We are returning to a University in transition.
This year marks Yale’s last under current University President Richard Levin, and its first under the leadership of current Provost Peter Salovey, who will take his seat in Woodbridge Hall this July.
Predicting the length of Salovey’s tenure is impossible, but we are confident that the man currently in Warner House will lead the University for the foreseeable future. Levin’s own predecessor stepped down nearly 20 years ago, when the majority of current freshmen were not yet born and the Clinton administration had just begun.
Two decades later, we are attending Yale during its largest administrative change in recent memory. The presidential search is behind us, leaving a new University president — and a new moment for discourse — in its place. Our position in Yale’s history demands we share our vision for the University with the many new administrators, Salovey included, who will come to shape it.
The debate and discussion surrounding the presidential search process caused some to question the role of student opinion in driving University policy. It is true that our tenures here are far shorter than those of the average professor, administrator or president. Our commitment to the University may one day diminish, and our identities as Yalies may fade.
But today, we are Yale students, immersed in the daily life and operations of our University. What we lack in institutional memory we offer in immediate experience. Only we know what it means to be Yale students in 2013; no one else can speak for us.
To that effect, the News will be publishing a series of weekly editorials this semester outlining our hopes for what a Salovey administration might achieve and reform. We hope to evaluate where we see Yale now, and where we want to see the University when President Salovey eventually steps down.
As we consider the long-term future of Yale, we ask you to share in our project. This semester, begin a conversation on campus. Take the time — in your classes and your common rooms — to consider your vision for the University. Our lives are too often preoccupied with small details and daily considerations, but this semester calls for institutional introspection on a grand scale.
Yalies have concerns about our endeavor in Singapore, athletic recruitment policies and the new residential colleges, but we remain hopeful about our relationship with New Haven, our social climate and the role of the sciences. With such issues in mind, we can begin to imagine the University we hope to return to as alumni.
The face in Woodbridge is changing, but it remains to be seen whether the values and policies that guide our University will change as well. These are the questions we hope to answer this semester. We hope you will join us.