Corporation talks renovations, athletic recruits, visas

Renovation plans for Silliman and Trumbull colleges, a report from Yale’s director of Human Resources, and a discussion of University finances topped the Yale Corporation’s agenda last weekend, Yale President Richard Levin said at a debriefing Thursday.

The Corporation, the University’s highest decision-making body, also examined its policy on admitting athletes, and international students’ difficulties obtaining visas. Members also approved new recycling goals for the University after a proposal by the Corporation’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Management, or ACEM.

Architects charged with renovating Silliman and Trumbull colleges presented their plans to the Corporation members during the meeting. Levin said he is “very excited” about increasing Trumbull’s basement capabilities. Plans for Silliman include converting extra space in the college into classrooms and offices for faculty, Levin said.

Last weekend, the trustees also adopted new environmental goals in an ongoing effort to make Yale a leader in environmental responsibility. These goals include increasing the purchase of recycled office supplies and reducing multiple forms of waste.

“With the adoption of these goals and targets, Yale is demonstrating a comprehensive and progressive commitment to environmental superiority,” ACEM chairman and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies professor Thomas Graedel said.

Corporation members also discussed Yale’s current policy on the admission of recruited athletes. Levin said the University cut back on the number of recruited athlete applicants admitted by 15 or 16 percent from last year, in response to an Ivy League initiative to decrease the number of recruited athletes who are accepted.

“We think we’re able to accomplish that without hurting the competitiveness of our teams,” Levin said.

Levin said the Corporation also looked into ways to give varsity athletes more opportunities to participate in aspects of campus life outside of sports. One idea is to assign a faculty member to each team who will facilitate the integration of athletes into other school activities, he said.

Also on the agenda this weekend was an examination of the current student visa problem. The graduate school has received 30 percent fewer applications from students in China this year. The difficulty in obtaining visas and the fear of not being able to reenter their native countries have prevented international students from applying to U.S. universities, Levin said.

“More and more students seem to be discouraged from applying to the U.S.,” Levin said.

Currently, a committee of trustees and administrators from Yale, Harvard, Princeton, MIT, Stanford and Columbia are seeking assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to make the country more open to international students, Levin said.

“Every foreign student who comes here is a potential ambassador,” he said.

Also on the agenda last weekend was a report on new Director of Human Resources Robert Schwartz’s first 100 days at the University. With Schwartz’s appointment, the University is improving and strengthening the amount of support it gives its nonacademic staff, Levin said.

“He’s very professional and in many ways is going to upgrade the way we think more globally about careers,” he said.

Also on the Corporation’s agenda was a presentation by the University’s Finance Committee, which has created a task force to improve Yale’s business services, Levin said.

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