Light & Verity

New VP will oversee student life

New post created to lure administrator back to Yale.

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

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Before President Richard Levin '74PhD recognized that Yale needed a vice president for student life, he knew that he wanted Kimberly Goff-Crews '83, '86JD, back at Yale.

Levin had appointed Goff-Crews, who is vice president for campus and student life at the University of Chicago, to a committee to assess the campus sexual climate last year in the wake of a Title IX complaint against Yale. "Before I appointed her, I checked a couple of references and learned what a sensational job she was doing at Chicago," Levin says. The rave reviews and her work on the committee persuaded him to try to hire her away.

This fall, Goff-Crews will return to Yale, where she was an assistant dean of Yale College and director of the Afro-American Cultural Center from 1992 to 1998. She will be the university's first vice president for student life, and she will also take on the office of secretary of the university.

Although the new post was created for Goff-Crews, Levin said in announcing her appointment that "at this moment in our history, it seems useful to ask an officer to take leadership of efforts to support our students." Goff-Crews has filled a similar role at Chicago, which has about as many undergraduates as Yale but considerably more graduate and professional students. "I have 15,000 students I'm thinking about every day," she says. "I spend a lot of time thinking about the needs of graduate students, who are in a different place in their lives than undergrads, and that work will carry over to Yale."

Goff-Crews will convene a council of student-affairs officers from all the schools of the university to improve coordination, but she balks at the word "centralization" to describe her approach to student life. "We'll have conversations to find where there might be synergies," she says, "but we also want to honor the cultures in each of the schools."

Her job may well include implementing some of the recommendations made by the sexual-climate committee she served on, aimed at addressing the complaints about sexual harassment and offensive behavior on campus. She says her work on the committee left her feeling optimistic about Yale's efforts to deal with the problem: "What I find heartening is that there's a lot of attention being paid to this issue and a great deal of will in trying to turn this around."

As secretary of the university, Goff-Crews and her staff will provide staff support for the Yale Corporation (the university's governing board) and plan events such as commencement and the Freshman Assembly. Linda Koch Lorimer '77JD, who has held the dual roles of secretary and vice president for most of her 19 years at Yale, will continue to oversee university communications, alumni affairs, and international programs as vice president; Levin also calls her his "senior counselor." Goff-Crews's new post brings the total number of officers of the university to nine—three more than when Levin took office in 1993.

A native of Los Angeles, Goff-Crews worked as a lawyer in private practice before her stint at Yale in the 1990s. From there she went on to administrative posts at Lesley University and Wellesley College before going to Chicago in 2007.  

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