Yale President Richard Levin’s office has canceled the DeVane Lecture Series in a last-minute move after the University found itself unable to schedule a speaker this year.
Levin said this is not the first time in his tenure as president that the program is not taking place.
“We didn’t line up someone to give them this year,” he said. “They are hard to line up unless you do it a year or two in advance.”
The course continues to be advertised on Yale’s Web site, though it is no longer listed in the Online Course Information section. Levin said the University hopes to resume the DeVane lectures next year.
Although the lectures are open to undergraduates, they are organized and financed by the President’s Office, not the Yale College Dean’s Office, Deputy Dean Joseph Gordon said.
Unlike most other courses offered at Yale, the DeVane Lecture is open to the general public as well as to Yale students, said Yale professor Stephen Carter, a lecturer in the 2001 Tercentennial series. But he said only Yale students are permitted to attend the discussion sections, and the lecture series counts as a full Yale credit.
Carter said other courses exist that are open to the general public, including classes taught in the Law School.
Some students said they had not heard of the DeVane Lecture Series and did not think the cancellation would affect them, but other students aware of the cancellation reacted with disappointment to the withdrawal of the course this semester.
Josh Egan ’08 said he has never come across the course, while Ted Fertik ’07 said he knew of the class but he had not heard that it would not be offered this year.
Allegra Leitner ’06, who took the DeVane Lecture in her freshman year, said she was pleased with her choice to enroll in the class.
“I really enjoyed it when I took it, [and] I thought it was nice to have it open to the wider community, who had a chance to enjoy the professors and the courses that Yale has to offer,” she said. “It’s too bad that it’s being canceled.”
Emma Gardner ’06, who has not taken the course, said she thinks it is good to open some courses to non-Yale students.
“I don’t think it would be a bad thing to open things to the New Haven community to add some diversity to some classes,” she said.
The DeVane lectures were established in honor of William Clyde DeVane, who served as dean of Yale College from 1939 to 1963. The series has traditionally covered a different topic each year, ranging from democracy to Yale’s role in the 20th century.