Seven Yale students — most of them members of the Undergraduate Organizing Committee — visited the homes and offices of five Yale Corporation fellows residing in New York and Connecticut last Friday to present them with student letters requesting increased financial aid.
The seven students made the trip to communicate their goals for further financial aid reforms — a reduction of the student and summer aid contributions by half — to members of Yale’s highest decision making body. UOC member Josh Eidelson ’06 said the visits were the latest step in the committee’s push for further reform after not receiving a response to letters they sent to Yale President Richard Levin and the Corporation earlier this month.
Levin declined to comment specifically on the UOC’s decision to personally visit Corporation members, but he said he is available to meet with students concerned about Yale’s financial aid policies.
“I do have office hours,” Levin said. “I am sure that Dean Salovey or I would have the opportunity to meet with students interested in financial aid.”
Eidelson said he thought the trip helped the group advance their objectives for financial aid reform.
“The day was a great step forward for our campaign,” Eidelson said. “We remain hopeful that the University leaders are going to take notice and meet with us.”
But Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said he is unsure how successful the UOC’s efforts will be.
“I do not see how harassing Yale Corporation members at their homes and offices can have any positive impact on the discussions we are already having on campus through our standing committees concerning Yale’s financial aid policies,” Salovey said in an interview last Thursday with the News. “We always hope to improve financial aid, but must do it in a way that is responsible with respect to the many demands on Yale’s budget.”
Financial Aid Director Caesar Storlazzi said that he prefers the Yale College Council’s method of passing resolutions to the UOC’s tactics. The YCC proposed financial changes similar to those set forth by the UOC in a resolution last Wednesday.
“The YCC is talking about the same things but in a very different way,” Storlazzi said. “[Their methods] are consensus-building, non-confrontational.”
The group met with the two Corporation fellows they visited in Connecticut, PepsiCo president and chief financial officer Indra Nooyi SOM ’80 and Barrington Parker Jr. ’65 LAW ’69, a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Eidelson said.
Both Nooyi and Parker, Jr. were willing to spend time discussing Yale’s financial aid policies with the UOC delegation, said Noah Dobin-Bernstein ’07, who was part of the traveling group.
“They were both very receptive,” Dobin-Bernstein said. “They recognized the need for more financial aid changes.”
But the group was unable to speak with the three Corporation fellows they visited in New York City. Instead, the members left copies of the 600 student letters they received at the office of Theodore Shen ’66, the studio of Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86 and the apartment of Roland Betts ’68.
Betts declined to comment on whether the UOC’s approach was “constructive.”
“I was in meetings all day outside the office, but I was told by my office that they were very polite,” Betts said.
Eight months ago, the University removed the parent contribution for students from families earning under $45,000 and reduced it for students from families earning between $45,000 and $60,000.