Piersonites petition against master’s departure

Students have filed a petition to keep Pierson Master Harvey Goldblatt from leaving at the end of the academic year.
Students have filed a petition to keep Pierson Master Harvey Goldblatt from leaving at the end of the academic year. Photo by Graham Harboe.

A petition calling for the extension of Harvey Goldblatt’s term as Pierson College master has reopened speculation into what led to his decision to depart after the 2012-’13 academic year.

When Goldblatt agreed to a three-year term in 2010, rumors began circulating that the administration had pressured Goldblatt to retire sooner than he had intended in part because of his resistance to reductions in Pierson’s budget. The petition — addressed to University President Richard Levin — has garnered approximately 700 signatures since it was sent to Pierson students and alums in a Feb. 13 email, said Jeffrey Hartsough ‘12, author of the petition.

“We do not wish to take an adversarial stance against the administration, but rather hope that the administration will reopen discussions regarding Master G’s departure and what appears to be an attempt to make the residential college experience uniform across all colleges,” he said in an email, adding that Goldblatt’s reasons for leaving remain “unclear.”

The administration redistributed funds between the colleges in 2010 to help ensure that students in each of the colleges had commensurate experiences. Pierson’s budget had become larger than that of other colleges in part because of donations from alumni.

Levin told the News in 2010 that administrators and Goldblatt had “agreed mutually” that he would step down in 2013 after serving as master for 18 years. Levin declined to comment Tuesday night on the petition, and Goldblatt did not respond to requests for comment.

All seven signatories interviewed said they signed the petition out of their respect and admiration for Goldblatt, and most said they did not completely understand the circumstances that led to his decision to step down.

Bonnie Antosh ’13 said she signed the petition “in case Master G’s choice to leave[was] not voluntary.”

“Students want to express their appreciation for a man who has contributed so much to their experience of Pierson as a home,” she said in an email. “If he’s being forced to leave because he refused to back down in administrative debates, then I think Piersonites want some honesty about that decision from the administration.”

All Pierson students interviewed praised Goldblatt’s friendly nature and devotion to his students. Sarah Armitage ’12 said Goldblatt has been a strong mentor for her throughout her Yale years, and Elise Brown ’12 said he “makes Pierson feel like a home and a community, rather than just a fancy dorm.”

But Nicholas Aubin ’14, who declined to sign the petition, said he thinks the petition inappropriately exploits Goldblatt’s upcoming departure in order to dispute the equalization of residential college budgets.

“There are deeper issues worth addressing in the structure and arrangement of Yale’s residential college system, but I think it would be disrespectful to Master G to use the occasion of his resignation as a platform to address them,” Aubin said in an email. “Let us instead celebrate the legacy of a great master and a good man.”

Though Goldblatt intends to leave his post in 2013, he will remain at Yale as a professor of medieval Slavic literature.


  • GeoJoe

    Is there anyone outside of Pierson who would support this petition? I think not. At least according to this reporting, this is nothing but a selfish attempt to retain some lavish perks of being in Pierson, no matter the effects on other students’ residential college experiences.

    • piersonite

      Would anyone in any college care about the Master of a different college leaving? For example, I doubt that a Morsel worries about the Master of Trumbull staying or leaving. Furthermore, the people who are most directly affected by Master G’s departure are Piersonites, so why would it matter that other colleges wouldn’t sign it? And unless you, GeoJoe, are somehow a high ranking Pierson official, I do not understand how you know that Pierson spends its money on “lavish perks.” I doubt that few in Pierson know how the budget is spent, so I think your statement is based more on rumor and hearsay. Piersonites are not spoiled, and the author of the petition is a senior, who I doubt will benefit financially from Master G staying for an extra year or two. The petition is simply a symbol of Pierson’s devotion to a Master who has led our community with fairness, respect, and love for 18 years. Perhaps it would be more prudent for you to obtain more concrete facts before you attack Piersonites as “selfish.”

    • River_Tam

      I would support this petition, and I was not in Pierson.

    • laylago

      The petition is in support of Master G, not the funding. If you consider him to be part of the “lavish perks”, then, yes, it is an attempt to retain him.

      River Tam, here is the link to the petition, if you’d like to sign:


    • yalie13

      I am not a Piersonite and I absolutely 100% would support this petition in case, as one student said, “Master G’s choice to leave[was] not voluntary.”

      Those who know Master Goldblatt know how incredible a person he is. I objectively suspect few who know him wouldn’t be saddened by his departure.

      • oogabooga

        Don’t pretend to know him. You know nothing about him. Stop being such a sheeple.

    • oogabooga

      STOP everyone! Just STOP! This man goes to rich students’ parents and gets money that way. How is it that he owns residence of Park Ave., folks? Everyone THINKS they know this man — “kind, gentle”, and my personal fave: “he’s like my father to me”. Oh, please! Did anyone look at the fact that his face is plastered all over PC walls (I mean HUGE pictures of himself); he had a portrait made of himself(!?); he addresses the students with “My beloved”, “my family, “, etc. Such tremendous affection while his very own daughter always used to tell certain fellow students that she wanted “nothing to do with him” since he lacked giving attention to his own children.
      His mega, mega ego mania lead him to also do things like create a DVD with own hip-hop song so that he could hear himself do hip hop at one of the commencements. The man has major mental issues and he finally got called out by his peers who actually DO KNOW HIM! I’m a former student and I don’t think but KNOW that PC IS SPOILED due to the underhanded dirty trickery that goes on in there. And what’s with that creepy dean of that college?!

  • akchica

    Agreed – Master G is an incredibly selfless and caring advisor and friend to Piersonites. As a petition signer and an alumna, I can certainly say that I expect no financial or personal gains – I was just expressing my gratitude to a man who routinely put his students’ needs above his own and who, I believe, truly loves Pierson College and the students who call it home.

    • oogabooga

      Disagree!!! Stop being SHEEPLE. that’s why this world is the way it is. There aren’t any people who recognize a scheister if one punched them in the head.

  • Nomadic100

    As an alumnus of ’68 (Berkeley), I recall that, in those years, Jonathon Edwards was reputed to have more funds available for whatever the college chose to spend it on than other colleges.

    In my opinion, there is no reason why all the colleges should be equal in all respects. As long as college assignments are made randomly, should one or more colleges do better through bequests than others, then so be it! They are doing something right!

    If Pierson were to do much better than the second or third ranking colleges in intercollege athletics, what would Yale College do?

    Competition is always good.

    • oogabooga

      well, well. Just caring about what’s best for number one, are we? After all, only YOU truly count in this world don’t ya? As long as your little world is good…………
      True yalie to the core!

      upyo ’68

  • interestedininterestedinbiolog

    So, Nomadic100, would you be okay with college assignments actually being random? Because they aren’t now, as any legacy can tell you. If you’re okay with making college assignments totally random, then I applaud you though I still think you’re wrong. If not, then you’re just a hypocrite and your opinions should be ignored.