Yale University Appoints Advisory Committee on Campus Climate

Margaret H. Marshall (left) chats with students Kimberly Prock ‘12 (center) and Lexi Peacock ‘12 during a recent master’s tea.

President Richard C. Levin today announced the appointment of an Advisory Committee on Campus Climate.  The panel will be chaired by Margaret H. Marshall ’76 J.D., the former chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and a former fellow of the Yale Corporation.  The other members of the Committee are Seth P. Waxman ’77 J.D., former solicitor general of the United States and a partner at WilmerHale LLP; Kimberly M. Goff-Crews ’83 B.A., ’86 J.D., vice president for campus life and dean of students at the University of Chicago; and Elizabeth (Libby) H. Smiley ’02 B.A., former president of the Yale College Council and a director at Barbary Coast Consulting in San Francisco.

“It is imperative that the climate at Yale be free of sexual harassment and misconduct of any kind.  Should transgressions occur, they must be addressed expeditiously and appropriately,” Levin said.  “I have asked the Committee to give me advice about how sexual harassment, violence or misconduct of any kind may be more effectively combated at Yale, and what additional steps the University might take to create a culture and community in which all of our students are safe and feel well supported.”

Levin further explained: “This Committee will spend time listening to members of our community about the situation as they live it, and make its own assessments.  Yale has a strong set of policies in place, and a number of recommendations developed during the last year are being implemented.  Nevertheless, I know that there is more that we can learn and do.  I am personally committed to this important work.  It is essential to the well-being of our students and our entire community.  I am grateful to the members of the panel for contributing their time and wise counsel.”

The Committee will advise Levin directly, and he will review its recommendations with the Yale Corporation after the report is completed early in the fall semester.  After review by the Corporation, the Committee’s recommendations will be made public.

Yale was recently informed by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education that it will be investigating a complaint made by students alleging that the University is in violation of Title IX, which mandates that no one be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any federally supported education program on the basis of sex.  Yale has stated that it does not tolerate any sexual misconduct, and will cooperate fully with the Office of Civil Rights.

The panel will not seek to duplicate the investigation of the Office of Civil Rights, and will examine campus culture and systems rather than investigate particular events that may be part of the Office of Civil Rights investigation.

The University recently announced the formation of a University-Wide Committee (UWC) to address allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct of every kind.
The UWC will be available to all students and faculty across the University and will consist of students, faculty and administrative members drawn from throughout Yale.

“We believe that this streamlining will make it simpler for students and faculty to initiate and pursue any complaint,” said Provost Peter Salovey.  “Yale must be a community that is supportive and safe, and does not tolerate sexual misconduct.  The new UWC will help to ensure these important results.”

Biographies of the Members of the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate

Margaret H. Marshall

Marshall was chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from 1999 until her retirement in 2010.  She was the first woman to serve in that position.

A native of South Africa, Marshall earned her B.A. from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.  While an undergraduate, she was elected president of the National Union of South African Students, an anti-apartheid organization of some 20,000 members.

Marshall earned a master's degree in education from Harvard in 1969 and completed four years of doctoral work before studying law.  Following her graduation in 1976 from Yale Law School, she practiced law for 16 years and became a partner in the Boston firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart.

Marshall was vice president and general counsel of Harvard University from 1992 to 1996. In 1996, she was appointed one of the seven justices of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and three years later she became chief justice.  During her tenure the court held that denying the "protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage" to two persons of the same sex violated the Massachusetts Constitution. Marshall served a six-year term as a member of the Yale Corporation, the University’s governing board.

Seth P. Waxman

Waxman is chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Group and partner of WilmerHale LLP.  He served as solicitor general of the United States from 1997 through January 2001.

Waxman focuses on complex challenges involving governments or public policy issues.  He has won landmark rulings in a number of Supreme Court cases, including Boumediene v. Bush, in which the court ruled that foreign citizens held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

Waxman is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences. His honors include the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award.

Waxman is president of the Harvard University Board of Overseers.  He received his B.A. from Harvard University and is a 1977 graduate of Yale Law School, where he served as managing editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Kimberly Goff-Crews

Kimberly Goff-Crews has been vice president for campus life and dean of students at the University of Chicago since 2007.  A member of the President's Executive Staff, she provides leadership and strategic direction for the Campus and Student Life unit, which includes 350 staff members.  Goff-Crews provides university policy direction to develop new services to address the interests and needs of students, faculty, and staff and to create a vibrant campus community.  Among other responsibilities at Chicago, she supervises Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention and the Office of LGBTQ Student Life.

She previously served as dean of students at Wellesley College, where she was responsible for student life and for supervising 20 different departments providing academic support and enriched campus life.  She chaired the Academic Review Board and instituted a priority-setting process and a new assessment review protocol for her division.  She also worked closely with students on athletics, health, facilities, and funding issues.

Prior to Wellesley, Goff-Crews held positions at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at Yale, where she was an assistant dean of Yale College.  She was also a practicing attorney.  Goff-Crews received her B.A. from Yale College in 1983 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1986.

Libby Smiley

Libby Smiley is a director of Barbary Coast Consulting, a public affairs and communications firm serving the San Francisco Bay Area.  Her work focuses on community outreach for the firm’s public sector clients and developing long-term strategic communications for various initiatives involving private companies, non-profit organizations, and the City and County of San Francisco.

Prior to her current position, Smiley worked with the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, on a presidential campaign in Iowa, and on deliberative polling to study the effects of policy debate on shaping attitudes and getting citizens involved with community issues and local government.

The president of the Yale College Council in 2000-2001, Smiley also served on the Dean’s Advisory Committee, the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing, and the Tercentennial Steering Committee.  She received her B.A. from Yale College in 2002 and a Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School in 2007.