Eric Wang, Senior Photographer

The Presidential Search Committee’s Student Advisory Council announced the launch of an anonymous form on Wednesday morning to inform the report that it will submit to the Yale Corporation’s Presidential Search Committee.

The SAC, composed of four undergraduate students, four graduate students and four professional school students, collaborated to generate the questions on the form, which is meant to gauge student input on the qualities and attributes they would like to see in Yale’s next president. The Council also plans on hosting listening sessions in the following weeks to further inform the information it will hand over to the Yale Corporation.

The SAC will host listening sessions in the coming weeks to not only boost engagement but also to hear from students directly,” Yale College Council president Julian Suh-Toma ’25 wrote to the News. “Creating channels for informal conversation and feedback is a valuable way to hear sentiments and opinions that the form may not be able to capture.” 

Members of the SAC met on Monday Oct. 30 to optimize the form and go over its questions.

The form asks students questions ranging from which personal qualities Yale’s next president should have to what challenges the school might face in the next decade.

“With these kinds of surveys, I always worry about whether enough people will respond,” Graduate & Professional Student Senate president Chrishan Fernando GRD ’25 told the News. “I think we have to work really hard to make sure that we are reaching all students and that as many people respond as possible.” 

Graduate Student Assembly chair Christopher Lindsay GRD ’26 explained that the members tried to make the survey as short as possible while also covering a broad range of topics.

According to Lindsay, the form consists of approximately 25 questions and takes only 5-10 minutes to complete.

“I think it’s also important that over the course of everyone filling out the survey in the next two weeks, if we see big areas of Yale that are not represented, like if no one from the Law School fills out the survey, we have to think about a way of getting to those people and getting their perspective into the overall group,” Lindsay said.

At a conference hosted by the Yale Alumni Nonprofit Alliance on Oct. 27, Yale Corporation trustee Marta Tellado GRD ’02 told the audience members during a plenary lunch that the responses from the anonymous form, which senior trustee of the Yale Corporation Joshua Bekenstein ’80 unveiled to the Yale community in an Aug. 31 email, would be shared with Yale’s next president.

Suh-Toma wrote to the News that the results of the SAC form will also be shared with Salovey’s successor.

The form is retrieving important data for the Presidential Search Committee that will be helpful in reviewing candidacy, but it also will serve as a handbook for the future Yale President, whomever they may be, to better understand the needs and desires of the student body,” Suh-Toma wrote.

Benjamin Schafer GRD ’27, the secretary of the SAC, told the News that the survey and its results have three primary audiences. Its first audience is the SAC itself, he explained, noting that the data from the form will help them better represent Yale’s students. 

The second audience is the trustees, who will be able to take a look at the data to understand students’ wants and needs, Schafer added. Lastly, he said, the survey will help the next president of Yale understand the student body in a better way.

“What we are doing is really unprecedented,” Schafer told the News. “We all believe in the importance of this historic opportunity. There have been very few times in the history of Yale that everybody across the different schools has been so united around a single project.”

The creation of the SAC was announced in an email to the University on Oct. 2.

Correction, Dec. 3: A previous version of this article included the wrong date for when members of the SAC held a meeting. 

Correction, Dec. 3: A previous version of this article failed to note that Schafer is the SAC secretary. 

Benjamin Hernandez covers Woodbridge Hall, the President's Office. He previously reported on international affairs at Yale. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he is a sophomore in Trumbull College majoring in Global Affairs.
Esma Okutan is the graduate schools reporter for the News. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, she is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards studying economics.