Within the next two weeks, the Yale College Council hopes to present a report detailing student opinion on issues concerning academics, student life and athletics to President-elect Peter Salovey to provide him with input from undergraduates before his tenure begins.
The report will give recommendations about 36 topics, including mental health resources, alcohol disciplinary policy and introductory science courses, for Salovey to consider as he prepares for the transition. One YCC member will gather information about each topic from school-wide surveys, student testimonials and personal conversations with students, administrators and professors. YCC Vice President Danny Avraham ’15, who is in charge of compiling the report, said that with the report, the YCC aims to help inform Salovey and other administrators about student concerns so the YCC can better coordinate with the new president’s agenda next fall.
“We are at a unique point in Yale’s history — Salovey’s appointment brings with it the momentum to review a lot of issues and possibly expedite the long processes policy changes at Yale oftentimes take,” Avraham said. “We are hoping to raise many issues now so they will be integrated into the agendas for next year that are currently being formed by the administration.”
The YCC emailed an initial survey on Feb. 7 asking for student input on the topics covered in the report and YCC members will build on the survey information in their final report, Avraham said. The YCC has already been working on addressing several of the topics included in the survey — such as implementing mixed-gender housing and improving the Online Course Information website — though Avraham said the report will still include them to expedite the process of administrative review.
Salovey said that although he had not yet heard of the report, he found YCC data gathered during the presidential search to be helpful, adding that he would “very much look forward” to similar efforts. He said he hopes the student input outlined in the report will correspond with the goals he plans to address during his presidency.
“Anything students can provide that would help us address my themes of a more unified Yale, innovative Yale, accessible Yale and excellent Yale would be helpful,” Salovey said.
So far, Avraham said, 1,700 people responded to the survey and over 200 students submitted responses in the “additional comments” section. On Sunday, the YCC members responsible for each topic presented an outline of their findings to the entire Council, which then voted to approve all the preliminary recommendations about the topics. Members are now in the process of conducting additional research and writing their final reports.
Josh Barrett ’15, the topic leader for pre-med advising and minors, said in an email to the News that he plans to consult with Dean of Academic Affairs Mark Schenker to incorporate an administrative perspective in his section of the report.
Andrew Sobotka ’15, the topic leader for athletics, said he relied on firsthand experiences from members of the athletic community to form the direction and content of his portion of the report.
Seven of nine students interviewed said they had only vaguely heard of the report and had not completed the survey. Five students said they hoped the survey and report would include more specific topics than the ones outlined in the YCC’s email.
“I think it is a good step, but I don’t think it was extensive enough,” Sophia Clementi ’14 said. “I don’t know how helpful it will be if there aren’t more specific questions. I understand they probably did not want to make it too long so that many people take it, but if we are talking about a future president of Yale I would rather him have more information.”
Clementi added that she thought the YCC’s survey focused too much on academics and financial aid and she thinks there should have been a greater number of questions about campus climate in light of Yale’s changing alcohol policy.
The YCC will hold an open forum with President-elect Salovey on Feb. 25.