To the Editor:

I am stunned. Did your reporter go to the same meeting with President Richard Levin last night that I did (“In forum, Levin answers,” 4/4)? It sure doesn’t seem like it.

Another special student and I asked Levin some of the most pointed questions regarding financial aid and perhaps an even hotter topic: age discrimination, which you do not mention.

We asked Levin what we could do to help bring our financial aid up to par with all other undergraduates, since we are not eligible for the same grants from Yale as our younger peers. When he responded that we could try to raise the money ourselves, some of the audience laughed out loud; others hissed.

We asked Levin how he could justify such patent age discrimination after affirming the University’s commitment to “undergraduate education.” We reminded him we are undergraduates — the only difference being that we are allowed to attend less than full-time.

He told us our part-time status justified not funding 40 students a year in the same way as the other 1,300. Levin also mentioned that it was “nice to have special students at Yale.”

Okay fellow undergraduates, let’s say you can’t get the same financial aid as your male WASP counterparts, but the president says it’s “nice” to have all you African-Americans, women, disabled, Jews, Muslims, Asians, Hispanics, foreigners, etc. here. What? Would you feel marginalized and condescended to? Who would have guessed?

Levin said Yale has to pick and choose what it can fund. I hope the University will look at how small a portion of the total financial aid budget special students represent and look at the ethical cost of continuing its unfair treatment toward older students.

Mark S. Herz ’01

April 4, 2001