Message to graduate students from VP for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews
Dear Yale students,
I am deeply troubled by an incident that took place Monday night in the Hall of Graduate Studies. One graduate student called the police to report another student in the common area, who had every right to be there. The Yale police officers who responded spoke with both parties and subsequently admonished the complaining student that the other student had every right to be present.
As Vice President for Student Life, I have worked with administrators, faculty and students to strengthen the resources available to address incidents of racial bias, discrimination, and harassment. This incident and others recently reported to me underscore that we have work to do to make Yale not only excellent but also inclusive. I strongly believe we must strive to create an environment that values equity and justice and in which all students are empowered to pursue their personal and professional goals — environment that is diverse, intellectually challenging, and broadly welcoming. Over the last 48 hours, I have been in discussion with Dean Lynn Cooley, Chief Ronnell Higgins, and other university staff, including Yale police, to better understand what exactly happened at HGS on Monday night, and how we can work together to avoid such incidents in the future.
We still have so much more to do.
As a step in the process, Chief Higgins, Dean Cooley and I will hold listening sessions with students in the coming days and months. In addition, the university will continue to implement the initiatives we announced a year ago, including the appointment and training of dean’s designees in each school to address student concerns about equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and discrimination and harassment. This past year, we also launched a comprehensive website and adopted a discrimination and harassment reporting protocol using the Bulldog Mobile (LiveSafe) app and have been looking at ways to make this more accessible. As already planned, we will share this tool more broadly with students and clarify the reporting process. Over the summer, I will work with administrators and student leaders to review and strategize around suggestions that we have received from faculty, staff, and students, especially with regard to improving the university’s response to incidents of discrimination and harassment. We remain committed to quickly and appropriately addressing issues of racism and bias on campus. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback on how we can improve our community together.
All of us in senior leadership recognize that incidents such as this one are being framed within a difficult national context. I want to underscore our commitment to carry out our mission as a university in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni, where all are respected.
Kimberly M. Goff-Crews