Update - Actions to strengthen our ability to detect and prevent admissions fraud

Date: 
Wednesday, August 28, 2019

To the Yale Community,

I write to update you on the actions Yale has taken since last spring to strengthen our ability to detect and prevent admissions fraud. As you will recall, on March 12, federal prosecutors announced that they had uncovered a nationwide admissions fraud scheme; former Yale women’s soccer coach Rudy Meredith was one of the participants. In my message to you that day and in two subsequent emails, I announced the university’s actions to prevent the abuse of the athletic recruitment process and other types of admissions fraud. Since then, we have implemented additional safeguards and formalized policies and procedures.

Soon after we learned of the scheme, which led to the now-rescinded admission of a single Yale student, I asked an outside law firm to investigate and to make sure that we understood the full extent of the conduct. After a four-month investigation that included reviewing thousands of documents and interviewing coaches and staff in the department of athletics and the admissions office, the external investigators found no evidence that anyone at Yale other than Mr. Meredith participated in the bribery scheme. (See the related YaleNews story for more information.)

I also asked an external auditing and consulting firm to review Yale’s policies and procedures surrounding athletic recruiting and admissions and to recommend changes that would help prevent fraud. They have completed their work, and we are now considering how to integrate the recommended changes into the many we have already made.  

In March, I announced that Director of Athletics Vicky Chun and Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan had initiated a series of changes to safeguard the integrity of our processes for identifying and evaluating prospective varsity student-athletes. Since then, they have taken several additional steps. For example, all potential student-athletes with a coach’s endorsement will receive a preliminary review by both the admissions and athletic departments to verify their athletic credentials. In addition, recruited student-athletes who fail to participate in their sport or leave before their eligibility has ended will be required to complete a thorough exit interview with Athletics Department staff to understand the circumstances surrounding their departure from the team. 

To help coaches stay focused on educating student-athletes, we have made clear to them that fundraising for the university is not part of their job. And we are requiring coaches to report annually all athletic related income not paid to them by the university. These changes will help our coaches to continue their steadfast commitment to Yale’s mission and athletics’ important role in supporting that mission.

Yale’s Admissions Committee evaluates each applicant to Yale College using a thoughtful whole-person review process. When selecting applicants, the committee values a wide range of strengths, talents, and qualities that enrich the undergraduate educational environment and contribute to its remarkable diversity. Beyond athletics, we will be implementing measures to reduce the risk of fraud in all applications, such as verifying certain extracurricular accomplishments and awards and auditing a sample of applications at the end of each admissions cycle.

In the last five months, I have spoken with many of you—faculty, staff, students, and alumni—about how Yale’s mission depends on our ability to maintain and protect an admissions process that brings to our campus extraordinary students with a wide range of talents, interests, viewpoints, and backgrounds. Staff members in admissions and athletics offices and across the university have been working tirelessly and passionately to safeguard the integrity of our admissions policies and procedures. Our community came together to reaffirm our commitment to admitting remarkable students from all walks of life—future leaders who will transform Yale and the world.

I am deeply grateful to those of you who worked with me or reached out to offer your advice to help protect the Yale College admissions process. In the years ahead, Yale will continue actively to fortify and look for opportunities to improve our ability to maintain an academic community of excellence and integrity. 

Sincerely,

Peter Salovey
President
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology