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Message from Dean Cooley

May 15, 2018

Dear Graduate School Student,

As President Salovey reaffirmed in his message last week, Yale is committed to equity and inclusion on our campus. The incident that occurred at the Hall of Graduate Studies last week shines a spotlight on the topic of race and racism, though it is just one example of the larger challenge of building and maintaining a community built on mutual respect. 

As a community and as an institution, we have a responsibility to address issues of racism and belonging. With Vice President Kim Goff-Crews, we have initiated a series of listening sessions with students. She will provide to the community an update on issues raised at last Friday’s session as well as in emails from faculty, students and alumni, including efforts by the Yale Police Department to streamline the process of verifying student identification. 

I have received hundreds of emails from people both on and off campus expressing deep concerns about last week’s incident. As painful and difficult as it was, the attention to the events at HGS gives us an opportunity to examine our processes and policies. I write to you today with some immediate steps the Graduate School will take to heighten awareness of bias and racism. 

  1. Provide implicit bias awareness training for all GSAS staff before the beginning of the 2018 fall semester.
  2. Offer dedicated training session for all incoming graduate students on implicit bias awareness.
  3. Train all Ph.D. students in teaching an inclusive classroom either as part of “Teaching @ Yale Day” or in the “Fundamentals of Inclusive Teaching” workshop offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  4. Have community-building sessions in the graduate student dorms hosted by GSAS deans and staff.
  5. Streamline communications with the President's Committee on Racial and Ethnic Harassment by providing the following email address: Note that graduate students can also contact our Dean's Designee, Associate Dean Michelle Nearon (, to share and seek a response to an experience of discrimination or harassment. 

It is crucial that we all work to cultivate an inclusive community with support for our friends and colleagues on campus. We need to make Yale the place where students, faculty and staff are all invested in sustaining an environment where scholarship and friendship flourish.


Lynn Cooley, Ph.D.
Dean, Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
C.N.H. Long Professor of Genetics
Professor of Cell Biology and MCDB

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