After a year of structural changes at the Yale-affiliated Berkeley Divinity School, administrators at the school have decided to move its offices to the newly-renovated Sterling Divinity Quadrangle at the Yale Divinity School.
The Berkeley Divinity School’s board of trustees voted unanimously Jan. 23 to move the school’s offices to the Yale Divinity School campus. The Berkeley Divinity School administration will move into the space before fall 2003, Yale Divinity School Dean Harold Attridge said.
The move comes a year after a financial controversy surfaced at the Berkeley Divinity School. In December 2001 a Yale internal audit suggested that then-Dean of Berkeley Divinity School R. William Franklin had misappropriated funds. Franklin resigned shortly thereafter. An investigation by the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office, released in October, showed findings of financial mismanagement at the school.
Frederick Borsch, interim dean of the Berkeley Divinity School, said he believes the controversy is a thing of the past.
“I think it’s time we put all that behind us,” Borsch said.
The Berkeley Divinity School has been affiliated with the Yale Divinity School since 1971. In early December 2001, Yale Divinity School administrators suggested they might make the two institutions structurally independent. But on March 6, 2002, administrators announced the renewal of the affiliation between the two schools for 10 more years.
Borsch, who replaced Franklin as dean on March 1, 2002, said he thought the move would be good for students at the school, who are also enrolled in the Yale Divinity School.
“In one sense, we’re going to be able to serve our students better,” Borsch said. “It should enable some efficiencies too.”
Attridge said the relationship between Berkeley Divinity School and Yale Divinity School is “traditionally cordial and warm” and that the two schools share a similar purpose.
“The fundamental mission is the same,” Attridge said.
Richard Madonna, director of finance and administration for Yale Divinity School, said there was initially some concern about the move.
“People were uncertain if it was the right move and how this would impact Berkeley,” Madonna said. “There’s a strong attachment to [the Berkeley Center] on [St.] Ronan Street.”
Borsch said officials at Berkeley Divinity School have been considering the move for the past six months. He said that while the move was only recently confirmed, the idea was set in motion during the recently completed renovation of the Sterling Divinity Quadrangle.
“[The idea’s] been there for a long time,” Borsch said. “From the beginning, there was a place for the Berkeley Divinity School to have its offices [in the Quadrangle].”
Madonna said the increased proximity will make the greater Yale campus more accessible to the Berkeley Divinity School administration.
“All Berkeley activity has to follow Yale procedure,” Madonna said. “Having them in a different location, it’s not as easy.”
Though administrative offices and most classrooms will now be located on the Quadrangle, residences for the dean and some students, as well as a worship space, will remain in the Berkeley Center. The Berkeley Center, located at 363 St. Ronan St., will also continue to function as a hospitality and community center.
Borsch said that while some classes at the Berkeley Divinity School are tailored for its Episcopalian education, students take many of their classes on the Yale Divinity School campus. Many professors teach in both schools.
Madonna said the move will allow Berkeley Divinity School students to benefit more from the Yale community, while still retaining their independence.
“[The Berkeley Center] will still be a part of their life,” Madonna said. “They’re getting to be more a part of the Yale day-to-day activities. It’s really the best of both worlds.”
Attridge said the occupancy agreement for the space must be formalized, but the process should be complete in four to six weeks.