October 19, 2006: Message from MAC Chair, Professor Drew Days
The Minority Advisory Council has worked, thus far, through three subcommittees charged with addressing issues of Grievance, Development and Diversity. With respect to structuring subcommittees for the 2006-2007 academic year, I note that the Grievance Subcommittee's work is nearing completion. We are in the final stages of creating a Web site on the University system that will allow persons within the Yale Community who believe that their rights have been violated a "user-friendly" guide to seeking help with their complaints.
The Diversity Subcommittee's charge was to develop a proposed re-organization of the Yale College Dean's Office that improved the College's effectiveness in addressing a range of diversity-related issues. A proposal was submitted to the President and Yale College Dean at the end of the 2004-2005 academic year. Both reacted favorably to our proposal, which also was discussed with Dean Peter Salovey on several occasions during 2005-2006. He stated that, although he shared the over-all objectives of the Council's proposal, he was working on alternative restructuring plans with respect to diversity that would fit in more successfully with other ways in which he wants to re-organize his administrative operations.
The Development Subcommittee made limited progress on its agenda during 2004-2005. There are several reasons for this but the fact remains that the issues it was established to address — how to increase the representation of minorities on the faculty and in the student body — are important ones that should not be dropped from the Council's agenda. There is clearly some overlap between "development" and a different approach to "diversity" as mentioned below. I see "development" here, however, to be focused primarily on ways in which the University (and its component parts) might provide more financial and other resources to increase the representation of minorities at Yale. The Council has also viewed more efforts to increase the visibility of minorities as full members of the Yale Community through symbolic, yet important, recognition of distinguished alumni, faculty and staff from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds (e.g. portraits, naming opportunities, etc.).
What I will call for the moment the “New Diversity” Subcommittee will be charged with the responsibility to study, evaluate, and recommend with respect as to how the graduate and professional schools might be re-structured to address diversity issues more effectively. Its approach would be, essentially, that taken by the earlier Diversity Subcommittee in its consideration of Yale College's administrative structure.
Suggestions for two new subcommittees have emerged. The first would address the question of how closer social and intellectual ties might be promoted among minority undergraduates, graduate students and faculty than presently exist. Several members expressed concerns about the need to combat a sense of isolation that certain members of the minority community feel here at Yale. Such a subcommittee could perform a valuable service to the University by taking on this challenge. The other suggestion was for the creation of a subcommittee to increase the transparency of the work of the Council while protecting the confidential nature of some of our deliberations and activities. This also strikes me as a very good idea that ought to be pursued.
In summary, for 2006-2007, the Council will work through the following subcommittees:
- Grievance Web site [final stage]
- Minority Community Networks