To the Editor:

Almost 10 years to the day, I chose to depart Yale as a junior, in protest of its financial aid policy considerations at that time — namely, Yale considering ending need-blind admissions, abandoning need-based financial aid, refusing to recruit lower-income students, continuing legacy admissions preferences, and making no effort to publicize the accessibility of Yale to students from lower-income backgrounds. This month’s announcement is a welcome departure from that time.

Indeed, in my tenure there, Yale students revealed an extraordinary lack of understanding of their own relative economic privilege, and did not even know what diversity would truly entail. After organizing several financial aid advocacy groups, I witnessed extraordinary indifference from the Yale administration, but must thank the active coverage of the issue by the Yale Daily News and one of its former reporters, David Leonhardt, now with The New York Times. I hope our contribution had some benefit.

I welcome the University’s recent financial aid changes. I also commend the efforts of student activists whose engagement revitalizes a tradition of student activism on behalf of one of the least represented and least heard from groups at Yale — poor and working-class kids. Yale should be for the best and the brightest, not just the wealthiest and well-connected. Yale’s announcements furthers that most noble of endeavors, and is a good day for its institution and all who want it to live up to its ambition.

Bob Barnes

March 4, 2005