Dear President Salovey,
The undersigned Yale College alumni started together as Morse College first years in the class of 1972 and went on to careers, which continue, in law, medicine and business, respectively.
We write to you now with respect to the lawsuit recently brought by Dr. Bandy Lee against Yale. We have read the articles that appeared in the New York Times and the Yale Daily News, the published letter by Dr. Leonard Glass and others to Dr. John Krystal, the opinion piece by Dr. Glass and others in the Boston Globe, the opinion piece by Dr. Jacob Appel in the Baltimore Sun, various statements by Dr. Lee and the text of her legal complaint. While, to our knowledge, Yale has not yet responded in the litigation, we wish to share the following observations based on what we have read so far and our business, professional and personal experience.
Dr. Bandy Lee represents the best of Yale. She is a distinguished graduate of the Yale School of Medicine and the Divinity School and is respected inside and outside the academy. Her raising of the alarm about the last president took courage for an untenured adjunct. And her insights turned out to be prescient. The former president is linked to unnecessary deaths from a public health emergency, as well as an insurrection.
To us, the decision by the Yale medical school to sunset Dr. Lee’s faculty appointment is not Yale at its best. The University’s position seems to be that psychiatrists, who are specialists in mental illness, emotional disturbance and abnormal behavior, may not publicly share their insights on the powerful, while others who don’t have this professional training, be they natural scientists, social scientists, mathematicians, experts in comparative literature or team coaches, are at liberty to do so. This is an absurdity, and we agree with Dr. Glass that ending Dr. Lee’s appointment in this way is an embarrassment to Yale.
From her complaint, it appears that Dr. Lee has continuously been a faculty member since 2003, with her appointment having been renewed every three years. Certainly, the University has had many opportunities to take the measure of her. Given that history, written communications by Dr. Krystal, quoted in Dr. Lee’s complaint, are extremely troubling. Dr. Krystal wrote that he considered Dr. Lee’s public statements to be “self-serving” in relation to her “personal aspirations.” He further wrote that, in relation to Dr. Lee, he now had to ask:
“Is this the sort of person that I can trust to teach medical students, residents, and forensic psychiatry fellows?” [emphasis added]
In our experience, attacking the good faith of someone with whom one disagrees and categorizing them as not one’s sort of person signal not a beginning but rather an end to the deliberative process.
One result of Dr. Lee’s lawsuit may be a less than ideal use of Yale’s resources for legal and settlement costs. We urge the University to make public any settlement agreement with Dr. Lee. More generally, in our experience, we understand how difficult it can be for organizations and institutions to course correct, but that is the test of leadership. We support efforts to correct this situation.
We are concurrently sending this letter to the Yale Daily News.
Morse College class of 1973
Daniel Einhorn, M.D.
Morse College class of 1972
Morse College class of 1972
Several days ago you published the information regarding the cost of attending Yale for the coming academic year.
As one who was a first year (I get it about using the word “freshman”) in 1956 and graduated in 1960, as a full scholarship student, I would like to put this information into some historical perspective.
To reiterate what you told us, the 2021-22 tuition will be $59,950; the tuition and board of $17,800, for a total of $77,750, will be about 4 percent over the current year.
In 1956, the total cost was $1,800. I believe the tuition was $1,400, with the remaining $400 for room and board.
In other words, the total cost has gone up a little more than 43 times in 65 years.
To put that into perspective, the general inflation in the country has been about nine times.
So, the sad truth is that in inflation adjusted terms, next year’s room and board will exceed the total cost of attending Yale 65 years ago. Yes, more than the total cost.
Meanwhile, as a scholarship student, I was required to work 10 hours per week during the academic year, about 30 weeks. This meant that my “work effort“ offset one-sixth of my total scholarship.
I know that the “work effort” phenomenon still exists and is now controversial. Frankly, I still support it.
But here is the bad news: Now to make one-sixth of the cost of attending Yale by your “work effort,” Yale would have to pay you more than $43 per hour, which on an annual basis amounts to much more than a typical graduate can possibly earn in his or her first job.
RICHARD R. WEST (’60) is a graduate of Trumbull College.
Dear Yale Daily News,
Why is Yale increasing the cost of annual tuition, and why has it been doing so for at least the last 55 years?
The answer cannot be that Yale is desperate for money. Yale’s endowment in 2010 was about $17 billion. Inflation would increase that amount to about $20 billion in 2020. Instead, Yale’s endowment is now about $30 billion… Congratulations, but Yale’s endowment does not suggest a poverty-stricken institution.
What about the cost of inflation as a factor?
In 1966, annual tuition at Yale cost $3,000 per undergrad. Taking only inflation into account, the tuition cost today would be $24,353 per student. Instead, the tuition now is $59,950. That is a cost discrepancy of $25,603 per student (a 146 percent increase over expectation based on inflation alone). Note that these are per-student calculations, so the fact that the student body has approximately doubled since 1966 is not relevant.
Yale must be operating very differently now for it to cost in inflation-adjusted dollars 2.46 times more to educate an undergrad in 2021 than in 1966. How is this possible? Yale’s repeating again and again that “costs have gone up” is not a coherent answer.
Back in 1966, there were few scholarship undergraduates. Most students paid full freight. Thus, one significant difference today is that Yale spends $180,000,000 annually on financial aid. Yale reports that this works out to an average of $54,000 in aid payments per student. (Actual payments to individual students depend on actual financial need, some get more of the aid pie than others.) But by dividing the total aid by the number of undergrads, 6,092, it’s clear that well over half of the students must be receiving some amount of aid. But that fact alone provides only a partial answer.
Let’s assume hypothetically that Yale spent nothing on financial aid and that all undergrads paid full freight. The 6,092 undergrads times full tuition equals a hypothetical annual tuition income to Yale of $365,215,400. Subtract from that the actual outflow in aid, that leaves $185,215,400. Subtract from that number the “inflation only” increased cost of education leaves $112,156,400 — $18,410 per student — unaccounted for.
Clearly, there must be some factor or factors in addition to inflation and increased student aid that are motivating Yale to significantly increase tuition costs over time. Put another way, “Why is Yale spending so much more money each year to educate its undergrads?” and “Where is all this money actually going?”
JAMES LUCE (’66) is a graduate of Silliman College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.