University President Richard Levin endorsed the proposal to build two new residential colleges Monday and announced he would recommend that the Yale Corporation proceed with planning for the project.

In a statement e-mailed to the Yale community, which included the release of a long-awaited report examining the viability of expanding Yale College, Levin said he will ask the Provost’s Office to develop estimated capital and operating budgets for the construction and operation of the new colleges and for the Development Office to prepare a fundraising plan for those expenditures.

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“I believe that it is time to use our augmented resources to prepare a larger number of the most talented and promising students of all backgrounds for leadership and service,” Levin wrote.

Levin’s announcement follows months of speculation on campus about whether the expansion was inevitable. Members of the Yale Corporation and other Yale officials spoke often of the “strong momentum” in favor of expanding, and Levin occasionally veered out of the subjunctive mood when talking with the News about the possibility of building new colleges.

But in recent months, the president emphasized that no decision had been made regarding the new colleges and that he was very much interested in student opinion on the proposal.

Levin’s statement — which clocked in at 4,345 words — marked a distinct departure from that message. Levin said he would present the report to the Corporation with his “enthusiastic endorsement,” and would ask its members to formally approve the expansion at their June meeting.

When Levin last sent a campuswide e-mail last February on the issue of whether the University should expand, he trod carefully, promising a “year of exploration” regarding the issue.

On Monday, he acknowledged that students remain concerned regarding the proposed expansion. But then — for the first time — he flatly rejected their concerns.

“By creating two new communities of roughly 400 students, intimacy can be preserved,” Levin said. “By responding aggressively to the issues of adequate staffing, amenities in proximity to the new colleges, transportation, security, activity space and support for student activities as outlined by the study group, I believe that the quality of education and extracurricular life will not only be undiminished but truly strengthened.”

Although Levin did not explicitly say so in his message to the community, when asked by a reporter late Monday if his message was meant to be a sign of public support for expansion, Levin replied in an e-mail: “Yes.”

He was unavailable for further comment Monday because of a family emergency.

The Yale Corporation, the University’s highest governing body, will convene Friday and is expected to vote to proceed, in principle, on planning for the new colleges. That vote — long thought to be a formality — is now virtually guaranteed to be one after Levin’s public recommendation.

“This wasn’t anything new,” said one member of the committees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as to preserve relations with other committee members. “We’ve known all along, I think, that President Levin was in favor of the colleges being built. I’m not surprised — he put thought into it beforehand and isn’t changing his opinion now that [the reports] came out.”

That much did not come as a surprise, as students — and University officials — had increasingly concluded in recent weeks that the question of whether Yale was going to expand did not seem like much of a question anymore.

Another committee member called it a “done deal.” And said one senior University official involved in campus planning in a recent interview, referring to the new colleges: “They will be built.”

The next step will be to develop two budgets regarding the expansion: a capital budget covering both the construction of the colleges and related facilities in support of expansion, as well as an operating budget that details the increases in operating expenditures — ranging from new faculty positions to facilities maintenance — that would come with the new colleges.

Preliminary projections in University budget documents obtained by the News this fall placed the construction cost of the two colleges, not to mention the proposed third building to be erected at the site, at close to $600 million. That cost would make them the most expensive residence halls ever erected on the campus of an American university.

Now, the Provost’s Office will formulate a more detailed assessment of the costs, said Lloyd Suttle, the deputy provost for undergraduate and graduate programs. The early cost estimates that contributed to the $600 million figure were merely “placeholders,” Yale officials have emphasized.

“We really don’t have a sense of how realistic those are,” Suttle said Monday night. “That’s what we’ve got to figure out.”

The colleges, Yale officials said, are estimated to be about 235,000 square feet, about 10 percent smaller than Yale’s largest residential college, Silliman College, and about twice the size of Yale’s smallest college, Calhoun College, according to data from the Office of Institutional Research.

The new colleges would be located behind the Grove Street Cemetery along Prospect Street. If the Corporation were to approve their construction this spring, the University would break ground on the colleges by early 2011 en route to opening them to students in the fall of 2013, Levin said.


  • anon

    The report, available at http://www.yale.edu/opa, is very well written, however that does not change the fact that the new colleges will change Yale forever. It won't be the intimate campus that it is today. That has nothing to do with the new colleges, it has to do with their location a mile from Pierson.

  • Anonymous

    A whole mile?? How will you all cope!

  • Alum

    Based on the student reaction to the proposed location of the new colleges, it should be no mystery why Yale consistently produces fewer science and math majors than its peers: students perceive that Science Hill is not a part of their 'intimate campus.' Whatever other merits (and demerits) of the new location, that sounds like an excellent reason to stretch the undergraduates' comfort zone and bring them together with Yale's impressive science offerings.

  • Anonymous

    IIn building the new colleges, Yale is making herself more accessible to more students. Instead of worrying about the Yale of today, let's refocus on sharing her resources with as many people as possible in the future. These colleges cannot destroy the intimacy that is Yale.

  • Anonymous

    Try walking over there. The new colleges would not actually be on Science Hill at all. In fact, if you walk toward Science Hill and stop at the base of it, where the yummy food carts are, you've gone too far. Turn around and go back: the site of the new colleges is already behind you.

    The new colleges would be across the street from the Political Science department--the second most popular major at Yale and where many students will be taking Poli Sci classes.

    The new colleges would be three blocks from Old Campus and one block from Commons--a 6 or 7 minute walk from WLH and Stoekel Hall, two more places where a lot of classes will be held. The new colleges would be 1/10th of a mile closer to WLH than Pierson is, and the same distance from the Library as TD is.

    Even if the new colleges are not built, it seems like students will be spending more time in that area anyway, *during the day*. The question is whether Yale is willing to do what is necessary to make that area a vibrant and interesting place to be at night, so that the students in the new colleges would have the same kind of sense of intimate community and access to amenities as students in Morse & Stiles, Pierson & Davenport, or Sillianm & TD.

  • Hieronymus

    Perhaps science majors will congregate--or at least accrete--in the new colleges, helping Yale move closer to the forefront in its science and engineering programs (gawd knows Yale needs SOMETHING to counteract its leftward lean… emphasizing rationality is a good start).

  • Anonymous

    Has the rest of the Divinity School campus been restored yet ? If not, open the pocketbook for that first. It wouldn't take much imagination to come up with good uses for that space, and the last time I was there ( maybe 3 yrs ago ) it looked like a slum back there.

  • Ken Ferguson

    I really laughed when I read the president's justification for the expansion… "to prepare a larger number of the most talented and promising students of all backgrounds for leadership and service". Just exaclty what does he mean when he uses the word "service"? I know one form of service that he doesn't refer to because the stats couldn't be more clear: "Almost half of the graduating classes of Princeton and Harvard entered the service for a tour of duty in the fifties. Today, less than one percent does." The elite's that are priviledged to attend Ivy League institutions have long forgotten "noblesse oblige".

  • james f

    Above the arch on the entrance to Grove Street Cemetery: "The Dead Shall Be Raised"

    When Yale needs the land…


    The Div. School has been an academic embarassment to Yale standards for decades, let it go.

  • Visitor

    Recommend you take some of your $ and expertise and clean up the run-down city in which your are located.

  • Schadenfreude

    The fact that this drivel was posted on a news site disgusts me. I couldn't care less about spoiled, self-righteous pricks having to walk a bit further than usual (and yes, I know several people at Yale. They're scum who will continue to live off daddy for the next 20 yrs. Bravo, yale, what a glorious student body you've accumulated). Ever been to UCLA? the place has its own goddamn zip code! Whiny, pretentious cretins. Grow up. I live in a place that has regular temperatures of -45 degrees, my campus is quite large and spread out. If I can suffer through walking in the freezing cold you can suffer more temperate walks.
    I just can't even begin to describe how sickened I am that this was considered news.

  • Visitor

    Suggest that Yale spend some of its money to improve the run-down city in which it is located. Great opportunity for your urban planners.

  • Old Blue '73

    Yale College had not grown in size since the advent of coeducation my year, while the population of the U.S. has grown by almost 50%. Expansion is way overdue and the quality of students and undergraduate experience will not suffer.

    It would be nice to have all the residential colleges continguous, but unless you raze both HGS and the Law School and build new buildings for them there isn't enough land to do a proper job anywhere closer but the Prospect Place site. So what if the center of gravity of undergraduate life moves a little further north? Expand your horizons!

  • Meatpieandtatters

    Hmmm? 400 extra students at $600 million dollars? I'd say that pretty much meets and exceeds Yale's elitist threshold for excess piled on top of excess. I'd also expect to see gold plated lavatories and full-time massage therapists on-staff.

  • anon

    This article made the DRUDGE REPORT under "Gilded Age: $600M Dormitories at Yale" … so expect to see a lot of postings here!

  • Anon

    "Suggest that Yale spend some of its money to improve the run-down city in which it is located. Great opportunity for your urban planners."

    Yale will never do that… if you are not a yalie then you are unclean.

  • Bob Evans

    I didn't go to Yale, but I do know one thing - the "subjunctive" is a mood or voice, not a tense. Send that writer to Grammar Boot Camp!

  • Jack

    After living in the lavish dorms of Yale, these students should get ready for the corporate housing crisis: http://blog.bizzflip.com/bizzflipcom/2008/02/corporate-housi.html

  • Zeppo007

    No wonder tuition costs continue to rise! The lunacy of libs is mind numbing.

  • Anonymous

    #s 10 and 12, I think Yale has been making a valiant effort in that direction. There's only so much the university can do, though. The local voters continue to vote for the same crummy politicians over and over again. Mayor DeStefano is in his what, eighth term? Until the voters start voting for politicians who will encourage business and crack down on crime, I'm afraid New Haven will continue to be run-down and much less than it could be.

  • LA Doc

    Ahh yes, here's your comment from a Drudgie. Sounds to me like the spoiled, pseudointellectual, bimbo leftists at Yale will have a $600M dorm from which to whine about how they're being "victimized" by society. Nice how it's near the PolySci building. Tomorrows leaders!? I hope to God not.

  • D. Hoffman

    While you're at it, why don't you show some respect for your country and make room for the ROTC. You seem to have plenty of room for the Taliban. What did they ever do for you?

  • Old Blue '73

    For any Drudge Report observers who come here and actually read the story and comments (as opposed to just farting and leaving) the two proposed "residential colleges" are far more than just dorms. They include dining halls, libraries, computer room/clusters, exercise facilities, exhibition space, dedicated
    theater/performance space, music practice rooms, a student kitchen, an after hours cafe (buttery) a TV
    room, a game room, facilities for student laundry and storage, classrooms, administrative staff offices and residences for a faculty head of the "college" (called the "master" but analogous to the university president on a smaller scale), for the administrative dean (usually a more junior faculty person) and for two other faculty members in residence. The $600 million figure also includes the construction of a third building, probably a combination of classrooms and auxiliary gym, which is needed on that part of the campus. The number is still eye-popping but these aren't going to be luxury hotels . In fact, the more detailed report recommended that the new residential colleges be comparable in desirability to the existing, recently renovated residential colleges.

  • Anonymous

    Why can't Yale purchase the New Haven green? There is nothing there currently, and it would be the ideal location for two additional colleges, with its proximity to Old Campus.

  • stapler

    All right, lets spend hundreds of millions of dollars to educate the next generation of war criminals that will come to dominate our political class.

    We wouldn't want that money to go to THE POOR now would we? What the hell happened to this country?

    If we don't talk about the poor then maybe they will go away. Yeah!

  • Karen

    I think the expansion of Yale is simply exhilarating.

  • Visitor

    If you want to improve New Haven, simply offer $50,000 per run down property, not to buy, but to help the owner improve it. This could make a huge difference and is not controlled by local politics. Just run the numbers; there is plenty in the bank for this.

  • --

    This alum has been, and continues to be, absolutely opposed to the expansion of Yale College. If the University really cared about the quality of undergraduate education, they would squeeze enrollment in the College back towards 4,000 students. This would bring enrollment back into balance with the current capacity of facilities in the college, both libraries and residential facilities. Facilities which should have been expanded in response to the added enrollment brought about by the addition of female undergraduates. (An unmitigated blessing I might add).

    Don't believe for a second that Yale University will expand the ranks of faculty to handle the extra enrollment in the college. Administrations since Bart Giamatti's have been shrinking faculty numbers since 1981, the year graduate students were allowed increased teaching responsibility. Check the numbers for yourselves to prove it. I do not believe that trend will end. As a result, I am convinced that today's undergraduate does not receive the same caliber of class instruction received by those in classes prior to the mid 80s. Even the world's best graduate assistants can't equal a regular faculty member with ten years of classroom experience under his belt.

    So, the expansion will proceed. In a few years, Yale will be bigger, but not better. Just wait.

    Robert Schneider, Ph.D., 1982

  • Not a Yale grad

    "Sounds to me like the spoiled, pseudointellectual, bimbo leftists at Yale will have a $600M dorm from which to whine about how they're being "victimized" by society."

    No, pseudo intellectuals are the kind of people who post such uninformed comments. Actual intellectuals are the ones who are smart enough and work hard enough to get into such an esteemed center of higher learning.

    Get over yourself.

  • secret society bob

    The only thing Yale has given the world is spoiled little rich kids blowing each other for a chance to get into secret societies that wish to dominate the world (intimacy of Yale) Examples include presidents George W. and H.W. Bush, Taft and Coolidge and other famous names like Rockefeller, Goodyear, Forbes, Pillsbury and Kellogg - All members of the masonic Skull and Bones secret society. By the way ALL the presidential runners are freemasons (or affiliates - Hillary, Order of the Eastern Star) You have a vote but no choice. Go googling the subject. Have a nice day.

  • Keith

    I wasn't affiliated with Yale but I lived in New Haven for a few years in the 1990's. It wasn't great then, but New Haven has improved tremendously since and most of the improvement can be traced back to Yale. Yale stayed while many local companies went under or left. This was perfect for Yale because they were surrounded by a bunch of old, abandoned buildings and they had lots of cash. These new dorms will solidify Yale's hold over New Haven. Soon the president of Yale will have more say than the Mayor of New Haven.

  • yale 08

    If you hate yale so much, why do you read the YDN? I am very tired of people commenting on articles for the sole purpose of insulting Yale students. Considering the number of news outlets in this country, it seems completely unnecessary.

    Also, New Haven is an amazing city. Too many people judge it based on it's reputation 15 years ago… it is getting better and better every day.

  • Shameful

    All the haters probably have never been to New Haven and will never understand the value of a great education. Anyone familiar with New Haven will see the city has improved precisely because of Yale. Why do they focus on this $600M figure? Don't think it all goes to the dorms…People are so fickle. Remember the big boost in financial aid spending announced just weeks ago, #25? Just plain dumb.