October 3rd, 2012 | University

Online petition demands transparency in presidential search

lee_levin-18_experiment
Photo by Earl Lee.

A group of Yalies has launched an online petition addressed to the Yale Corporation that demands greater transparency and student involvement in the ongoing search for the University’s next president.

The petition — which garnered 354 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon — makes three requests:

• That the minutes of each of the Presidential Search Committee meetings be accessible to the public.

• That a student representative be present at each of these meetings.

• That the candidates be announced a minimum of three weeks before the final selection is made in order to allow for meaningful public discourse about the decision.

Alejandro Gutierrez ’13, a member of activist student group Students United Now (SUN) who created the online petition, said he drafted its demands along with 10 other SUN members.

“This was our first direct action on the issue of the presidential search,” he said. “It was our response to the realization that there weren’t going to be any student representatives on the search committee. Since we were told by Student Counselor Brandon Levin ’14 that the process really wasn’t going to change, we knew we needed to protest for greater transparency at the very least.

Gutierrez added that the Yale Corporation has not yet acknowledged the petition, though he said he knows the members know about the petition because “every time someone signs their name online, an email is sent to Senior Fellow Edward Bass ’67 ARC ’72.”

When contacted by the News, Chief Communications Officer Elizabeth Stauderman ’83, LAW ’04 referred to the Presidential Search Committee’s online statement regarding its confidentiality policies, which explains that the deliberations of the committee and the Yale Corporation are “necessarily confidential.”

Emma Fallone ’16, who signed the petition this week, said she wants to be aware of how the University’s next president will be chosen.

“Yale is going to be my home for the next four years, and the administration needs to value its students enough to keep them fully informed about a process that will heavily influence our time here,” she said. “The way the process stands, I foresee waking up one day, opening my email, and finding out the name of the next president totally out of the blue.”

The petition was launched on activist website Change.org and is still seeking at least 600 more signatures.

Correction: October 3, 2012

Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article incorrectly attributed the statement from the Presidential Search Committee to Chief Communications Officer Elizabeth Stauderman ’83, LAW ’04. In fact, Stauderman directed the News to the online statement but did not make those statements herself.