Just under a week after a white graduate student called the police on a black graduate student for sleeping in a Hall of Graduate Studies common room, University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews sent a campus-wide email Monday evening announcing a number of initiatives designed to help make Yale more inclusive.
In the email, Goff-Crews explained that the four officers who questioned the black student for 15 minutes took longer than usual to identify the student as a result of the new preferred name policy, which allows students to choose a preferred first name for certain University systems. The University will resolve the issue within the directory, and Yale Police dispatchers will be trained to quickly identify students using their preferred or legal names, she wrote, adding that officers will also receive additional training for this purpose.
“Together with other university leaders, I have been meeting with groups of students to hear you relate your experiences and ideas for action,” Goff-Crews wrote. “I am compiling the various suggestions you are offering. I will review these with colleagues over the summer, and look forward to announcing next steps.”
In addition, Goff-Crews wrote that, at an upcoming retreat, the Advisory Committee on Student Life will discuss next steps in equity and inclusion programming. She added that she is receiving advice from faculty members and administrators about student diversity and inclusion programming, and will continue to meet with the Dean’s Designees — the point-people for discrimination and harassment concerns — to determine how to make them more visible to students.
She also reaffirmed that Yale will not discuss any disciplinary consequences for Sarah Braasch GRD ’20 — the white student who reported the black graduate student to police — as per federal law and the University’s “commitment to student confidentiality.” Goff-Crews did not name Braasch in her email.
Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Lynn Cooley also sent an email to graduate students on Monday highlighting similar concerns and proposals.
“I have received hundreds of emails from people both on and off campus expressing deep concerns about last week’s incident,” she wrote. “As painful and difficult as it was, the attention to the events at HGS gives us an opportunity to examine our processes and policies.”
Cooley wrote that the graduate school will introduce five changes meant to heighten awareness of bias and racism in the Yale community: implicit-bias awareness training for all GSAS staff before the 2018 fall semester; a training session for all incoming graduate students on implicit-bias awareness; workshops that will train Ph.D. students to maintain an inclusive classroom; community-building sessions in graduate student dorms managed by GSAS deans and staff; and a new email address meant to streamline communication with the President’s Committee on Racial and Ethnic Harassment.
On Wednesday, the Graduate Student Assembly will host a special meeting of its general assembly to draft a message of its own on diversity, inclusion and equality.
The next two University-sponsored listening sessions focused on the HGS incident will take place next Thursday and Friday in the Loria Center and the Yale Child Study Center, respectively.
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