An accomplished group of much more than merely dignified rich people will bring Woodbridge Hall to life today as the Yale Corporation convenes on campus. But do not expect their meeting to usher Yale into a world of 14 colleges.
That will not happen until later this year, perhaps at the June meeting of the University’s highest governing body.
A formal vote to approve the new colleges is not on the agenda for this weekend’s meeting, according to a Yale official familiar with the matter. The official asked not to be named because the Corporation’s agenda is never disclosed in advance of a meeting.
The delay does not come as a surprise, and the residential-college expansion still appears virtually a done deal. In fact, Yale administrators were surprised earlier this semester when Corporation members indicated they hoped to officially approve the colleges as early as this month, rather than later this year, as had been first anticipated.
When University President Richard Levin publicly declared his support for the new colleges in February, he said he would seek final approval for the project from the Corporation at its June meeting. It was only after the Corporation’s February meeting that aCorporation Senior Fellow Roland Betts ’68 disclosed that the vote could come as early as this week’s meeting.
At their last session in February, Corporation members agreed to proceed with planning for the two new colleges. Administrators in the Provost’s Office were directed to prepare a preliminary capital and operating budget for the two new colleges, and the Office of Development was charged with devising a strategy to solicit gifts to pay for them.
Administrators have been tight-lipped about their findings, but officials indicated more information would be available after the Corporation meeting, which, as per tradition, is shrouded in secrecy. Betts could not be reached for comment this week, and Levin did not respond to an inquiry about whether the colleges would come up for a vote this weekend.
The proposed expansion would allow the University to increase its undergraduate enrollment by more than 10 percent. The two new colleges, to be located behind the Grove Street Cemetery along Prospect Street and scheduled to open in the fall of 2013, have been estimated to carry a construction cost of some $600 million.
Yale administrators are expected to present the Corporation with a more concrete cost estimate either at this meeting or later this year. The Corporation then will have the final say on whether to proceed with the project, although it would be a shocking turn of events if it did not vote to expand.
The 19-member governing body — which includes Levin, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Lt. Gov Michael Fedele — is unfamiliar to most students, and its records are sealed for a half-century. Its members include a famous artist, a magazine columnist, the chief justice of a state supreme court and the former president of a leading U.S. university.