On April 7, the New York Times published an opinion piece making the point that limited places at elite colleges suggest the need for new models to accommodate the demand for places by highly qualified applicants (“Why Stanford Should Clone Itself”). Note Yale’s limiting 4.6 percent acceptance rate this year. I would offer a few related suggestions for Yale University to consider. I write as an alumni interviewer and active class volunteer at Yale.
U.S. university establishments in Asia and the Middle East offer many models for off-campus engagement — recognizing that main campus infrastructure is not replicable. Of course, recent experience with COVID-19 and Zoom also suggest new models.
Other propositions might include curricular specialization — Yale International in Miami, Yale Arts in Los Angeles and Yale Humanities in Chicago. Or less infrastructure dependent, Yale might also investigate joint honors programs with community colleges across the country? Or the possibility for franchising charter high schools in hard-pressed neighborhoods across the country? Of course, each of these ideas may compete with annual Alumni Fund efforts for main campus activity. But with $35 billion plus in its endowment, it is appropriate to ask where annual alumni contributions are best allocated?
Finally, to be effective, ideas like those outlined above should be accompanied by decreases, or elimination, of special consideration for legacy, sports and potential donor families.
OWEN CYLKE (‘60, Yale Law ‘63) is the former President of the Association of Big Eight Universities.