Corp. approves budget, meets with students

Members of the Yale Corporation chose not to initiate any major new budget or policy proposals during their meeting this weekend on the cusp of a complete overturn of its leadership.

Instead, the fellows discussed projects already in progress and approved a capital budget similar to last year’s plan. The meeting marked the penultimate Corporation gathering for both University President Richard Levin and Senior Fellow Edward Bass ’67 ARC ’72, who will be replaced by President-elect Peter Salovey and Margaret Marshall LAW ’76, respectively, on June 30. Levin said the Corporation approved additional funding for ongoing building projects and the finance committee approved a $375 million capital budget for the upcoming year.

“My view was the president-elect and the provost should have the summer to think about [budgeting major projects] and come up with their own priorities,” Levin said.

The $375 million total the Corporation’s Finance Committee approved for the next fiscal year remained consistent with last year’s budget, he said. The budget, which is well-below recent years’ totals of $500 to $600 million because no major construction projects have been launched, covers minor projects and continuing initiatives such as finishing the School of Management building construction on Whitney Avenue by January 2014.

Levin said the Corporation had the “full panoply” of committee meetings on Friday, in which various sub-committees of the Corporation, such as the Development and Alumni Affairs Committee and the Educational Policy Committee, presented updates to the rest of the group. Members of the Yale Corporation also interacted directly with students this weekend, holding meetings with both the Yale College Council Executive Board and the recently graduated Woodbridge Hall fellows.

YCC President John Gonzalez ’14 said he brought up what the YCC considers three major issues on campus — alcohol policy, the proposed changes to the grading system, and changes to the academic calendar that took place this year.

“I trust a lot of these corporation members, but they’re not undergraduate students and they don’t know the nitty-gritty of what it’s like to be a student,” he said. “I think that’s an integral part of those decisions they make.”

The YCC members recommended the University take a clearer stance on its alcohol policy, establishing alcohol consumption as a safety issue instead of a disciplinary issue — which is not made as clear as it should be to students, Gonzalez said.

In addition, the YCC officers made recommendations about the grading policy and academic calendar changes that reflect the feedback it has gathered from students.

“It seemed like by the end of it we were all very much on the same page,” Gonzalez added.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee, chaired by Bass, approved funding for new turbines in the Yale Power Plant, which Levin said the group had planned to do before the power outage last week. They also approved continued budget spending on renovating the Sterling Memorial Library nave, to restore the stone from water damage so it more closely resembles the Starr Reading Room. Levin said the construction should transform the use of the nave to allow for more activity in the cavernous area.

“[The restoration] creates a social space,” Levin said. “It should enliven that space so it will be bright and beautiful.”

The University certainly dressed the nave up on Friday night for a dinner the Yale Corporation members held for Levin in honor of his retirement as president. Over 100 past Yale Corporation members, alumni and faculty attended the event, for which the University filled the area with round tables featuring centerpieces of models of University architecture.

Bass also presented Levin with a professorship to be named after him in a department or field of his choosing. Levin said Sunday evening he has yet to decide upon the field.

The next Yale Corporation meeting will take place in May around the time of Commencement.

Correction: April 8 

A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that the Yale Corporation endowed a department chairmanship in University President Richard Levin’s honor. In fact, the Corporation endowed a professorship in his honor. The article also misspelled the word nave multiple times. 

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