Corp. backs academic review, debates new fundraising



The University’s budget, the newly released academic review, residential college renovations and labor issues topped the agenda of the Yale Corporation during its meeting last weekend, Yale President Richard Levin said Thursday.

The Corporation also saw presentations from the Educational Policy, Finance, and Buildings and Grounds committees. Levin said the Corporation spent Friday afternoon discussing the recommendations of the Committee on Yale College Education. The group, which Yale College Dean Richard Brodhead leads, released a report earlier this month proposing changes to a number of academic areas, including science education, international studies and distributional requirements.

Some Corporation members expressed reservations because they thought the suggested changes to academic advising were insufficient. But Levin said they were for the most part “quite supportive of the initiatives.”

“I think the Corporation was really engaged and I think they were supportive about the recommendations,” Levin said.

Though Levin recently announced that the University will launch a capital campaign to support the review’s implementation, he said some Corporation members were skeptical about fundraising.

“There’s some anxiety about starting a fundraising effort in what is a weak economy,” Levin said. “[But] this is so important that we don’t want to let the opportunity pass.”

Levin said he missed part of the Friday meeting to address the concerns of students who were protesting the administration’s reaction to the recent reports of harassment. He said the Corporation had a “discussion in real time” about the alleged hate crimes because Levin left the meeting to address the concerns of students occupying — and demonstrating outside — Woodbridge Hall.

“I basically just reported back to the Corporation at the end of the afternoon,” he said.

In addition, the Corporation approved Yale’s seventh consecutive balanced budget and discussed labor issues.

Levin said he was disappointed the relationship between the unions and the University had not improved, especially after Yale’s most recent offer. He said the unions need to bring a more realistic offer to the bargaining table.

“It’s increasingly puzzling to me why we don’t see more progress, because we’ve made a good, solid effort,” Levin said. “We certainly would still very much like to get that settled.”

The Corporation also considered the upcoming renovations to Silliman and Trumbull colleges. Renovating Silliman may be challenging, Levin said, because of the college’s relatively large size and the number of residents. He said the renovation will likely take more time than the approximately 15 months that were required to renovate the other colleges.

“We’ll probably have to use an extra summer or even two,” he said. “I would not like to close half of it down for two consecutive years — Precise details about the timing of Silliman and Trumbull are still to be figured out.”

The Corporation’s attention was not devoted solely to academics and construction, Levin said. Corporation members also asked about the atmosphere on campus in light of the war in Iraq. In response, Levin said he discussed the teach-ins he organized with history professor John Gaddis.

“I think we owe [Gaddis] a great debt for what is a considerable effort,” Levin said.

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