To the Editor:
The article (“Data show faculty is slow to diversify,” 3/1) mentioned that Yale has trouble finding qualified minority candidates for faculty jobs. I think it’s important to note that Yale contributes to its own trouble by admitting pathetically few minority graduate students.
Of the 800 people who entered Yale’s graduate school last year, I believe only eight were African-American. Of everybody who graduated from Yale’s graduate school last year, only one was African-American. The statistics for Latinos, Native-Americans and other minority groups are equally dire, I suspect, but I don’t even know those statistics. Hardly anyone does: That’s one of the problems.
After a lot of GESO pressure, last summer Yale finally hired a dean for graduate school diversity and equal opportunity. Dean Liza Cariaga-Lo is beginning to collect statistics and work on minority recruitment, but this is only a small first step.
Yale has undermined even that first step by recently reducing the size of many of its humanities graduate programs. My own program, American Studies, was permitted to admit 15 students five years ago, eight students three years ago and only five students this year.
African-American Studies, African Studies, History and other departments are facing similarly drastic cuts. Selecting such tiny entering classes makes it harder for admissions committees even to think about diversity.
This means undergraduates face not only a TA crisis, but also very few minority TAs. If Yale is sincere about wanting to increase faculty diversity, Yale ought to increase the diversity of graduate students who are, after all, future faculty. GESO has been calling for this for years.
Elaine Lewinnek GRD ’05
March 1, 2001