Months after Yale commissioned a report on how to best respond to instances of discrimination and harassment, the University renamed two offices and appointed University Secretary Kimberly Goff-Crews ’83 LAW ’86 to a new role: vice president of university life.
The University announced the change to Goff-Crews’ title in a University-wide email sent on Monday afternoon. Three days prior, Goff-Crews sent an email to the student body relaying changes to the University’s processes of reporting, addressing and preventing harassment and discrimination on campus.
In the Friday email, she announced the renaming of the two offices: the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs to the Office of Institutional Equity and Access, and the Resource Office on Disabilities to Student Accessibility Services. These changes were recommended by a report conducted by Vice President of the Office for Institutional Equity at Duke University Benjamin Reese last year. In that report, Reese encouraged the creation of a centralized leadership position to oversee the Belonging at Yale initiative — a role that Goff-Crews has been chosen to fill.
“I will lead campus-wide initiatives that support an intellectual community where each of us — students, faculty, staff, and alumni — can contribute and grow,” Goff-Crews wrote in an email to the News. “Our goal is for every member of our university community to feel not only accepted, but a true sense of belonging.”
According to the press release, Goff-Crews will work closely with other University administrators to formally lead the University’s “Belonging at Yale” initiative — Yale’s effort to increase diversity and make the campus more inclusive.
According to the press release, Yale administrators will also add a new position to their roster: associate vice president for diversity, equity and belonging. While the role has yet to be filled, whoever takes the position will oversee Yale’s OIEA. This administrator will also work to address “incidents of discrimination and harassment,” the press release said.
“In her expanded role, Kim will lead all campus-wide initiatives that enhance and sustain an intellectual community in which each of us can contribute, grow, and feel a sense of belonging,” wrote University President Peter Salovey in Monday’s press release. “Reporting to me, she will work directly with the deans and other university leaders to ensure that our efforts are strategic and unified.”
As Goff-Crews expands her responsibilities, her duties involving the Yale Board of Trustees and University Council will pass on to Deputy Secretary and Senior Director of Corporation Affairs Martha Schall, whose new title will be associate vice president for institutional affairs.
“I am pleased to expand my current support of the work of the board of trustees and the University Council in this new role,” Schall told the News in an email. “I also look forward to reporting to the senior vice president for institutional affairs and general counsel, Alex Dreier, and working more closely with that part of the university’s administration.”
According to the press release, Goff-Crews will work closely with the President’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and several administrators to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion. According to executive director of the Yale Alumni Association Weili Cheng — with whom Goff-Crews will be working — the YAA has an interest in student affairs because students’ on-campus experiences influence their future in alumni affairs. She added that Yale alumni want students to feel supported and that since Goff-Crews is an alumna, her interest in DEI is both “institutional and personal.”
“I look forward to continuing to work with Kim and others,” Cheng wrote in an email to the News. “Yale is right to focus on DEI, not just because of the increase in [the] diversity of the student and alumni populations, but also because diversity in backgrounds and viewpoints makes Yale stronger.”
According to Goff-Crews’ Friday email, other measures taken in response to Reese’s review include strengthening of Yale’s OIEA.
The University commissioned Reese to write the report following racially charged incidents on campus over the last few years. As one example, the report cites debate over the renaming of Calhoun College, which led to months of tension in 2016. The report also tackles a May 2018 incident, in which a white graduate student reported a black graduate student to the Yale Police Department for sleeping in the common room adjacent to the white student’s dorm.
Following that incident, which drew a nationwide spotlight, the University solicited feedback from students, faculty and staff about Yale’s campus climate. In August 2018, Salovey wrote to the Yale community that the University would be reviewing its policies in order to better react to incidents of discrimination.
In Goff-Crews’ Friday email, she noted that students who experience discrimination or harassment should contact either OIEA or Dean’s Designees — administrators who receive student concerns and offer advice and guidance. She added that the resources for reporting sexual misconduct remain unchanged.
Before returning to Yale as an administrator, Goff-Crews worked as the dean of students at both the University of Chicago and Wellesley College.
Valerie Pavilonis | firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction, Nov. 12: A previous version of this article said that a white student reported a black student for sleeping in the lobby of HGS. In fact, the student was sleeping in her common room. The article has been updated to reflect this.
Correction, Nov. 15: The article has been updated to correctly name Deputy Secretary and Senior Director of Corporation Affairs Martha Schall, who was referred to as Mary Schall in a previous version.