A Better University

November 6, 2015
To:    Yale College Community
Re:    A Better University

Dear Members of the Yale College Community,

Dean Holloway wrote to you earlier today to share his thoughts about the events of the last few days. I want to underscore the important themes of his message and add my own voice to this conversation.

Last night, Dean Holloway, Secretary and Vice President Kim Goff-Crews, Chief of Staff Joy McGrath, and I met in Woodbridge Hall with about 50 students, primarily students of color, for four hours of listening. We heard deeply personal accounts from a number of students who are in great distress. The experiences they shared went beyond the incidents of the last few days. Their concerns and cries for help made clear that some students find life on our campus profoundly difficult. I have heard and I acknowledge the pain these students expressed.

This conversation left me deeply troubled, and has caused me to realize that we must act to create at Yale greater inclusion, healing, mutual respect, and understanding. The students last night made many thoughtful and constructive suggestions. Some of these we can implement right away or begin planning for immediately. The leadership of Yale College and the university are working on next steps. You will hear from me again before Thanksgiving about some of these actions.

For now, I want to reiterate our community expectations for inclusion and diversity. As Dean Holloway wrote this morning, Yale belongs to all of you. Yale must be a place where each person is valued automatically, without having to demand or labor for that recognition. I do not want anyone in our community to feel alone, disrespected, or unsafe. We must all work together to assure that no one does. 

Our community also shares a commitment to free expression and an open exchange of ideas free from intimidation. We have had that important conversation before, and we will continue it in the future. Now is a time to work toward healing and mutual understanding.

We can be better—and we will take actions that will make us better—in all these respects. I hope you will join me in this effort. We must all hold ourselves accountable—I most of all—for making Yale a better place.

Peter Salovey

President and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
Yale University
P.O. Box 208229
New Haven, CT  06520-8229
Telephone:  (203) 432-2550