Yale President Richard Levin said Monday that he plans to resurrect the Minority Advisory Committee, a standing committee disbanded in 1995 which aimed to address concerns about minority issues.
Yale College Council President Elliott Mogul ’05 said Levin has been working with the YCC to bring back the committee, which will consist of faculty, administrators, graduate and professional students, and undergraduates. Levin said the group will provide a forum for discussion and advise him on policy decisions.
Levin said he decided to bring back the committee, which was originally set up in the 1970s, after tensions on campus grew last spring during the Iraq War.
“When issues arose last spring, a number of students came and asked me to revive the committee,” Levin said. “It’s there to provide a vehicle for students and faculty to deal with any concerns.”
The committee will not address individual grievances, Levin said. He said the committee will focus instead on the discussion of issues pertaining to all minorities at Yale.
“This committee was made to look at broader issues, not to deal with individual complaints,” Levin said.
The group will not make University policies, Levin said, but rather will serve as an advisory committee to Levin if he decides to make new policies regarding minorities.
Last semester, before Levin had spoken to him about recreating the committee, Mogul said the YCC asked Levin to take a “stronger role” against racism on campus. Mogul said the YCC made the request in response to controversy over freedom of expression at Yale during the Iraq War.
“A lot of the events last semester were not just ideological but had a distinct racial or ethnic element,” Mogul said. “We wanted there to be more discussion on campus.”
YCC Vice President Nirupam Sinha ’05 said the committee will address concerns of the Yale community but that the discussion cannot end there.
“I think it’s the first step,” Sinha said. “I don’t think this is going to be something that solves all the problems.”
Sinha said the committee’s future remains unclear. He said the longevity of the committee will depend on Levin.
Mogul said he hopes the committee will remain in place for some time.
“It’s my opinion that it should be around for at least a couple of years because I don’t think that the goals of this committee can be met in one year,” Mogul said.
Mogul said YCC representative Emily Scharfman ’05 will work with members of the committee. Scharfman said in an e-mail that she is a “steering” member of a program that will provide anti-racism training.
Scharfman declined to comment further.
Mogul said three undergraduates will sit on the committee. The YCC will select at least two of these students, he said. Undergraduate applications, Mogul said, should be available at www.yalestation.org later this week.
The YCC anticipates a sizeable number of applications, Mogul said.
“I think that a lot of students will have interest in what happened last semester and in attacking this issue,” Mogul said.