Proposed Transition to YaleMail

I recently received a fait accompli notice from the AYA technical staff announcing a cessation of the “virtual Yale Station” ( in favor of “YaleMail,” a Google managed platform, requiring recipients to open a Google email address.

I raised a number of technical questions as to why this was necessary. None were, in my view as an expert, adequately answered.

But my main question, which is why this usurpation of the “Yale College” platform was allowed to come about without vetting, without debate, without a thorough review by the Class Councils (a number of Yale College classes have their own websites which would have put you a click away from opinion-gathering from a number of entire classes both as to the merits of this deal and as to alternate ideas; and without a hearing before the Yale Corporation or President Salovey, or a direct polling of the alumni body, easily done by computer as is done when Corporation Members are put up for election. The response was in effect a shrug of the shoulders.

If we follow the money (if any) in this situation, what will we find? Advertising (a clear invasion of Yale Alumni space)? If there is anything to find, it should flow to the AYA for its good work, assuming it is not invasively derived, and not to a Google entity. When asked, the AYA did not know the answer!?

But most important, is the “commercialization” of the most productive alumni body in the world, and the trivializing of the very name “Yale.” Not even the Green Bay Packers will change the name of Lambeau Field. How dopey and pedestrian is “YaleMail”? (A classmate, admittedly from pre-coed days in New Haven, suggested that as long as we are at it, a similarly elegant name be given to an affiliate service to be known as YaleTail, which I assume needs no further clarification.)

Or is it that millennial marketeers feel that Yale College graduates need a catchy and denigrating name in order to identify with their status as alumni? I do not think so.

Finally, as to alternatives, if the University is so bereft of intellectual and financial resources so as to Googleize Yale, how about instead turning things over to undergraduates to manage this enterprise much like it is with the Yale Daily News? This is not hard to do and for lack of an alternative I volunteer to organize that, as my experience on the News Board and as designer of numerous large scale computer-based applications would qualify me. But of course nobody asked me, or anyone else to my knowledge.

Everywhere we look in our culture, excellence is compromised. I am angered and offended by this effort. Who decided this? On behalf of my fellow alumni (which includes my daughter), I would like to see this program put on ice immediately, subject to due diligence and due process…

I would like to remind you that our motto is not “For God, For Country, For Google, and For Yale.”

Benjamin C. Zitron ’59
Class of 1959 Council
AYA Member