Yale College has over 300 undergraduate organizations, but only one “non-organization.”
In reaction to a recent petition presented by United Students at Yale to Yale President Richard Levin, a “non-organization” calling itself No Organized Students At Yale is using e-mail and posters to criticize USAY.
The USAY petition, which was signed by 3,017 undergraduates, called for more student input in Yale’s decision making processes.
“More and more people are realizing that USAY does not represent the voice of the students,” NOSAY said in an e-mail to about three dozen people on Monday. “NOSAY is not intended to be an organization. We do not have members or meetings. We exist as a social and political movement. This e-mail list is intended to be a resource for the gathering and dissemination of information regarding the dubious actions of USAY. We will never claim to speak for you.”
The spokesman, who is a current Yale student, said he and his partners wished to remain anonymous because they felt they could accomplish more if there were no figureheads attached to the movement.
On Monday, USAY member Howard H. Han ’05 said he had seen one poster in Linsly-Chittenden Hall and was going to look into the issue further.
“I was actually kind of surprised that someone put that effort — I thought it was almost a joke put up by the Pundits,” Han said. “I think they shouldn’t be afraid to say who they are.”
Other USAY members said they knew little about NOSAY. The NOSAY spokesman said he did not include USAY members on his e-mail list.
“I think it’s a shame that someone’s starting this publicity campaign against us, but I know nothing more than that,” USAY member Sam Asher ’04 said. “Anyone who would try to stop students from working together on issues they care about I think would be working against the students’ best interest, but I can’t stop them; they’re free to do what they want.”
The NOSAY spokesman said he and other students have been discussing this movement since USAY’s creation, but the recent petition was the catalyst for NOSAY to take shape. The e-mail also noted that USAY did not put its name on the petition.
“The petition was definitely sold to students under very dubious [circumstances],” the NOSAY spokesman said.
He added that NOSAY will use e-mail to collect the names of students who signed the petition because they were being harassed by USAY members or did not understand that the petition was a USAY project.
“I think there’s a fundamental issue in that sense that USAY believes it is capable of speaking for a student body that is very politically diverse in its opinions about what goes on on campus and nationwide,” the spokesman said. “Dwight Hall speaks for Dwight Hall. [The Yale College Council] speaks for students under the auspices of an election of sorts, which gives them a degree of legitimacy. USAY, on the other hand, is composed entirely by volunteers. Dissenters are often silenced and quashed very quickly.”
USAY member Abigail Levine ’02 said she welcomes feedback about how best to represent the voice of the student body.
“I would encourage him to talk to us about what his concerns are,” Levine said. “I’ve said before that we’re only trying to talk to students, trying to be a representative voice but we’re certainly not there yet, and I’d love to talk to him. I invite him to e-mail me.”