In 1973, Yale administrators proposed a mandatory summer semester modeled on Dartmouth's summer term, but protests from students and faculty persuaded the administration to make the session optional.
Today, a combination of apathy, internal bickering and economic disappointment threatens to derail even the optional summer program before it starts its third season.
When Yale's summer term began in 1975, officials hoped to enroll 500 students from Yale and 250 from other schools. Proponents thought the program would reduce crowding during the regular academic year and generate new income for the college.
Though the summer curriculum has offered a range of interdisciplinary and specialized courses, Yale students have not rushed to take advantage of it. Enrolment has ranged between 600 and 700 for the past two summers, but Yale students have comprised only 50 per cent of those totals.
Stepehen A. Kezerian, director of Yale's News Bureau, said yesterday there is some discontent among the faculty because the summer term has disrupted the sabbatical schedule for senior professors.
Kezerian also said the program "pays for itself."
"If anything, it shows a plus," Kezerian said. However, he added that "it just hasn't worked out" as a means to reduce crowding, because of the meager response from Yale students.
"There is some mumbling that educationally and financially it is not worth it," Kezerian said.
A Summer Term Committee will advise the dean of Yale College sometime in the spring whether to continue the program in the future.