When the Yale Corporation convenes this weekend, the University’s highest governing body will continue its tradition of private meetings with a confidential agenda. But a newly formed student group would like to see Corporation members attend an open meeting with the Yale Community, and invited them to do so in an e-mail sent to all Yale undergraduates and Corporation members.
Yale officials said Corporation members would not attend the proposed meeting, which was scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. on Beinicke Plaza.
Will Tanzman ’04, who sent the e-mail on behalf of the Student Committee for Corporation Reform, said students will still gather on Beinicke Plaza during the proposed meeting time.
Tanzman called the Corporation “Yale’s most secretive secret society,” and said the Corporation is not publicized as a body that is within reach of undergraduates.
“My vision for a better Yale, for a more transparent, more democratic Yale is that everybody in our community should be participating actively in decision-making,” Tanzman said.
Yale President Richard Levin said the Corporation encourages student input, but that there are other ways for students to voice concerns.
“The Corporation tries to reach out to student groups throughout the year,” Levin said, “But for most University policy issues, the people the students should be talking to should be their deans and the president.”
University Secretary Linda Lorimer, who is responsible for scheduling the weekend’s meetings, said the Corporation already has a meeting scheduled during the time Tanzman suggested.
“Mr. Tanzman had made no overture to me to confirm whether they had meetings [at that time] or not,” Lorimer said.
Senior Corporation fellow John Pepper ’60 responded to Tanzman’s e-mail with a request of his own: if Tanzman has suggestions for improving the Corporation’s operations, he should send them directly to Pepper. Pepper chairs the Corporation’s Trusteeship Committee, which is responsible for Yale’s corporate governance.
Tanzman said he received a couple of student responses to his e-mail.
“They said they would love to meet with the Corporation and wondered if it was actually going to happen,” Tanzman said.
Lorimer said years ago the Corporation adopted a practice of making sure several members touch base each year with elected student leaders. She said trustees hold separate meetings with the leaders of several Yale groups — the Yale College Council, the Graduate Student Assembly, and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate.
“This is a community of 20,000 people,” Lorimer said. “The Corporation [members are] trying to be good stewards to the entire community.”