall
is famous for forestry. I wanted to be a forest ranger in one of those little ranger houses where you could write poetry, and he looked at me like I was an alien, and he was just like flabbergasted, and when I left, he was so happy that he
never had to see me again. And then I wanted to say that I was asked so often, I know, but it’ll be fast. For the woman’s point of view that in my Classics class as a freshman, I finally started enjoying it, so I would say, oh, well, the woman’s point of view of Odysseus is he was tied to the mast, and they said the sirens
were luring him to his death. No, I said, the sirens
were simply singing. They were in the water. They were friends. They were singing. They were happy. (audience laughing) I said, listen. I said, it’s not our fault
he wanted to jump in. (audience laughing) – All right, anyone in the audience who wants to speak to this? Who can top that story? ‘Cause I bet you can’t. Who wants to speak to
this question of identity and when I’m thinking
about it, I’m curious. Were there aspects of your identity that were in conflict, that you couldn’t be
both at the same time? Or where the aspects that changed while you were here at Yale? Yeah. Carol. Oh, and if you could
start by saying your name and your class just so
everyone can know you if they don’t already. – Yeah, hi, I’m Carol Story
Johnson, Class of 1973, and I’m gonna put a plug in. If you haven’t read the
book, “Yale Needs Women,” you need to read it. It’s really terrific, terrific. (audience applauding) – [Anne] Thanks, Carol. – So real quickly, so here I
am, an African American woman, Class of 1973, and I come, and I have a lot of interesting thoughts about whether or not I’m
identifying with women or with the African American community, and actually early on, and I’m sure Jerylle’s
gonna speak to some of this, so, Jerylle, certainly
I’m gonna corroborate some of our mutual story, but connected with the Black
Student Alliance at Yale, and it was actually a kind of a haven for folks like me who were
looking for identity pieces, and it was enormously important, and I think it actually kind
of protected me in certain ways from some of the other things
that many of the other women on campus were going through. Anne talks a lot in her book about the sexual harassment pieces that went on here at Yale, and I was actually curious from the panel whether or not folks
on the panel were aware of all of that that was going on, so that would be my question– – That’s question number seven, yeah. (laughing) Thanks so much, Carol. Anyone else who wants to
speak to the identity question before we move on? See right there? – Meredith Wright, ’71, my high school sort of
social life revolved around something particularly odd, which was Balkan or
international folk dancing, and– – [Anne] Are you gonna give
us a performance please– – No, but within a month of
arriving as a transfer student, there was a poster up
advertising for auditions for the Yale Slavic Chorus, and I knew I had found my home. (laughing) – That’s great. Thanks so much. (audience applauding) Okay, we’re gonna move
on to the next questions, and I’m sorry if that’s
one you wanted to talk to. Please continue to speak
to one another about it. This one’s on engagement. We’re gonna go a little broader, and, Kay, I’m gonna start with you. This is an impossible question, but I don’t have to answer it. What was your greatest
passion when you were at Yale? What mattered most to you and why? – Right, I would say what mattered to me was really being involved in the community and engagement and service. Along with a handful of other women, before Yale officially
started in the fall, we spent the summer
working for Dwight Hall, and I taught Art and ESL with
the children on Grand Avenue who were mostly Puerto Rican. I loved using my Spanish. I loved the children, and actually it was pivotal in my career. My very first job after
graduating from Yale was opening the first
bilingual daycare center, the (mumbling) Center in New Haven, and I was hired by Junta, for whom I had worked
before I ever started here. I look back with amazement that at 21 I thought I could get
funding for a daycare center, hire the bilingual local
teachers, put in the tiny toilets, and run the connection
to the main water line where it turned out we were going through some of the tombs of the founders of the church where we were, but we diverted. I also, it was alluded to. Along with a group of six others, we renovated a house where a child had acquired
lead paint poisoning and stripped the lead paint. Then we lived in the house ourselves. When it wasn’t ready on time, Yale let us live in an office
building on Ashman Street. Judy (mumbling) will remember that. She was part of that group of seven, and then in my senior year, I taught. I arranged all my classes and taught ESL as a volunteer in the
New Haven public schools, and then I lived off campus
junior year and senior year, and I was hired then to be a teacher and had a 35 year career, ending it as a central
office administrator in charge of a number of programs, and then I retired several years ago. Looking back, I think all of this passion for working in the community is admirable, and it’s something we would like to see perhaps more of today, but I also think in reflecting about it that it’s interesting
that I was so unaware that I was in a place of special
privilege and opportunity. To come to Yale and not be able to wait to get away is just odd, and I think the chance to savor all the academics that were being offered, all the enrichment, all the culture, and having your meals prepared for you in a beautiful setting, I just find it kind of
amusing and interesting, but it’s probably also a sign of the times that we were so passionate
about helping other people. – Thanks, Kay. Cai, you want to speak to that one too? – About engagement, okay, my time at Yale was sort of bifurcated by a semester off in the second
part of my sophomore year. I came to Yale very
passionate about theater. I’d been acting, and eventually I would
begin writing plays, but my interest in that kind of waned about halfway through my time here. I applied for the five year BA. I don’t know if anybody here
ended up going on that program, oh, and got accepted to teach English in the Marshall Islands where I was going to have
to learn Marshallese, and they asked me whether I wanted to be on one of the big islands or one of the outer atolls, so this happened, and, oh, by the way, the
interview for that was, as I recall, there was a
long table with 12 people. And you had to find your own job, and one of the psychiatrists on the interviewing committee said, “How would you deal with the situation “if you were on the beach “in the Marshall Islands, “and you had taken off all your clothes, “and then you went swimming, “and when you came out, “there were no clothes there for you?” (audience laughing) I just thought it was really, well, we all understand the context of this. (audience laughing) – [Anne] Wow. – And I can’t recall
how I answered, but I– – You needed Joan to answer it for you. She would have had some sharp reply. – Yeah, right, exactly, so but at the same time, one of the people in the drama school that I’d been acting with,
one of the directors, had asked me if I wanted to
be in the spring semester of my sophomore year in a
movie on the Costa Brava, and he had written this part for me, and so if I went to the movie, I couldn’t go to the five
year BA and vice versa. So it was really a very
difficult decision at the time, but I thought, well, going
to the Marshall Islands wasn’t really within
something I had imagined, and it didn’t seem like it was leading to a career path, and so– – [Woman] So you did it? – So I ended up deciding to go and be in the movie on the Costa Brava. However, he never got his funding, and so I ended up being out of school for the sophomore year, spring semester sophomore year, which was actually really good. It was very clarifying, and when I came back to Yale, this is all about engagement. For the latter two years,
I was very engaged– – [Anne] I am just gonna let you know you got the yellow card, so maybe give us one more
quick story so we can– – Yeah, I was very engaged in psychology and community psychology in particular, and so I sort of ended up graduating with both a drama
degree, a theater degree, and a psychology degree, and then that was huge choice, but we won’t go there yet. – Thanks so much. Anyone in the audience, what
was your passion at Yale? What did you care most about? We’ve got the mic coming right to you. – Hi, I’m Dahlia Rudavsky,
Class of ’73, Branford, and I came to Yale with the identity of being a student radical somehow. From my high school days, I had organized our anti-war club at my high school in
Newton, Massachusetts, and Yale did not disappoint. Within the first month, I think,
we were on a hunger strike. I don’t know if you
remember the moratorium, and I remember sitting
in front of Vanderbilt, on the third or fourth day of
this hunger strike, very weak. We were on a juice fast, and that was one of my first memories, and then, soon thereafter, Mrs. Williams, who was a dining hall worker, was fired for throwing some
orange juice at a supervisor who had ordered her around, and there was SDS on campus organized a Reinstate
Mrs. Williams campaign, and then the Panthers came to town, and from there we never
had a spring semester. So at the same time, I had
some great literature courses, which were a total,
the other side of life, so Yale was wonderful in that way, and I also want to thank Anne
for putting it all together so we can see how our
individual experiences were reflected in the zeitgeist. – Thanks, Dahlia. Anyone else would like (mumbling). – Inject a little levity here. I can’t really say it was a passion, but I really wanted to be on Jeopardy. (audience laughing) – [Anne] Can you repeat that? I’m not sure everyone heard. – I really wanted to be on Jeopardy, so I trained. I was in Branford. I’m Donna Weston by the way, and I had three guy friends, and I would play home
Jeopardy in their room many times a week, and I figured that I
had a pretty good chance of getting on ’cause I had this gimmick, which was I was in the first
class of women at Yale. So indeed, I went down to New York, and I tried out, and they called me back. I brought three outfits ’cause they filmed them all seriatim. I won the first day. I did not bet enough money the second day on final
Jeopardy, so I lost, and I emerged with $1,820, the Encyclopedia
Americana, and a home game. (audience laughing and applauding) – I don’t know if you all know this. Brenda Jubin, who was
on the panel yesterday, when she got appointed
as the first woman dean of a residential college, she got called up by the
head of What’s My Line. I don’t know if you remember that, and she went on as the first, and no one could guess what she was. Okay, one more, and then we’ll, right
there with the red shirt. – Hi, Laura Handman, ’73, JE. Following up on your story, I had gotten into the
University of Santa Cruz and Reed College in Oregon, and I wasn’t gonna come to Yale, and my parents were furious and made me come to Yale, and I think about how different
my life would have been if I had gone to those two other schools, and I followed on. Apropos of the Black Panthers, I did get arrested three
weeks into our freshman year (audience laughing) for sitting in at a welfare center. They were cutting off the
benefits of welfare moms or reducing them, and there came a moment when they said, “Those of you who want
to get arrested, stay. “Those who don’t, leave,” and all the Yalies but me and one other, Gwen, I don’t know if
you’re here, got arrested. And I was 17, so the dean of JE had to be my guardian– – [Woman] Oh my god– – And to say that they were wondering, “Why did we get these women at Yale,” (audience laughing) I think went through his mind. – Thank you, (audience applauding) so when I interviewed many
of you for my research, a topic that came up again and again is this topic of friendship, so we’re gonna switch to that, and, Jerylle, I want to start with you. How did you meet your
closest friends at Yale, and what did you have in common with them, and how were you different? And sort of a follow up just to give you way too many questions to answer at once, were you ever lonely here? – Good luck. – How did I meet my
closest friends at Yale? As a member of the BSAY, and as an African
American woman on campus, I had the opportunity to engage with the entire black
community that was on campus. It made a difference. I just, in the past few
days, have come to understand what a difference it made
because it’s been made clear to me that many of us
didn’t have an easy time establishing friendships on Yale’s campus, and that made the experience much harder. Within the BSAY, we had the good fortune to have some wonderful
people who made participating in that organization a priority. They generously gave of their
time and their resources and their physical facilities. We made friends by
participating in dinners in our colleges or in Berkeley College because Room 597 was the
home of Stephanie Brown and then Sheila Jackson, a networking hub for the
black community on campus. We had Afro-America House, which gave us a place to locate. There were the protests, which
we all went through together, and had experiences that
we never anticipated as part of our undergraduate experience, but all of it gave us
opportunities to grow and to get to know each other. What did we share in addition
to our racial identity? I think it’s fair to say we shared the sense of being part of
an experimental generation. Many of us became involved as the diversity element in institutions which had never had persons of color, students of color, present on campus. I guess that came through
most clearly at Yale during the Mayday proceedings, when everybody had to make a decision about whether we were
gonna go home or stay, and I remember very
clearly a big discussion, which was held on campus
at the Afro-America House, where it became clear to me
that many of the students made participating in the
politics of the day a priority. Many of the students felt that they were at Yale to get a degree and didn’t have time and didn’t want to run the risk of being on campus during Mayday, but it also occurred to
me that the black students were the nexus between the
community and the university. The community saw the black students as representatives of Yale. Yale saw the black students
as a conduit to the community. We thought we came here to get a degree. (audience laughing) – [Woman] Wow. – But it was a time when
the world was changing, and we wanted to be a part of that, and people made an effort
to get through the protests, to get through the degree requirements, to get through all of the psychological and emotional changes that an undergraduate would go through, and to make friends in the process. We were very fortunate in the absence of a structure at Yale for
advising and counseling, there were people in the black community who stepped in to fill those roles. There were people like Roy Bryce-Laporte, who was the head of the
Afro-American Studies program. There was Ernie Osborne
and his wife Betty, who welcomed us to their
home and into his office and became counselors. There were students who
stepped up and acted as mentors and counselors for those of us who had never been in Yale before, and the people who come to
mind are Armstead Robinson, whom you heard Sam Chauncey
mention last night, (mumbling), who was the president of the Black Student Alliance at Yale. I’d add Michael Bagneris to that group, who was the first of an entire contingent of black men who came
to Yale from St. Aug. – [Anne] Jerylle, I’m
gonna need to move on to Kathy in just one second so– – And I would just add
Sylvia Boone to the list, who when she finally came, gave us a female who could be a counselor, so those were our primary methods for establishing friendships
that, in many cases, have survived the years. – Thanks so much, (audience applauding) so, Kathy, you come from
a very different world, and I’m curious. Who were your friends, and how did you meet them, and how were they like you and different than you? – Well, I came to Yale from Mount Holyoke, and one of my four roommates, there were five of us
in the suite in Calhoun. One of the four was Mary Elizabeth Cree, who also was from Nebraska and also from Mount Holyoke. There were three Nebraskans
at Mount Holyoke. Two of us were Mary and me, and we left, but she and I were
roommates then in Calhoun, and we had three other roommates who came from the East Coast, but the five of us became really quite good friends, even though we did not spend that much time together. Mary had a boyfriend in Branford. My roommate Elaine was in
the radio station (mumbling) and was always hanging out there. One of my other roommates, Polly, was a Russian Studies major and always in the carrels in Sterling, so it’s sort of amazing,
but we became close, and we’re actually getting
together in three weeks to celebrate our 70th birthdays together, (audience applauding) but other than my roommates, I think the Calhoun women
got along very well. Again, we didn’t spend
that much time together, but we would hang out in the courtyard and people were, when it was nice weather
and see each other, but I think the main way that
I made friends with the men, I was, as Anne said, a master’s aide, which in those days, before cell phones and computers, we communicated by putting
flyers under people’s doors, and one of the master’s
aide’s job was to go up and down the entryways
and deliver the notices about the Master’s Teas
or the cocktail parties or the next lecture or whatever, so I spent a lot of time
going up and down entryways, and I obviously met a
lot of the men that way by knocking on their door and handing them flyers or invitations. The other way I met people
was that I played bridge, and I don’t think
anybody’s mentioned that, but I played a lot of bridge
my junior year at Yale. In fact, I played so much
bridge that it’s amazing that I made it through my courses. The only all nighter I ever pulled at Yale was playing bridge, (audience laughing) and I wasn’t that great a bridge player, but it was very flattering to have, especially the senior men, ask
me to play bridge with them when some of them were really very, very serious and
good bridge players, so anyway, so I played a lot of bridge, and the other thing I did was I hung out in the dining hall a lot. That was, to me, one of the
best things about being at Yale, was to sit in the dining
hall with these guys who were just very different, as somebody said, incredibly different, different points of
view, very knowledgeable, very passionate, and to just sit there and be a fly on the wall
and listen to them debate. John Bolton was in Calhoun. He was part of, I know, I know, but he was the Party of the Right guy, and then he was in a suite with Ed Farrand who was a very big player in the Democratic party in Connecticut in Al Lowenstein’s campaign, so you had all these points of view, and people shared the points of view without really getting
upset with each other, and it was enlightening. – Yeah, thanks so much, so friendship. (audience laughing) Can you? Where’s my wandering mic? Right there, how’d you make your friends? How were they different
than you or the same? – Hi, I’m (mumbling) Buchanan. I was in the Class of ’73, and my very best friend
is sitting next to me, Nancy Breckstein. We were in Vanderbilt Hall
next door to each other, and we had some very strange roommates. She did, and I did, and Nancy commented that maybe
we were all accepted to Yale because we were all so different, and I think there’s something to that, so Nancy and I were very, very close. I’ll just tell about one
roommate who was Nancy’s, Jenny from Mississippi. She was the fourth daughter, the youngest, of the president of the
University of Mississippi, and all of her sisters
had been debutantes. They’d all gone on the
Grand Tour in Europe, and Jenny was maybe the
original hippie trippie. Her mother would send her gowns
and these elegant clothes, hoping that somehow she could be redeemed. She would pile them in
the center of the room and let them just sit there, so later on, she got married, had a baby, nursed her baby in class in
defiance of the administration, so she was quite something, but Nancy and I were very, very close. My parents couldn’t afford to let me go home at Thanksgiving, and I got to know Nancy’s
whole family, her parents, and her sister at Thanksgiving, and otherwise we decided to leave. We were encouraged to leave by some friends that Mayday. We went to her house, so anyway we were very, very close throughout our Yale experience. The other friendship
that I was so fortunate to have formed was with
A. Bartlett Giamatti, who later became the president of Yale. – [Anne] I’m just
noticing the yellow card, so I’m trying to include
as many voices as possible, so if you want to– – Yeah, I’ll make it quick, so he took me under his wing
and encouraged me to be a part of the History of the
Arts and Letters program. He taught in that program. It was absolutely magnificent. It made my intellectual
experience at Yale exquisite, and later on he became the
commissioner of baseball. I’m a baseball freak, so it was an exquisite experience– – [Anne] Thanks so much– – Being able to call him a friend– – And I would love it if anyone could talk about guys as friends, so ’cause that’s something
I heard an awful lot about. In the back there with the, you got it? – Joyce Major, Class
of ’73, Morse College. I met my group of guy friends because their freshman
counselor had a television, and every Sunday night, he would invite his Morse
College freshman boys to watch “Mission: Impossible,” and they used that as a ploy to get me to come and visit them. I think you came with me a few times, and I was from the Midwest. She’s from Greenwich, Connecticut, and she and her dad picked
me up at the airport my very first time on a plane, got off at JFK having no
idea what she looked like or anything else, but the guy friends became, some of them were pre-med like I was, and we had shared some classes, but every Sunday night,
popcorn and Mission: Impossible in Harold (mumbling) room, but it was a great friendship. We lasted. We sat around the table talking. I don’t think we had
political discussions, but we had a lot of
other, well, maybe we did. Did we talk politics? I don’t think so. We just talked all evening. I drank so much tea, the enamel was starting to wear off, but the guys were just a very
important part of our lives, and I know that a lot of
people had guy friends that because they were dating somebody, and then the guy friend’s friends became their friends, but– – Thanks so much, so we’re gonna move on
to a different topic. I’m sorry. I see those hands, and maybe we’ll have time
at the end to come back, but I hope you continue the
conversation afterwards. A topic that can be challenging for women, ambition, ambition, so, Kathy, I’ll start
with you again or here. When you got to Yale, what
did you hope to become when you left here? And I really am still
focused on those four years and how your sense of who you
could be might have changed, and actually you were
only here for two years, so that makes it even a
little more challenging, but did your vision of what you could be or who you would be change while you were at Yale? – It didn’t change so
much while I was at Yale. It changed from the time
I entered Mount Holyoke when I thought I wanted to
be in the foreign service or some kind of job where I traveled, but I took French my first year. I had taken Latin in high school. I took French my first
year at Mount Holyoke, and while reading and writing was okay, I couldn’t speak it because
of my Midwestern twang, just murdered the language, and I realized if I couldn’t speak French, I probably wasn’t going to have an international career. So by the time I got to Yale, I was pretty set on going to law school, and pretty set, I was a
Study of the City major, and I think that the Summer of ’68, after Martin Luther King was assassinated and Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, and we had the riots of ’68, I became much more focused on injustice and equity and issues that
I’d not really focused on at all before then, and I decided that I really
wanted to do something in an urban context, and I thought law school
was the way to go. By the time I finished at Yale, I had focused my Study
of the City concentration on urban education, and I had spent two summers working in the South Bronx for the City of New
York’s Board of Education doing title federal grant applications and things like that, and so I went to law school. I did go to law school, and I did want to participate in all the stuff that was going on in education at that point. There was busing was relatively new. The schools were still being integrated. They were trying to figure out how to provide equal educational opportunity, but I knew by the time I
was a junior that I wanted at least be a lawyer and do something in to save the world, I guess. (audience laughing) – Billie, what about you? – Ambition is such a tricky word, so and I see students a lot, and I think ambition is
much more visible now than it was when we were in school, and how to be ambitious
in a kind of world of art for me later became architecture. It’s a really big question. I mean, I understood how to be ambitious as a engineer or as a scientist. I didn’t actually understand how to be ambitious within the arts. I know my father, when
he saw a photograph of me that was published in the town newspaper because I was at Yale,
and in the first class, and I was barefoot, didn’t
speak to me for three months, so that was definitely trying
to figure out who I could be, how I could be ambitious. The thing that I saw at Yale
was that people were ambitious in very quiet and passionate ways, so it wasn’t a kind of bombastic ambition. It was an ambition and a focus on particular issues or subjects, and that was really interesting to me. The other thing that happened was I had an amazing art
teacher who has a show now at the Yale Art Gallery. His name is William Bailey, and I remember in a drawing class he said to me, “It’s really not the lines. “It’s the space in between the lines,” and so what that said to
me is that you don’t have to be ambitious within the lines. You can find that space in between, and the desire for me
then was not to go big, but to go deep, and I think I learned that here at Yale. (audience applauding) – Thank you. (mumbling) Now to you, ambition? Yes, right there. (mumbling) – I’m going to hand it to Mally, but just real quick, Casey Blanchard. Good morning, Carol. My roommate, I’m over here, and we were talking, going to Yale, I just felt I could do anything, and that was always just easy. After you got through Yale, like living in New York,
you can do anything– – Anything. I chose Yale over
Harvard because I thought there was a better chance that I could get on the Yale Daily News– – [Anne] Can you tell us
just your name and your year? – Mally Cox Chapman, ’73, but the first year when we were supposed to (mumbling) was overwhelming. I didn’t do it, so sophomore year I went
into the news office with five articles on women at Yale, a two year perspective, and said I’d like these all to
be published on the same day, (audience laughing) and they did it, and I was immediately
allowed to be a reporter. Well, it came time to have the elections, and I had this tape in my head from my girls’ boarding school that you don’t show your ambition. You do your work. You do it well, and people will notice, so the week before the election, I didn’t go over to the
Yale Daily News office, and everybody else was over there lobbying for the position that they wanted, so of course I didn’t get elected. The election was over. People are drifting away, and the five guys who
are now on the masthead looked at me and said, “You jerk. “Why weren’t you here this week? “What were you doing not being here? “What are we gonna do
without you on the team?” And I told them the tape that I had, and they said, “Name what you want to do, “and we’ll just make up a position,” so they gave me the position of Chief Staff Writer Feature Editor, and I presented a feature every day for the next year on the
front page below the fold, so really it was the men, my friends, who taught me how to name what I wanted and ask for what I wanted. – [Woman] Wow. – Thank you. (audience applauding) (mumbling) Someone right here in the third row, or who has been raising their hand. – I’m Emily Fine, JE, ’73. That’s an amazing story, and I wish I could say that that is reflective of
a lot of other stories, but I’m not sure it is. I think the elephant
in the room for me is, and I think as women
and still to this day, is that it’s not always so cool
for women to look ambitious, and we somehow have to find a
classier way to look ambitious because if you’re too ambitious, that’s not necessarily
considered acceptable. It’s changing obviously thankfully, but we ride a sort of fine balance. That’s one. Two, the times, I remember by the end of my sophomore year, if I was working on women’s
abortion referral service or women’s support groups, and they would say, “Oh, what college do you go to,” I would say, I’m in New Haven. (audience laughing) There was a sense of
embarrassment of being part of the elite and sort of a
hope that maybe they thought we were going to Southern
Connecticut instead, so that also complicated ambition, but I will say just one shout out, and then I’ll be done, about engagement slash the other issue, which is music. So for me, I signed up
for courses right very on and within two weeks, I dropped them all. I was in sciences. I felt completely isolated,
overwhelmed, unsupported. I eventually obviously came back to it ’cause I’m a physician, but I loved music, which
was my other passion, and it was at Yale Symphony
where it didn’t matter what your sex was. If you could play a mean
horn, you had friends who were men and women, and there were lots of
women in the Symphony. The ratio was much better, so for me, my sense of security and home, and because I didn’t feel I had the support elsewhere, was in my music life at Yale, for which I’ll be forever grateful. – Thank you so much. (audience applauding) I apologize to the panel. I’m skipping around the
order a little bit here, but I’m gonna (mumbling). I haven’t forgotten you, so we’re turning to
romance and relationships. The Yale women (laughing), (mumbling) but let me ask the question first. (mumbling) Yale women adopted a variety of approaches when it came to romantic
relationships with Yale men. Some dated multiple guys. Some had one steady boyfriend. Some wanted a boyfriend,
but didn’t have one. Some chose not to have
a Yale boyfriend at all, and some dated, or wanted to date, women. What approach did you take, and how did that work out for you? (audience laughing) So, Joan, I’m gonna give that to you. – Me? (laughing) Well– – Is that all right? – Yeah, no, no, no, it’s fine. I’m just I thought I’d tell you a story I’ve never told anybody. I fell in love my first day at Yale. When I went from Vanderbilt
Hall over to Davenport to the Commons Room for the welcome thing, I saw this guy across the room who I thought was amazing. I don’t know what it was, and I thought our eyes
met, but I wasn’t sure. So I don’t know if you guys remember, but we’d go back to our rooms most of the days in the first weeks, and there’d be a little
note pinned to the door of people who wanted
to meet us or something ’cause I think the guys
felt if they didn’t get a girlfriend like really
fast, it was over, so there was a note on my
door, but it wasn’t signed. It was signed with initials, and so of course I thought, maybe it’s him, but I didn’t know his name, and I looked through the Facebook thing, and he wasn’t in there ’cause I don’t know. He didn’t send in a picture or something. Any rate, it turned out it was from him, and I was just like on cloud nine, and we got together, and I moved out of Vanderbilt and into his dorm on the old
campus very quickly actually, and, I mean, I met my roommates, but I didn’t really know anyone in the entryway, (audience laughing) so guess what happened? Parents Day, so my parents are
traveling from San Franciso for the first time to see me at Yale, and they want to meet my roommates, so I had to go over before Parents Day, and I knocked on every
door in the entryway, but I wasn’t delivering flyers. I was trying to meet the people and said, please just pretend you know me. (audience laughing) So I had very few friendships with women, but I had a lot of brothers, and it so happened that my boyfriend’s, one of his roommates was a bridge fanatic, and I know that bridge scene because they were there all
the time playing all night. I mean, it was a thing. Any rate, so that happened, but I want to talk about the Sarrels. No one’s mentioned them, (audience applauding) but for me– – So you all can hear,
Phil and Lorna Sarrel– – I just have to tell just a little story. I think all of us, but I know I got a
phone call or something. They contacted me, and they said, “Please make an appointment
to see Dr. Sarrel, “Dr. and Mrs. Sarrel,” and I’m like, why? Oh, well, they’re the gynecologist, and his wife is a social
worker or something. I (mumbling) sure, so they want to meet every
woman in the first class, so I’m like, okay. So I go over there, and this was like a interview
rather than an exam, and they said, “Have you ever had sex?” And I said, no, (audience laughing) and they said, “We would like to prescribe
you birth control. “Would you like an IUD or
would you prefer the pill?” And I said, why do I need birth control if I haven’t had sex? And they said, “Kingman
Brewster said no pregnancies,” so I got a prescription for the pill, and I thought, well, maybe
someday I’ll take it, and it did come in handy eventually, but what I want to say about
friendships is ironically, the way I got to know more women, and this was the second year. I was in Davenport now– – [Anne] All right, Joan– – It’s almost over, but you’ll be glad to hear this. (audience laughing) There was a survey for sophomores where, I don’t know if you guys remember this, but I’ll never forget it, where they circulated a printed survey. It was about our sexual practices, and it was long, and it said, “Have you ever,” and then it listed all these words, and I really didn’t know
what some of them were, and so all of us, the girls were talking, like have you ever done this? And not only did it say, “Have you ever,” it said, “If so, how many
times a week, a month?” I mean, it was something else, so at any rate, that was like one of my real moments at Yale. – Thanks, Joan. (audience applauding) Jerylle, do you want to
speak to this as well? You can pass if you want. (laughing) – I’ll be really short. I was lucky to have lots of male friends, and most of them were like brothers. I also was lucky in
finding a really great guy my second year who was
in the class behind me. The difficulty came when I graduated. The relationship worked fine
while we were on campus, fabulous guy, photographer. I even learned what to do in a darkroom. (audience laughing) I didn’t mean that. He was good teacher. – [Anne] You’re digging a hole here. (audience laughing) – But when we graduated, when I graduated and moved to New York, our lives took different paths, and the relationship couldn’t
withstand the changes, so we went our separate ways, but I was always grateful
for having had shared this experience with him
because it made a difference. – Thanks so much. Anyone else want to speak to– (laughing) (mumbling) – She’s gonna levitate. – Gee, I– – Yeah, she raised her hand (mumbling). – Yeah, Alexis, right there. (mumbling) – I’m Alexis Krasilovsky, Berkeley, ’71. I came to Yale with a
great deal of passion and ambition with regards to the arts. I was so excited to be here. I was also extremely eager to participate in the sexual liberation movement. I didn’t realize that there
were pros and cons to that, and I guess I suffered from
post-traumatic stress disorder from some of the sexual encounters. Of course PTSD wasn’t a
term that existed back then. It took me 20 years to write a novel that was in part a fictionalization of some of those experiences, and part one of the novel is called “Pillow Book of a Yale Coed.” I have postcards here to pass out so that some of you will read the book. I hope you’ll let me know what you think about it. It won an award for best Me Too
novel of the year last year. It definitely has a
lot of erotic passages. I’ve had to publish it under a pseudonym because my dad was alive. I thought he’d be horrified and disown me, but I hope you read the book and let me know what you think. Thank you. – Thanks, Alexis. (audience applauding) Way, way, way in the very back row. – [Alexis] Should I give it to somebody– – Can we get a mic back there? Oh, I’m sorry. Okay, we’ll do you and
then back row, okay? – Well, I’ll try to make it short. I’m Marcia Eckert, ’71, so I’m one of those people
who came in and floated. Everybody else is
passionate and had friends, and I had a double. My roommate was a white Black Panther, so she kind of took off, and I was wandering
around the first semester as part of a team from TD interviewing
people about coeducation, and so I was sort of on my own, I didn’t know a lot of people, and when the Black Panther
office got busted in New Haven, they moved into my dorm room. So there were people going,
“Power to the people,” and, I mean, I was really interested, but it was all part of my
sort of floating around, so when Mayday came, and I think my room was closed because it had been this office. I didn’t know what the heck to do. I mean, I hung out with guys, but I wasn’t close friends with them. I didn’t really know any women, and I sure as hell wasn’t
going home to my mother, so I had started just six
weeks before dating someone in the theater in the Yale Rep who had come over to me in the mail room and said, “I saw this light in your eyes,” and I thought it was a
social psych experiment on pickup lines, (audience laughing) and he said, “Well, you
could stay in my apartment,” and I said, well, my mother’s very strict. I could never stay in an
apartment unless I was married. He said, “Well, then let’s get married,” and I said, okay, (audience laughing) (mumbling) so I did, (mumbling) so that’s how I ended up with a boyfriend. – Wow. (audience laughing) – Are you (mumbling)? We need the end of that story. (audience laughing) – [Woman] What happened? – [Woman] What happened? (mumbling) – Yeah, what happened? – Wait, wait, wait. Can you use the mic so that
everyone can hear (mumbling)? – For those who want to know, it was kind of like going
steady except legally, and so we were together for about three really fascinating years, and I got to meet a lot
of interesting people who were in the Yale Rep at the time, like Christopher Walken
and Christopher Lloyd, and Meryl Streep was in the drama school and Henry Winkler was sort of, we all lived together, so it was a really interesting, weird time being an undergraduate and a
theater wife simultaneously, but after about three
years, we drifted apart, and I went back to being sort of normal. (audience laughing) – [Woman] Back to being single. – In the way back there. (mumbling) – I’m Liz Oliver, Davenport, ’71, two parts, a little bit
about dealing with ambition and also relationship to guy friends. Early on, I don’t know. There must be other people here who got asked to go to
alumni dinners to talk or sit next to at the
various faculty homes old crusty alums who were really upset that Yale had gone coed. I don’t know. Is there anybody else who
went to those dinners? Yay, okay, so at one of these
dinners, and I have no idea how they selected who they selected, but at one these dinners, I sat next to someone who had graduated, I believe if memory serves, and that’s questionable at this point, but I think it was 1903 or 1906, and he was livid, and I had been at Smith for two years, and one of the reasons I wanted to leave Smith was I grew up in New York. I went to a huge public
high school with 5,000 kids and was so used to– – [Woman] Use your mic. (mumbling) – Sorry, and Smith felt
very unnatural to me, being an all girls school, so I was looking forward
to coeducation at Yale. However, this guy was telling
me how unwelcome I was and assuming that essentially
I was taking the place, which he said to me flat out, “What did I want to do with my life?” All I wanted to do was get
married and find a husband, and that was my ambition to come to Yale, and I was taking the place of one of Yale’s 1,000 male leaders, so I remember leaving that
dinner and thinking to myself, that this was a very strange perspective to plant on first year girls
wandering around the campus. Fast forward, after
having many male friends in the college, someone came up to me with another classmate
who had been drafted whose number had come up, and he had dropped out for while, and they got him, and he was about to be drafted, and the thing that he
was most worried about was that they were going to cut his hair, that his hair, which he had grown, I mean, he was worried
about a lot of things, but it was an obsession. And so somebody named Gus
was going from table to table asking if anybody knew how to cut hair, which for whatever
reasons, I happened to do, so we went to essentially– – [Anne] I’m just observing
you got your yellow card, so if you can finish
this story so we can then let someone else talk– – Okay, very quickly I cut this guy’s hair as he got himself drunker and drunker preparing to go into,
report to basic training, or to report to the local, and the guy who brought him
over became a close friend, and then ultimately became my husband with whom I am married now for going on 47, six years. I would like to very much to find the guy from 1903 to tell him in
fact I did find a husband. (audience laughing) – [Woman] Thank you. – I will, but I’d rather
speak on feminism. – Okay. We have so many questions
and so little time. The question I’m gonna
talk about, ask next, is on feminism ’cause
you all arrived really just when the women’s movement
is starting to get going, and so, Cai, how did your
understanding of feminism change over your time at Yale, and I’m wondering if the
women’s movement was something that was important to you, either when you got here or by the time you left? – Okay, at first, I just want to say that Anne just asked me, “Would I be willing to speak
about sexual harassment?” And I said, I would, but I’d
rather speak about feminism, so but can I just say something briefly about sexual harassment? Now that I’ve said I don’t
want to talk about it. I was not actually harassed by any people in authority while I was here, but I was assaulted one
summer when I was here for doing theater, and it was summer twilight, and a bunch of teenage boys came and knocked me down and started undressing me, and it wasn’t until I realized
that I needed to scream that they left as soon as I screamed, and then no one came, and so I redressed myself
and went on to my rehearsal. Anyway, okay, so but I really
want to talk about feminism, because I think like many of you, the first year immediately
upon arriving at Yale, there was a feeling of being woke, especially after the
experiences of the strike. I mean, even though that was focused on other political issues, certainly feminism was there, or feminist issues were interwoven with all of what was
happening during the strike, and I felt it very profoundly. I would have to say that
my experiences that year have become the foundation for pretty much everything I’ve written since, which does not mean to say
that any of what I’ve written since has been autobiographical, but I was very interested
at that time in androgyny, and my first play was about two women who have 10 androgynous
children and send them into the world, and then they come back and report their experiences. And I think that that play emerged from, now probably those kids would
be gender fluid or whatever, but I think at the time, that was my personal reaction to being in this male environment where to be ultra-female, I didn’t want to be ultra-female, but I didn’t want to be male either, and so exploring the interstices there and trying to figure out what that meant. I also want to say that I had
a very powerful mentorship with the playwright Adrienne Kennedy who was having a lot
of success in the ’60s. “The Funnyhouse of a Negro” was
one of her well known plays, and she was really helpful
in helping me get my plays produced in New York, and there was a kind of underlying
understanding on her part that women needed extra help, and at any rate, I never
would have hesitated, even at that first year, to
say that I was a feminist, and I have felt that that never wavered. I have been a feminist ever since. – Thanks, Cai. (audience applauding) Kay, you want to speak to that? – Sure. I have been reflecting, including with the other
panels that we’ve listened to, about was I a feminist before I ever came to Yale? I certainly consider myself one now, and I think the answer is yes. I think it springs out of
just a belief that we are all of equal value, and certainly I am, and nobody pushes me around, and when I was about 12, I had a rubber stamp made that said, “This ad insults women,” and I would stamp these
Ladies Home Journal, McCalls– – Go, Kay. Go, Kay– – And mail it off– – You go, Kay– – And the amazing thing, I have to find it ’cause I think I saved it, is I actually got a letter from John Mack Carter who said,
“Yeah, you’re kind of right, “but these ads are what
pays for our magazine,” and I wasn’t gonna take that, but I just think it’s
interesting he took the time to write to a girl, and ironically years later, there was a feminist sit in in his office, so that was quite interesting. I was lucky at Yale
though to have a number of wonderful women professors, and I was sort of surprised to hear that some of you had none at all. I just wanted to recognize
Ann Hanson in History of Art. (audience applauding) Ruth Day, she was wonderful in psychology. Kerala Snyder, I had for music theory, and she was a Wellesley woman. As soon as I left
Wellesley, I was convinced I was meeting a remarkable Wellesley woman everywhere I turned, which would say, well, why did you leave? Including Hilary Clinton I had known at Wellesley
because she was a senior. I was a freshman, and she
was always in our dorm, an amazing woman I looked up to, and then Ellen Keniston,
also here in the Law School. I took a great course about women and law. I know one of teachers was Ann Hill. I don’t remember the name of the other, but it was a terrific seminar, so I felt very nurtured, and I think the literature
that we had already read, but also were exposed to, before I came, I know I
had read Betty Freidan. I think here, Simone deBeauvoir. Kate Millett actually worked out of my father’s radical
church in New York City on Washington Square and
then Susan Brown Miller. Now I still like feminist reading, but I’m going more towards humor ’cause I think there is humor in feminism. A book that came out about
two years ago I loved was “How to be a Woman” by a British writer, Caitlin Moran. If you have a chance, it’s very funny and will teach you how to be a woman. It’s never too late, (audience laughing) and then another thought I had, I have always been involved
in the women’s movement, but I was envious of those among us who were more vocal, louder. I really looked up to them. I also one time edging
into the sexual harassment, a TA who loved my writing
and would embarrass me having me read it out loud, my papers to the class, invited me to a party at his house, and I immediately thought,
he grades my papers. I can’t go to his party, and I told him, and I’m just amazed now. I don’t know where that sense came from, and so still a feminist. – Thank you. (audience applauding) Forgive me. We have just 10 minutes
left and three questions, and so I’m just gonna, to kind of give you a breadth here, I am gonna just move on
to the next question, and hopefully we’ll have
time to pull the audience in, but this is one that has come up, which is the question
of sexual harassment. That term sexual harassment
was not even coined yet. No one even knew that phrase
when you all arrived here, but that doesn’t mean
that students were immune to sexual harassment,
whether by professors or graduate students or other students, although when it happened, typically it was kept very quiet, so you may never have even
known it was going on, even if it was with the person, someone you knew. Joan, you had said you’d
speak to this question. Do you want to talk to us about it? – I’d like to speak to this
question because all my life, since Yale I have regretted
not speaking about it. Something happened. I kept it to myself, so I was a freshman. I’m bright eyed. I’m having this thrilling
intellectual experience at Yale, and one of my professors, who I admired and has since gone on to be a great, world, he had assigned weekly papers, and I was getting As on my papers, which was thrilling because I was worried, like everyone else, that I
was gonna fail out of Yale, or I didn’t know if I was
qualified or whatever. So about the third, fourth week, I get a paper back, and after getting As, this one had a C, and it had a note on it saying, “See me,” (laughing) so I made an appointment, and I went to his office. I had to figure out where it was. I had never gone to a professor’s office, and he started talking to me, and he got up, and he locked the door to his office, and then he chased me around the room, and I was floored. I was like, what? I wasn’t scared. I was just nonplussed. I was like, what? You’re my professor. What the hell are you doing? I was like, I didn’t get it, and I was like, just couldn’t believe it. Anyway, this went on, and finally I just yelled at him, and I said, let me out of here. I’m just gonna scream. Just let me out of here now. I left. Okay, so then I told a couple of people just because I was kind of traumatized, so I go back to class,
write my next weekly paper, and I came back with an F on it. – Oh, no. – And not only that, it
had a comment saying, “This is the best paper
you’ve written all year,” so when that happened,
I wasn’t really worried because I had all this evidence. I mean, what an idiot, so I just kept all the
papers in a little file. I wrote my next paper. I think I got a D or an F on every other paper. Finally, it comes to blue
book day where you’re sitting to take your final for this course, and he’s at the podium addressing everyone about the test, and before he left, I
got up out of my seat, and I went up to the podium with my back to the audience here, to the other students, and I said, excuse me, sir. Shall I take the test, or are you just gonna fail me? And he looked at me, and he said, “Take the test,” so I took the test, and that was it, and I think I got an A in
the course or something, an A minus or something, but it was like so ridiculous, and I thought I should have done something because I don’t know if other
people were going through things like that, but it was like this kind of weird thing, and the professor had never
had a student who was a woman, had never been in class with a woman. I think I felt, should I wreck his career? Should I make this into a big deal? Or is it he’s just as
clueless as I was, you know? I felt like we were
both kind of mirroring, like I was coming into a
situation I didn’t understand, and I think he was as well, but I’ve been conflicted really. I think about it all the time, and with this Me Too movement even more, but I wonder if other people
had experiences like that. – Thank you for sharing that. It’s not always easy to talk about. We only have five minutes left. I’m so sorry. This time has just flown. Let me tell you, and I apologize to the panelists ’cause they’ve prepared
for some other questions that we simply don’t have time for, but I want to share those
with you because I do hope you continue this conversation. One is on women who left, so my stats are just on the freshman class ’cause those were, from a
researcher’s point of view, the cleanest stats to look at, but roughly 10% of the women who started as freshman here in 1969 chose to leave before
graduating from Yale, which is the exact same
percentage as the men, so given all that you went through, that’s actually pretty remarkable. And then number of women, you may have heard that today, figured out how to create
some room from themselves, either by going on the five year BA or taking a term abroad or
dropping out for a semester and then coming back, and
so that was one question. Did you know anyone who left Yale, and if so how did that affect you, or did you ever consider leaving Yale yourself? And then the ninth question,
the closing question, what was the best or funniest
or most unexpected part about being at Yale, so I encourage you to ask one
another that this evening, and what was the hardest or the worst? So anyway, as I said, this
was mission impossible. So many important stories
out there to hear, and we have just skimmed the surface, but I do want to close not
just by thanking this panel, but by thanking all of
you and thanking you, as a woman who came after you. Thank you for so much for
what you did for all of us, making it easier to be a woman at Yale, so why don’t we close
with a round of applause for you and for our panel? (audience applauding) (mumbling)