Yale’s President Peter Salovey is doing everything he can to appease protestors on campus — even if it means spending tens of millions of dollars.
It’s clear: He doesn’t want to be forced to resign like Tim Wolfe at the University of Missouri.
This week, he emailed his long, long list of concessions to the campus — some of them reasonable, some of them sounding a bit ridiculous.
Here are the biggest actions he’s taking (emphasis ours):
“I, along with the vice presidents, deans, provosts, and other members of the administration, will receive training on recognizing and combating racism and other forms of discrimination in the academy. Similar programs will be provided to department chairs, directors of graduate and undergraduate studies, masters and deans, student affairs staff, and others across the university…”
“Yale already has outstanding faculty members who are doing cutting-edge scholarship on the histories, lives, and cultures of unrepresented and under-represented communities. To build on this strong foundation, I will ask the committee that oversees the allocation of resources in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to devote four additional faculty positions to these areas…”
“We are adding additional teaching staff and courses in Yale College starting in spring 2016 that address these topics. To continue the conversation outside the classroom, throughout the university, Yale will launch a five-year series of conferences on issues of race, gender, inequality, and inclusion…”
“Earlier this month Provost Ben Polak and I announced a $50 million, five-year, university-wide initiative that will enable all of our schools to enhance faculty diversity…”
“Starting in 2016-17, the program budgets for the four cultural centers will double...”
Does anyone get the feeling that the university is just trying to spend and “train” its way out of a crisis?
$50 million to “enhance faculty diversity?” Paying for a five-year conference series? Doubling “cultural center” budgets? Forcing himself — and basically the entire staff — to go through sensitivity training?
Maybe all these changes were needed, but that begs some questions: If Yale is really this racist, shouldn’t the president and most of the faculty resign in shame?
If they need to spend $50 million on hiring more diverse faculty, how unfair and unequal have their current hiring processes been?
If they really need to spend millions of tuition and donor dollars on these programs, what does that say about the current leadership?
However, the impression we’ve received is that, while changes were needed, this was simply an attempt to stop the protests and the bad PR in any way possible. But, will it backfire?