Despite hopes that last weekend’s Yale Corporation meeting would produce blockbuster announcements — particularly with regard to financial aid — the agenda was more routine.
Though financial aid changes were not in the cards for the University’s highest policy-making body last weekend, Yale President Richard Levin said at a press briefing yesterday that trustees approved a term bill increase of 3.5 percent, reviewed recent budget initiatives, discussed the expansion of the Yale University Art Gallery and voted to release information on the University’s investment policies.
While many students and faculty were hopeful the Corporation would decide to match Princeton University’s new financial aid policy, which eliminates the entire student contribution to their aid package, Levin said the Corporation decided to hold off on making significant changes to Yale’s policy until next year. He cited both timing and philosophical reasons for waiting.
“We need to think about whether we want to follow Princeton,” Levin said. “By abandoning the loan component you are reducing the significant notion that students should co-invest in their education.”
The Corporation reviewed the budget initiatives that the University has taken this year, including the reduction of the size of Yale College to 5,150 undergraduates for the 2001-02 academic year. By taking in 50 fewer students than usual, Yale will lose a significant amount of tuition money.
The Corporation voted to increase the term bill — the cost of room and board — by 3.5 percent, bringing tuition to $34,030.
Other budget matters that were discussed include the increase in graduate student aid. This year Yale increased the minimum stipend for graduate students in the humanities and social sciences from $11,500 to $13,700 and included one summer of funding. The Corporation also approved an increase in faculty salaries that Levin described as “larger than the historic average.”
The building and grounds committee of the Corporation unravelled plans for the expansion of the Yale University Art Gallery, the biggest project in the $250 million Arts Area Plan. Levin said architect James Polshek’s plans to redesign Street Hall, the old art gallery, and the main gallery building will allow direct walk-through between all three buildings.
University Secretary Linda Lorimer said the Corporation voted to release information on the University’s responsible investment policies. As part of the approved proposal put forth by School of Management professor William Goetzmann and the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, an annual statement on Yale’s endowment investment policies will be made public and will soon posted on the University’s Web site. The disclosure will offer some transparency on the workings of the committee, which advises the Corporation on the University’s investment policy, especially as it relates to investing in so-called “socially responsible” corporations.
The educational policy committee presented plans to reform the Medical School curriculum. Levin said the committee will implement “better ways to integrate the mass quantities of information” that medical students need to learn and will introduce more clinical observation starting in the first year of study.
The Corporation also discussed the Medical School’s finances. Last year the University unveiled a $500 million investment in the Medical School, and Levin said while many of its peers are “bleeding red ink,” Yale Medical School’s finances are in “excellent” condition. The Medical School balances its own budget independently of the University.
Three of Yale’s leading scientists, physics department chair Charles Baltay, molecular biology and biochemistry chair Thomas Steitz and newly recruited ecology and evolutionary biology professor Mike Donahue delivered educational presentations to the trustees about their research. Steitz and Baltay recently published a paper on their revolutionary study of the structure of the ribosome, and Levin said their presentations showed why there is “good reason for investing $500 million in science.”
Trustees listened to presentations from University Chaplain Frederick Streets and Athletics Director Tom Beckett, and Levin said they discussed the “wide range of activities” students are participating in, religiously and athletically. Beckett talked about facility improvements, including the softball field, and the increased student involvement in intramural and club sports.