Update on strengthening Yale’s community of learning
To the Yale Community,
As part of our ongoing effort to strengthen our campus community, we write to share with you several updates. These efforts demonstrate our community’s strong commitment to eliminate harassment and discrimination and to encourage everyone to exchange ideas openly across intellectual, historical, and social perspectives.
A safe environment allows everyone at Yale to participate fully in campus life. Chief Ronnell Higgins and his colleagues in the Yale Police Department spoke to all incoming students during fall orientations and shared a new video on campus safety. In August and September, YPD officers participated in training focused on implicit bias and de-escalation techniques. Last month, a group of officers began new roles on the Community Engagement Team, which works closely with students, housing staff, and residential college leaders. The department is beginning a collaboration with the Center for Policing Equity on a data-driven evaluation of policing at Yale.
The new Advisory Committee on Community Policing —with faculty, student, and staff members—aims to strengthen cooperation between Yale’s police and security departments and the broader campus community. The committee, chaired by Vice President for Human Resources & Administration Janet Lindner, will hold its first meeting later this month.
In mid-October, the Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life will convene the first meeting of the Student Advisory Group on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Bringing together their varied views and experiences, its undergraduate, graduate, and professional student members will offer feedback and advice on efforts to support a welcoming and inclusive campus.
Our alumni also have been tireless champions for diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, 1stGenYale has fostered a community of alumni and students who are the first in their families to attend college or graduate school, and those who are from under-resourced backgrounds. If you have not seen it already, we encourage you to watch “Blazing the Trail: Being the First,” which documents the inaugural 1stGenYale Alumni Conference held last April. A couple of weeks ago, 1stGenYale held its first webinar for alumni, which addressed implicit bias. In addition, following the Alumni Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Task Force’s thoughtful deliberations, Executive Director Weili Cheng established the Association of Yale Alumni Executive Director’s DEI Working Group and will continue collaborating with university leaders.
New grants from the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration (RITM) will support academic programs designed or endorsed by deans, chairs, and other leaders, and are paired with activities addressing institutional diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, students and student organizations may apply for funding from the Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life for programs that promote belonging and community at Yale.
As many of you know, the Yale College Class of 2022 brings the most socioeconomic diversity of any entering class in Yale’s history. Eighteen percent of first-year students are the first in their families to attend a four-year college, and one in five members of the class receives a federal Pell Grant for low-income students. Over the past six years, the number of first-year students receiving Pell Grants has nearly doubled, and first-year enrollment among first-generation college students has increased more than 75 percent. To ensure that these students can succeed as soon as they arrive, Yale College has centralized resources to strengthen the community of first-generation and low-income college students. Starting this year, student ambassadors will provide advice and guidance; weekly workshops will convene this growing community; and new online tools for advice on academics, careers, and finance are available. We are excited about these new initiatives.
To learn more about the university’s efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion, we invite you to visit Belonging at Yale. This new website consolidates in one location policies that strengthen Yale’s community of learning and protect all its members. You will find at this website resources for those needing guidance or support, or wishing to report discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct. It also includes suggestions for how to get involved in enhancing our community, an opportunity to share your ideas for our next steps, and a calendar of lectures and events that support an open campus dialogue.
We look forward to providing you additional updates during the semester. Until then, we thank you for joining us in supporting a learning environment where all feel equally a part of the Yale community—a campus on which everyone belongs.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
Vice President for Student Life