Corporation mulls federal funding

The University’s prospects for federal grants, ongoing construction projects and companies in Yale’s portfolio that may invest in the Sudan were among the topics discussed at last month’s Yale Corporation meeting, Yale officials said.

The governing body’s educational policy committee undergoes a thorough review of federal funding for the University every few years, Yale President Richard Levin said. This year’s report was particularly discouraging, Levin said, due to cuts in research funding for science and pending Congressional bills that would reduce funding for student financial aid.

“Funding for research for science has been cut and held to much more modest increases,” Levin said. “Forward increases for student aid are not optimistic.”

The progress of the 24 ongoing University building projects was discussed in the Corporation’s Buildings and Grounds Committee. The Rudolph Art and Architecture building, which has not undergone major improvements since the 1960s, is now slated for renovation, Levin said. A new building will be constructed between Park and Howe streets on Edgewood Avenue to serve as an interim facility for the School of Architecture, and once renovations are complete, that facility will serve as the new home for the sculpture department of the School of Art.

Corporation fellow Len Baker ’64 said considerable progress is also being made on other campus construction projects, though he did not name particular sites.

“I was certainly pleased with the meeting,” Baker said. “I think we’ve got some great buildings coming along.”

A landscaping project on Science Hill is planned in an effort to make the area a more inviting place and project “a more Yale-like appearance,” Levin said. Reports on the renovations of Trumbull and Silliman colleges indicated that Trumbull renovations are on schedule and that work on the third and final phase of Silliman construction will begin this spring.

A preliminary report by the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility regarding companies that have invested in the Sudan was presented to the Corporation’s Investor Responsibility Committee.

The dialogue between the two committees was productive and facilitated a final determination of criteria for investment decisions set for spring 2006, Levin said.

“I think they had a good exchange on the subject,” Levin said. “We expect in the spring semester a final report from the Committee [ACIR] that will outline guidelines for investment, and following the report there will be a list of companies that we will not invest in.”

Yale Chief Human Resources Officer Rob Schwartz presented a report at the meeting on ways to improve the workplace, including efforts to increase diversity as well as cooperation between management and the unions.

“I hope it accomplished updating them on the efforts that a lot of people have done regarding improving our relationship with the union and improving the workplace,” Schwartz said. “”There is great expertise at the Yale Corporation and the questions and the input they provide is very helpful to me as far as guiding our future actions.”

The agenda also included a discussion of faculty diversity. A detailed report on the progress of the faculty diversity initiative included a restatement of University policy directed at relieving budget constraints on the hiring of minority candidates, Levin said.

A Corporation subcommittee met with Yale College Council officers over lunch to discuss the council’s current priorities and activites, Levin said. Yale College Council President Steven Syverud ’06 said the meeting was productive and included the topics of financial aid and the Student Ambassadors Program.

“The members of the Corporation we’re particularly interested in student opinion of financial aid policies,” Syverud said. “We also discussed the Ambassadors program. They were really interested in it, but we stressed that although some results will certainly be evident in this year’s class, the biggest changes will come several years down the line.”

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