Tag Archive: provost

  1. More Work Than Study?

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    It is 1957, and freshmen are sweating for reasons other than the perpetual nervous energy particular to first year students at Yale. They’re in Commons, and they’re working hard. Busing dishes, washing them and sweeping are all components of their jobs. These students are “self-supported.” This essentially means that they spend their mealtimes cleaning up after their classmates instead of socializing with them. These students work 12 hours a week, and they comprise 30 percent of Yale’s undergraduate population.

    Today, 57 years later, students face similar policies. In 2014, the Provost’s Office created a new work-study policy that echoes many of the marked class difference of Old Yale. Before this, the office paid 50 percent of every student worker’s salary. This year, in order to offset the endowment’s deficit, the office will only give the salary split to students on financial aid — and only for salaries of $15 an hour and below.

    In theory, of course, employers are still free to hire students not on financial aid and at wages of over $15 an hour. But if they do, they will lose at least $7.50 an hour per person. In both cases, many people working on campus do so because they have no other options.

    In turn, these workers have student income contributions to meet. This is the tuition percentage the financial aid office requires them to earn during the school year. Without being able to earn more than $15 an hour, effectively a sort of maximum wage, some students have either had to take on multiple jobs or, for lack of time, take out more loans, in order to meet 100 percent of their own demonstrated need.


    Tyler Blackmon ’16, a staff columnist for the Yale Daily News, is one such worker. When he sits down with me for coffee, he is out of breath from running. He tells me he didn’t want be late, making him arguably the most earnest person I’ve ever had the privilege to interview. He has enormous eyes and an equally enormous capacity for articulating his views. Needless to say, when he found out about this policy late last year, he wrote an article condemning the effects it would have on low-income students.

    Blackmon grew up on a ranch and comes from a low-income family. He has been on work-study since his freshman year. Back then, it was still relatively easy for him to earn all of his required student contribution. But as his Yale career has advanced, this component of his financial aid package has become more of a burden.

    “One thing that is particularly troubling is that whenever you go from being a freshman to a sophomore, the work expectation skyrockets,” he said. “The University promises incoming freshmen these star-studded financial aid packages, and then the next year they hit you with something that’s not so great.”

    This year, his student income contribution has increased again. Blackmon works for the School of Medicine’s web group and was due for a raise to $16 an hour. However, because of the change in work-study policy, he did not receive this raise — his boss, he said, wasn’t keen on spending what would have come to an extra $8.50 an hour. He has had to take out more loans.

    “My schedule is saturated. I didn’t have more time to work. I didn’t have loans freshman year, I had a few sophomore year and this year I’ve taken on a few more,” he explained.

    He went on to say that if he hadn’t been working since freshman year, he would have participated in more extracurricular activities. Taken more classes. Gotten more out of his College Experience.

    Molly Mullen ’17 expressed a similar idea. “The things we do outside of class are so important to Yale students, and everybody wishes they could do more of them. I think it’s limiting for some people to have another six hours of their week or more already taken away because they still need to pay for their tuition. I think it’s a class issue,” she said.

    Mullen works five hours a week in a geology lab, even though her financial aid package this year indicates that she should work 10.

    “My parents are paying more than they’re technically supposed to. They wanted me to join clubs and spend time doing, you know, college things.”


    Laura Kellman ’15, a board member and former staffer at the Women’s Center, shares a different perspective. She’s employed but not on financial aid.

    “If this policy had been implemented last year, I would never have been hired. It’s been a really important part of my Yale experience and community,” she said.

    She’s only able to continue working this year because board decisions were made before the policy came out last semester. Otherwise, she thinks she would have been cut.

    In part because of this, Kellman feels that the policy isn’t just detrimental to low-income work-study students: It hurts the entire community.

    “It’s a bad thing when a certain group of people is working 13 hours a week because they have to, and for another group of people, working doesn’t even cross their mind,” she said.

    This is understandable — Yale students are busy. Those who don’t think about work have other activities on their minds, clubs to run, meetings to attend. But Tobias Holden ’17 agrees with Kellman. He thinks we should all should be considering our job prospects, regardless of financial aid.

    “People will care to learn about ‘high class’ things, like fancy art, for example, but people who already have access to that culture won’t know anything about getting a job. But I think that’s … a really important thing to know,” he said, laughing.

    Kellman also takes issue with these differences in priorities, which, she believes, are rooted in class. She thinks the change in work-study policy will only exacerbate the current situation. And she’s had to put significant thought into class this semester, as she is constituency coordinator at the Women’s Center and therefore plays an important role in hiring.

    “We’re probably the only group on campus in which students do the hiring, so we were in the awkward position of asking other students about their financial aid status,” she says. The group didn’t feel entirely comfortable asking directly — “I come from a background where asking people about this kind of thing is very taboo” — and so they instead searched for applicants’ eligibility for the 50/50 split on the Provost’s Office website.

    Still, to Kellman and her co-workers, this didn’t quite solve the problem. It only posed a new set of questions: Did this technique violate the applicants’ privacy? Should they check an administrative website or ask an awkward question?

    In theory, Kellman isn’t opposed to class conversations, she just thinks the new policy will aggravate the already-marked socio-economic differences between students. In fact, she thinks the University should eliminate work-study.

    “The fact that there is a student income contribution at all really contributes to class differences,” she said.


    In late August of my freshman year, the other members of my class and I sweat in Woolsey Hall. This time it’s not because we are washing dishes or busing plates — it’s because the hall is too small for thirteen hundred people, even when they’re completely sedentary. We sit and sweat and await University President Peter Salovey’s speech — today the president of our (our!) university will tell us something that must be important: why we are here, how we got here, what we are to do with ourselves now that we are.

    From pamphlets and speeches like this one, it’s clear that Yale is proud of all the progress it has made. Fifty-three percent of students admitted last year receive aid, and the administration raised the financial aid budget to a record $120 million. Today, despite these encouraging facts, Salovey addresses the class of 2017 for the first time to talk about class, inequality and the American Dream.

    His narrative is inspirational — granted, it’s not his narrative, but his father’s story. Ronald Salovey was the son of poor, immigrant parents: He grew up in the Bronx, went to Bronx Science, then City College of New York, then Brooklyn College, then (gasp) Harvard, then settled down to marry, raise young Pete in a middle-class neighborhood, and then, finally, voilà, he was the Dream actualized.

    Why does Peter Salovey talk to us about the American Dream? Certainly not to brag about his father’s success. No, it’s “to assure [students] — especially those from families that are not affluent — that that dream is very much alive here at Yale.” Salovey cites the facts: College completion is increasing only for those in the top half of the socio-economic spectrum. He wants to play an important role in changing that statistic.

    At this point, I have fallen asleep. But, in retrospect, I’m certain many of my peers were wide awake and thinking about their American Dream and how Yale would make it possible.

    Some of us, maybe, have been dreaming the Yale dream since we were four and learned how to spell it. Some of us probably applied to Yale on whim.

    Some always knew Yale was a possibility. Some never even thought it conceivable. Twelve percent of us are first-generation college students. Fifty-seven percent of us went to public schools. Fifty percent of us are on financial aid.

    To be eligible for that aid, families must earn less than $200,000. If that salary is the invisible line separating the top and bottom halves of the income distribution range, then Yale truly is, in Salovey’s words, “a great equalizer.” But the median income in the United States is $51,017.

    “Last year’s freshman address was ‘We Should Talk About Class,’” Blackmon says. “If it’s all words and no action, it’s more harm than good.”

  2. The Advocate

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    Marta Moret — a Red Sox fan, historic gardener and Yale’s new first lady — seems to have time for everything. The devoted wife of President-elect Peter Salovey is a president herself: She heads Urban Policy Strategies, a research and policy consulting group consisting of African American and Latina women who conduct community-based research and assist underserved populations. Just yesterday Moret was on the road, evaluating a federally funded project supporting three Native American tribes. In fact, traveling is part of Moret’s daily routine — her projects frequently take her to different corners of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. She also mentors student interns at the Southern Connecticut State University and loves reading literary biographies. In an interview with WEEKEND, Moret discussed her daily routine and her 27-year-long relationship with Salovey.

    Q. You told us you are traveling for work! Can you tell us what the purpose of your trip is?

    A. I am now at the Mashantucket Reservation in Ledyard, Conn. I am the evaluator for a federally-funded project that links all three Native American tribes in the area — Mashantucket, Pequot and Mohegan — to community and tribal resources to create a model of community-based, integrated and collaborative mental health services.

    Q. How did your interest in public health develop, to eventually culminate in your involvement with Urban Policy Strategies?

    A. Well, what a good question. After college, I worked for the Connecticut Union of Telephone Workers where I was the director of research and education. I was working with the University of Wisconsin Labor Studies Center to design, administer and analyze a survey on occupational stress among telephone workers. I fell in love with what I call the art of applied science. I had a unique opportunity to study the effects of repetitive work and address it as a negotiable issue at the collective bargaining table.

    When I graduated from Yale, the HIV/AIDS epidemic was spreading into the heterosexual community and Latino and African American families affected by this virus were of keen interest to me. As a Puerto Rican I was also strongly committed to work on maternal health issues for Latina women, and I became the executive director of the Hispanic Health Council in Hartford where we got the first family-oriented HIV/AIDS prevention grant from the State Department of Public Health. Somewhere along the line, I worked with Lowell Weicker on childhood lead poisoning and when he became Governor, I became his deputy commissioner for the Department of Social Services. In the 90s, I formed Urban Policy Strategies, LLC. It is a dream realized. We are a small group of women of color. My partner is Gretchen Chase Vaughn, an alumna of Yale College. We focus on nonprofits serving underserved, low-income children and families of color. And, we are committed to using the rigors of social science and epidemiology to demonstrate that public health interventions run by community groups can work.

    Q. What does Mrs. Marta Moret’s typical day look like?

    A. I get up by 6:30 a.m. and Portia (the dog) and I meet our dog friends at Edgerton Park, have breakfast with Peter and sit down by 8:30 a.m. to do email and get my work going. I work a lot with student interns from the public health school at Southern Connecticut State University where we talk about community-based participative research — a concept that bridges academic and community needs in public health. And, depending on the project, I am off to a different part of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York or some other place. Most evenings, when Peter gets home, I am entering data or writing reports or writing grant proposals.

    Q. What do you and President-elect Salovey enjoy doing in your free time?

    A. Because our days are so full — including weekends — when we have down time, we love reading and taking walks. In the summer, the Red Sox games are a must.

    Q. In what ways do you expect to support President-elect Salovey in his new role?

    A. As you know, I met Peter at Yale and I share his love and commitment to the University. It is our home and nothing pleases us more than being in this position. I very much look forward to being by his side as often as I can.

    Q. What were you doing when you first heard of President-elect Salovey’s appointment to the Yale presidency? What was your initial reaction?

    A. I was at home in my office working on some research issues. When Peter came upstairs and told me the news, I was wildly delighted. You know, even after 27 years of marriage, I am still awed by how amazing Peter is.

    Q. How did you and President-elect Salovey celebrate his appointment to the Yale presidency?

    A. We went for a long, long walk trying to take it all in and dreaming about the wonderful years ahead of us.

    Q. How do you think your life might change now that you and President-elect Salovey are Yale’s new first couple?

    A. We have always been a couple very actively involved in all aspects of Yale. I am just going to enjoy more of it.

    Q. If you had to describe President-elect Salovey in one word, what would it be and why?

    A. Mensch. He is one of the most intelligent men I know. But that intelligence is combined with a generosity of spirit I have seen in few people.

    Q. To what extent do your private and professional lives intersect?

    A. Almost all the time. Yale is our home. We have a number of friends we see both professionally and personally. We relax by going to student functions — sports, music, theater, you name it. We enjoy walking around Yale on those nights we have time, saying hello to students, faculty and staff.

    Q. What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?

    A. Don’t ask me why, but I have taken to reading several books at the same time. I love literary biographies so I am finishing Margot Peters biography of May Sarton. I enjoyed it, but then nothing is more interesting to me than the complex human process by which art is created. I also love reading about strong women, and Sotomayor’s “My Beloved World” is wonderful. I am a Bronx-born Puerto Rican and I get to step back into my life through her memories. Finally, for me there is something ingenious about short stories. The notion of encapsulating into a few pages all that is evocative of the novel is pure joy to me. Ron Rash’s “Burning Bright” are short stories set in Appalachia. Peter and I took a memorable trip into Appalachia a couple of summers ago and it left me wanting to know more.

    Q. Could you tell us a little more about your interest in historic gardening? How did that interest develop?

    A. Ah yes. Well, I have always been a gardener. It is my way of relaxing. But, if you remember, I am also a researcher. When I got my master gardener certificate from the University of Connecticut, I got interested in maintaining the historical significance of Connecticut gardens so I started working on a wonderful colonial garden in Haddam — the Thankful Arnold House. I don’t do a lot of collecting of heirloom seeds, but keeping gardens anchored in their heritage and with native plants is what I like to do.

    Q. How did you start working with minority populations in Connecticut?

    A. My interest began long ago. When I was 13 I went to the mountains of Puerto Rico, where much of my family comes from. I was amazed to see children who did not have basic prevention-oriented health care. There was a beautiful little girl with chronic ear infections, but there were few medical resources to address it. Of course, things have changed since those early days of the 60s, but back then I vowed someday I would give back to the people who made me what I am. I’ve never looked back.

    Q. What is your favorite thing about Yale?

    A. Yale produces amazing leaders. Our students jump at the chance to take in all that Yale has to offer. And, then they become artists, writers, politicans, lawyers, athletes; captains of industry and entrepreneurs; community leaders in health, community development. You name it, there are Yalies who are at the forefront of it. And we get to praise them when they come back for reunions. It doesn’t get any better.

    Q. What is one piece of advice you would offer Yale students?

    A. The world, all aspects of it, is changing dramatically. At no time in our world history has the intellect and leadership of Yale students been more important. As Rick Levin says, pick something you are passionate about and go after it.

  3. Salovey solicits nominations for next provost

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    Though Yale students don’t seem to know what the provost does, the University still needs one, especially since Provost Peter Salovey will assume the post of Yale’s president on June 30.

    In an email to the Yale faculty last week, Salovey said he intends to appoint a new provost soon to take over while he prepares to assume the presidency. He also solicited nominations for the position, specifying that his successor should be a current member of the Yale community.

    The provost, as the University’s second-highest administrator, must be the president’s “key deputy” in setting “academic priorities and policy,” Salovey said, citing qualities like imagination, diplomacy, communication skills and leadership as prerequisites to the position.

    Salovey said the provost must be “an outstanding scholar already at Yale who is regarded as a leader by his or her peers.”

    “It would be advantageous for me to appoint the next provost as soon as possible,” Salovey said in the email, adding that he wants to spend the majority of his time this year in conversation with the Yale community about the future of the University.

    The duties of the provost include overseeing academic policy and faculty committees, as well as serving as chair of the University Budget Committee.