University President Peter Salovey discussed federal tax policies, Yale’s capital campaign and his broad vision for the University at his annual Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate address on Thursday.
Salovey’s address on Thursday was closed to the press. According to attendees, Salovey took a conversational approach, soliciting input from faculty members gathered in Kroon Hall. In a briefing after the event, Chair of the FAS Senate Matthew Jacobson told the News that Salovey reviewed the state of the University in a back-and-forth dialogue. He addressed the audience “as a colleague” rather than “an educator,” Jacobson said.
“It was really gratifying to be able to have an interaction with the faculty where we all discussed issues as fellow faculty members about really important issues that face our University and our country,” Salovey told the News.
In a Q&A session at the end of the event, faculty asked questions about the “relationship between the University’s mission and donors,” Jacobson said.Salovey also shared information about the upcoming capital campaign, though Jacobson declined to comment on the specifics of the discussion.
At the event, faculty expressed concerns about anti-intellectualism, which Jacobson said often shapes outside perceptions of institutes of higher education.
“[The town hall] raised one issue that really stuck in my mind: to think about the place of the University in a broader society and the trust that people have,” Bryan Garsten, political science professor, told the News. “It takes a political environment, town and country and state, that is supportive of the mission.”
According to Jacobson, Salovey proposed implementing meaningful outreach programs to communities throughout Connecticut, in the hopes of making Yale more accessible to the state’s Republican-leaning counties. Jacobson said this outreach would combat the “mischaracterization” of universities as places that are insensitive to the full range of public opinion in the country.
Additionally, the conversation addressed the impact of a tax bill passed by the House just two days ago on the University endowment and graduate student education. The bill seeks to impose taxes on previously tax-exempt private university endowments and drastically increase the taxes graduate students must pay annually.
Jacobson told the News that the University has contingency plans for various different scenarios that may arise if the bill passes, including lobbying and outreach to Yale alumni in the government.
Senior Lector in French Ruth Koizim GRD ’77, who was one of the FAS Senators present at the discussion, said the conversation was “very effective” and emphasized the importance of communication between the faculty and administration.
But she expressed frustration that the dialogue did not address issues about the quality of teaching at the University.
“For most undergraduate students, the fact that they don’t feel connected with the faculty members with whom they’re studying, is a source of great dissatisfaction, and the administration either doesn’t realize this or doesn’t care,” Koizim said.
The FAS Senate was established in 2015.
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