An update about Ethnicity, Race, and Migration

The exterior of 35 Broadway, which houses the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration program's office
May 3, 2019

The message below concerning the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration program was distributed yesterday to its majors.

Dear Students Majoring in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration (ER&M),

We know that you have been concerned about the situation surrounding ER&M, and we are pleased to report that, in consultation with the faculty members associated with ER&M, we have reconfigured the program’s institutional support so that it may pursue its academic and pedagogical mission on secure and regular footing. These changes will allow ER&M to remain a vital center for innovative research and teaching within and beyond our campus for many years to come.

As students with a deep connection to the program, you may be interested in the process that led to this resolution.

As part of our regular rethinking of how the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) should best be configured, we cyclically review the academic organization of the FAS, consulting as appropriate with outside experts at peer universities throughout the nation. Over the past year, programs related to ER&M were among the areas on which these efforts were focused. This process confirmed our understanding that – although there are important synergies between ER&M and a number of adjacent units – the set of questions addressed by the program form a distinct and vital area of study. As a result, ER&M will join the distinguished set of programs at Yale which have the authority to make either solo or joint appointments – a status held by only a small segment of Yale’s wide-ranging set of cross-disciplinary programs and units, such as our renowned American Studies Program.

In keeping with FAS practice, these findings were shared with the FAS Faculty Resource Committee (FRC), which allocates faculty “slots” to departments and programs in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences based on a range of considerations, including research vitality and student enrollment patterns. On the basis of these factors, the FRC has voted to formally allocate to ER&M five faculty positions which were previously associated with the program only on an ad hoc basis. These include the four slots allocated by the president to the ER&M program in 2015, and an additional slot which has long been associated with the program. A sixth FAS slot which had previously been filled by a member of the program has also been reallocated to the program from the FAS pool; it will remain associated with the program for at least the next decade. The ER&M program may supplement these core positions through additional requests to the FRC for cluster hires in areas of vital interest to faculty and students. Cluster hires of this kind are typically supported by slots from the FAS pool. Faculty occupying any of these slots may be appointed either solely in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, or jointly with another unit.

These important provisions allow for sustainable instruction and supervision for students who choose to major or take courses in the program’s fields, including the 23 seniors who will graduate with degrees in the major in 2019 and the 29 juniors who have declared the major for 2020, as well as the many sophomores and others who have expressed interest in pursuing the major for 2021 and beyond. We are pleased that the ER&M major will remain part of the Yale curriculum for generations of students in the future.

The topics of race, ethnicity, migration and indigeneity are among the most pressing of the twenty-first century.  We are fortunate to have a vibrant student body whose interest in studying these areas helps to sustain the program’s pedagogical mission, and distinguished faculty whose pathbreaking scholarship and exceptional teaching and mentoring will allow us to stand at the forefront of this important area of study for decades to come.

We send you warmest wishes for the summer break, and look forward to welcoming you back to campus this fall.


Tamar Gendler
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Marvin M. Chun
Dean of Yale College