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A Pair of New Deans

For history professor Jon Butler, becoming dean of Yale’s Graduate School is “like going to grad school all over again.” And that’s a good thing. “I loved being in grad school. I thought it was fabulous,” says Butler, who was appointed in February and will take office in July. “As dean, you’re suddenly placed in a leadership role where you need to learn a lot about a very broad range of disciplines.”

Few people know that better than Peter Salovey '86PhD, who just completed his first year as Graduate School dean. Salovey will also be shifting offices in July to become Dean of Yale College, succeeding Richard Brodhead '68, '72PhD, who has accepted the presidency of Duke University.

Salovey says he hadn’t anticipated taking another university post so soon. “I wasn’t planning to make the switch,” he says. “But Dean Brodhead’s choice to go to Duke surprised everybody, even him, I think. The possibility came open when it came open.”

Salovey, the Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology, is a popular teacher who plays bass in a faculty-student band called the Professors of Bluegrass. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Stanford and joined the Yale faculty upon completing his PhD in 1986. As a scholar, he is best known for developing, with the University of New Hampshire’s John D. Mayer, the concept of “emotional intelligence,” the idea that humans possess a set of emotional skills that can be measured like cognitive ones.

Salovey served on the Committee on Yale College Education, which last year completed a major review of the college’s curriculum and produced a set of recommendations for improving undergraduate education. He says the report will guide his priorities as dean of the college. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to implement the collective vision for the college embodied in the CYCE,” he says. “It makes it particularly exciting for me to be dean.”

Butler, who was raised in Minnesota and did both his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Minnesota, is the William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and History and a professor of religious studies. He has taught at Yale since 1985 and has chaired both the American studies program and the history department. He specializes in the history of American religion, and is the co-editor of a 17-volume series of books for high school students called Religion in American Life. His new job involves trying to coordinate graduate study across widely disparate and semi-autonomous academic departments.

“It’s difficult,” says Butler. “The Graduate School has only very general supervisory authority over departments. It’s quite different from the undergraduate college, where there is a common undergraduate program. Every student’s PhD program is different, even those in the sciences.”

One of the things the dean can do, Butler says, is help develop a better graduate student life at Yale, which has been a priority for his predecessors over the past ten years. Asked his views on graduate student unionization, Butler says only that it is an issue for students to decide. But he has frequently challenged the methods and assertions of the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, the group trying to form such a union.

Butler and Salovey have served on many committees together, including the CYCE, and they are friends—something they hope will contribute to improving the interaction between the Graduate School and the college, which share a faculty. “We’ll be looking for ways that our goals can complement each other,” says Salovey.

In addition to the priorities for the college laid out in the CYCE report, Salovey made one surprising (but extremely qualified) statement in a recent Yale Daily News interview: he indicated a willingness to consider bringing back bladderball, the raucous undergraduate game that was banned in 1982. He now says it was “hardly a ringing endorsement, but who knows?” Maybe this time, graduate students will play, too.


Live Free (Or Try)

Yale political science lecturer Jason Sorens '03PhD has a plan to take over New Hampshire. But first, he has to find 20,000 libertarians. And they have to be willing to relocate.

So far, more than 5,000 people have signed up for his Free State Project, an Internet-based effort (www.freestateproject.org) whose members pledge to move to the “Live Free or Die” state once membership reaches 20,000. In cities, towns, and rural areas, the immigrants will “exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty, and property.”

Besides influencing elections and the decisions of government officials, the Free Staters also hope that, as private citizens, they can better provide services often managed by the government, including education, healthcare, economic regulation, and banking. Furthermore, they want to offer positive examples of how private citizens can make a difference in the world without appealing to the government for help. On the project’s web site, one young man describes how he plans to build a house in New Hampshire that would only use renewable energy, and then help those who are interested build their own.

The Free State Project’s audacious quest has been written up in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and Playboy, among others. “We’re by far the biggest libertarian story of the past year,” says Sorens, wryly.

But despite his self-deprecating sense of humor and his smooth, apple-cheeked face (which makes him look younger than the undergrads he teaches), do not underestimate his seriousness. Sorens began developing his philosophy of politics while still a high school student in Houston. Three years ago, as a 24-year-old working on his Yale political science dissertation on “autonomy movements” around the world, he got the idea for his very own autonomy movement, dedicated to scaling back government interference and encouraging citizens to take responsibility for welfare of the poor, education, and public health and safety.

“This is about the only political philosophy that can appeal to all political interests,” says Sorens. “We’ve got voluntary socialists and social conservatives. Whatever your views, you can live happily under such a system.”

But will a group with such divergent cultural and economic ideals actually manage to work together in New Hampshire? Sorens thinks so, for the simple reason that the members' often contradictory social belief systems are generally subservient to their common desire for unfettered personal freedom. They don’t want anyone to force them to live any one way, so they should be able to resist the temptation to force others to live their one way.

Sorens says the project is necessarily linked to his work as an academic, but he keeps it out of the classroom; he never brings up his political opinions with his students. And while the project was a natural extension of his dissertation, he insists it is definitely not a mere experiment. “The ultimate goal is to have a better society,” he says. Nothing more, nothing less.


New Effort to Tax Yale Properties Fails

For the fifth time since 1990, Connecticut lawmakers have tried to tweak Yale’s tax-exempt status, and for the fifth time, the effort has failed—at least for now.

In February, New Haven state representative Toni Walker introduced a bill that could make Yale liable for property taxes on revenue-producing buildings that traditionally have been considered non-taxable. The bill died in the General Assembly’s Planning and Development Committee before reaching a vote.

As with all nonprofit colleges and universities, Yale’s academic properties are tax-exempt. (The university pays full property taxes on its commercial properties, including its retail holdings and any residential properties that have not traditionally housed Yale personnel.) Walker’s bill, an amendment to an obscure state law from 1834 that gives Yale and four other colleges a tax break on properties that produce a small amount of income, would have made it possible to tax the university’s theaters, medical offices, laboratories, and sports facilities if they produce more than $6,000 a year in revenue. The bill would have applied only to Yale.

“We just want Yale to pay its fair share,” said Scott Marks, director of the Connecticut Center for a New Economy, which is affiliated with Yale’s unions and helped draft the bill. “We hope to identify the non-taxable properties that have profit-making entities operating within them, such as doctor’s offices or biotech.”

Michael Morand '87, '93MDiv, Yale’s associate vice president for New Haven and state affairs, says that such properties are not taxed because they are related to Yale’s academic mission. “This was an attempt to single out Yale and redefine the law to allow taxation of academic property,” says Morand. “Yale does pay taxes on nonacademic properties, while we share in common with all universities the exemption for academic properties, including those dedicated to athletics and medical uses.”

Opponents of the bill argued that Yale has been a generous neighbor, giving the city $2.21 million in voluntary contributions for the 2004 fiscal year (more than $25 million since 1990) and committing more than $100 million to community partnerships and investments.

The effort to tax Yale comes as New Haven struggles to cope with reduced state and federal funding. Local property taxes have been raised three times in recent years. About 47 percent of the city’s properties are tax-exempt, a rise of more than 10 percent over the past decade. Under Connecticut’s PILOT—or Payment in Lieu of Taxes—program, the state reimburses the city for part of the revenue it would have made if those exempt properties were taxable. But because of the state’s own budget woes, its contributions under the program have dwindled from 77 percent to about 60 percent of the total lost revenue.

The problem, says Mayor John DeStefano Jr., is not Yale or other not-for-profits, but a statewide tax structure that is overly dependent on property taxes.

“My view has been not to support the bill,” says DeStefano, stressing that he wants the university to increase its voluntary payments instead. “The long-term issue is to become less property tax-dependent, but in the near term, my guess is we’ll continue to see some rub and friction.”


Rallying the Rebels

It’s tough to be a law student who wants to work for the public interest. Watching many of your classmates receive offers from big firms, “you start to feel that you’re on this public-interest island,” says Lori Mach '95JD. So in 1994, during long evenings at Yale’s legal-services clinics, Mach and her friend Steven Gunn '95JD hatched an idea: wouldn’t it be great if there were a symposium that could connect and energize the public interest community? The “Rebellious Lawyering” conference was born.

Ten years later, the entirely student-run conference is one of the largest of its kind. In February, nearly 50 panelists and more than 500 students from all over the United States and Canada attended the event, breaking last year’s attendance record. The co-founders attribute the lasting success of “Rebellious Lawyering” to Yale’s dedication to public-interest law—through fellowships, loan forgiveness, and funding for the conference. “Yale Law School is a school that is not just devoted to the study of law as it is, but to law as it should be,” says Gunn. “It’s also a school that empowers students to carry out their own ideas.”

Gunn and Mach both returned to New Haven for the tenth anniversary of the conference, which included a “RebLaw” birthday party. Standing in line for cake or clustered in polite conversation, the rebellious lawyers-to-be—hailing from as far as Tulane and UNLV and as close as Columbia and Harvard—didn’t look particularly radical. For these students, rebellion isn’t a fashion statement but a state of mind. “If you want to be an advocate in the public interest, it means you think things can be improved and that they’re not good enough the way they are now,” says this year’s co-director, Georgia Albert '04JD. “Hence the rebellious nature of it—you’re always striving against what’s already out there.”

More than 20 Yale students organized three days of panels and workshops on drug policy reform, the special struggles of women in prison, civil rights issues facing Latinos and Native Americans, and the repercussions of the No Child Left Behind Act, among many other topics. While the overall spirit was one of liberal legal activism, Gunn noticed a subtle shift from the attitude of the original conference. “At the first one, it was like, ‘Let’s invite our own and we’ll talk amongst ourselves to rally our own troops,’” he explains. “At this conference, they invited people with very different opinions on the issues.”

The students’ energy was inspiring for Gunn and Mach, both of whom continue to advocate in the public interest. (Mach is a public defender in Philadelphia, and Gunn is an associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches federal Indian law and works with the school’s civil justice clinic.) “The conference reminds us that we’re not alone,” says Gunn, “and that every year more and more people are coming after us who share the same passions and who are dedicated to the same kind of work and who will pick up right where we left off.”


Three Vie for Corporation Post

Two businessmen and a judge are on the ballot in this year’s election for alumni fellow of the Yale Corporation—the first election in which alumni can vote online. The three candidates were selected by a committee of the Association of Yale Alumni.

David A. Jones Jr. '80, '88JD, is the chair of Chrysalis Ventures, a venture-capital firm in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. He is also vice chair of Humana, the health care company founded by his father, David A. Jones '60JD. Jones taught English with the Yale-China Association (of which he is now chair) and worked in business before returning to Yale to attend the Law School. He practiced law at the U.S. state department and in private firms, then founded Chrysalis in 1993.

Margaret H. Marshall ’76JD is chief justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. A native of South Africa, she practiced law privately for 16 years and spent four years as vice president and general counsel of Harvard University. She was appointed to the court in 1996 and was named chief justice in 1999. She is perhaps best known as the author of the court’s recent decision that denying marriage rights to same-sex partners is a violation of the Massachusetts constitution.

Frederick O. Terrell '82MBA is managing partner and CEO of Provender Capital Group, a private equity company in New York. Before founding Provender in 1997, he spent 14 years as an investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston. In 2000, he became the chair of Harlem-based Carver Bancorp, the largest African American financial institution in the country. During Terrell’s tenure, the formerly troubled bank has grown and become profitable.

Each year, alumni can vote for a candidate for a six-year term on the Corporation. In March, the university e-mailed the alumni, asking whether they would prefer to vote online or on paper. Ballots were sent out in April. Ballots must be received by May 23. Anyone who did not receive a ballot or needs a replacement ballot should contact Dianne Witte (dianne.witte@yale.edu) by May 15.  the end




©Mark Zurolo '01MFA

Don’t Call It Beefcake

Pierson College junior Zachary Hocker won an online “sexiest vegetarian alive” competition sponsored by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) this spring. Hocker, who eschews meat and dairy products and leather, says that it’s possible to maintain a vegan diet in the dining halls, but “all that pasta gets a little repetitive.”



©Mark Zurolo ’01MFA

Art on Whitney

On a spring afternoon, from inside a Whitney Avenue storefront that until recently housed a piano store, painter John Cooney immortalized the Chinese grocery across the street. A local group called Elm City Artists has been using the space since November as a gallery to display and sell their works; Yale, which owns the building, is accepting a percentage of the gallery’s sales in lieu of rent.




Campus Clips

Yale College’s rate of admission fell to 9.9 percent this year, a record low. Of the 19,675 students who applied (a record high), 1,950 were admitted. The rise in applications may be in part a response to Yale’s conversion from a binding to a non-binding early action program.

The university began laying off workers in March to address an anticipated $30 million budget deficit this year. Administrators say that about 80 people will lose their jobs—about half of them in unionized clerical and technical positions and half in management. Union workers rallied outside the office of Vice President John Pepper '60 on March 24 to protest the layoffs.

Yale’s largest tuition increase in 11 years is also, officials say, due to the budget deficit. The Yale College term bill—tuition and room and board combined—will be raised five percent for 2004-2005 to $38,850. President Levin says that financial aid awards will also increase.

A lawsuit against Yale and the New Haven police by former political science lecturer James Van de Velde '82 has been dismissed by a federal judge. Five years ago, Van de Velde was publicly identified by the university and the police as a suspect in the murder of Suzanne Jovin '98, an undergraduate he was advising. Van de Velde’s suit alleged that naming him but not other suspects violated his constitutional right to equal protection, but the judge said that Van de Velde had not demonstrated that Yale knew the names of other suspects or that the police department had been asked the names of other suspects. Van de Velde’s lawyer says he will appeal. No one has ever been charged in the murder.



©Mark Zurolo '01MFA

Chemical Structure

The building boom on Science Hill continued this spring as the steel frame of the new Class of 1954 Chemistry Research Building was completed. Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and Cannon Design, both Boston firms, the $63 million building will house 37 laboratories for “hood-intensive” research. Farther down Prospect Street, a new engineering building is also under construction.


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