Three months ago, newly-appointed Yale Vice President for Finance and Administration John Pepper told the Cincinnati Post:

At this point in my life, I feel like I can contribute to a team and an institution that in many ways is like Procter & Gamble.

The Yale community got a better sense of just what that means when Pepper announced (Monday’s YDN still not on-line) the lay-offs of a hundred Yale clerical and technical and managing and professional employees. Yesterday, members of the Yale community came together to protest the University’s breach of faith and call for a better vision of the University:

“We will not let John Pepper strip away all that Yale can and will be in this community under the guise of some fabricated budget deficit,” [Laura] Smith said. “With or without you, John Pepper, we will build a future for Yale that we will all be proud of.”

…Smith called forward approximately 20 laid-off workers to take the stage at the rally. “It’s difficult to go out and start a new career,” Stanley Kobylanski, a 52-year-old laid-off telecommunications worker, said. “I’d like Yale to rescind the layoffs. Our major concern is the battle we wage with subcontracting and outsourcing our work.”
Pepper’s response:

“I believe in dialogue on these subjects,” Pepper said. “Unions are important organizing units and should be respected as such. But we are all part of the Yale family.”

Unfortunately, Pepper is yet to translate his stated belief in dialogue in real partnership with Yale’s workers of the sort John Stepp called for in the RAI Report. Meanwhile, despite what Wal-Mart and other union-busting firms may tell you, paternalism does not a family make.

The Yale Corporation met this weekend and agreed, in response to a sustained mobilization by community members, and a broad coalition of students, to extend its Homebuyer Program to all of Fair Haven, prompting an official announcement yesterday of the policy shift VP Bruce Alexander promised last month. This is a real victory for light and truth at Yale.

The Corporation also appointed its Senior Fellow, John Pepper of Proctor and Gamble, to replace the Vice President for Finance and Administration seat Bob Culver left over the summer. Let’s hope he makes a better effort to respond constructively to the demands of working people than his predecessor. Replacing Culver as Senior Fellow will be long-time GWB friend Roland Betts.

Meanwhile, tonight at 6:30 PM members of Local 34 and GESO will march out of their membership meetings and converge on Cross Campus for a powerful Human Rights Day action demanding change in the University’s policy towards its female workers. Be there. Barbara Ehrenreich will be.