At 4:12 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Yale College students received an e-mail.

“Come and listen to the rationale for the possible colleges and their proposed size and location,” it read. “Discuss their potential impact on student and academic life, and discuss your ideas about what the colleges might be like if constructed.”

“Possible.” “Proposed.” “Potential.” “Ideas.”


Although the University has already budgeted for two new residential colleges, as reported in today’s News, administrators are trying to convey that the proposal is just that: a proposal. And in the e-mail, College Deputy Dean Joseph Gordon and psychiatry professor William Sledge stress that the expansion is not a “foregone conclusion.”

Whether the forthcoming forums are genuine opportunities for input or empty gestures, therefore, is the big question on the student body’s collective mind today.

Clues so far indicate overwhelmingly that the proposal is all but set in stone. Does Yale really need the student go-ahead to lay down the brick and mortar? We hope so — and for now, we’ll take the University at its word.

Regardless, we are pleased that students are part of the dialogue on the matter at all: it’s a credit to Yale President Richard Levin that he prioritized our input even though chances are we won’t be around to see the vision realized.

Now what?

As today’s e-mail subject line put it, forums will be held for students to ‘explore’ the expansion details before a final decision is made.

So: Explore, we will. With an open mind.

This morning marks the News’ launch of an in-depth inquiry into Yale’s drive to develop: “Fourteen Colleges.” To our readers, we feel responsible for tackling the largest potential change to Yale College life, academics and geography in about half a century.

In this pursuit, we want your input. And given the era of the two-way newsroom into which journalism is heading, we think our asking makes sense.

If you have story tips or ideas, send them on: If you are contacted to participate in a poll, spend the 30 seconds to do so. If you feel passionate about something you hear at one of the upcoming forums, send a brief letter to the editor.

We, meanwhile, will try our best to hold up our end of the bargain: Tackling multiple angles, as free of prejudice as possible, in order to present as full a picture as possible of what Yale might look like ten years from now.

If all the key players — members of the Yale Corporation, Levin, Peter Salovey, Bruce Alexander, Gordon, Sledge, large donors and students, to name a few — similarly keep an open mind, Yale will make the right decision in the end.

Until then, we withhold judgment. After all, as Anais Nin, a French-American author, put it: “Truth is something which can’t be told in a few words.”

We’ll try not to be wordy. But in this case, we could not agree more.