Colleges bus Elis to Harvard

When Yalies trek to Cambridge, Mass., this weekend for the annual Harvard-Yale football game, they will be able to enjoy the event’s tailgates and traditions. But upon return, they will have to deal with more than hangovers and frostbites: they’ll have to face dented residential college budgets.

In a break with past policies, the Yale College Council decided last month not to sponsor student transportation to Harvard. The change forces residential college councils to individually organize and fund transportation while also maintaining their pre-set budgets so they can fund events for the remainder of the year.

YCC President Andrew Allison ’04 said the decision was largely based on financial concerns.

“The colleges have a more substantial budget than the YCC does,” Allison said. “Given our financial situation, it made much more sense. We instead had our [representatives] help college [student activities committees] and college councils with organizing their busing.”

YCC Secretary Lindsey Parker ’04 said she unsuccessfully attempted to get college masters to reach a consensus on transportation subsidy amounts.

“We lost money two years ago [after providing buses] so we tried to get masters to subsidize equal amounts, but it didn’t work,” Parker said.

Mackenzie Blumer ’03, student activities committee chairwoman of the Calhoun College Council, said the transportation costs present a burden for residential college budgets.

“I have been doing this job since I was a sophomore and the SACs have never had to arrange transportation nor have they had to pay for it, and obviously, that is a bit troublesome for our pre-set budgets,” Blumer said. “If we charge $12 per person one way and $18 for a round-trip ticket, which is what we plan on doing, we won’t recoup on all the losses, and either the council or SAC will have to pay the difference.”

Blumer said she is disappointed with the YCC’s allocation of funds.

“To me, it seems absolutely preposterous that YCC spent so much money on Jimmy Fallon, a relatively useless celebrity, but cannot provide services that we depend on,” Blumer said.

Parker said the YCC is expecting a financial strain as a result of the Fallon show, which took place in September. The YCC has not yet received a bill for the performance, she said.

Following the YCC’s decision, Parker compiled a list of bus companies for the Calhoun council members, who did not find out about the YCC’s resolution until last week.

Donald Thompson ’04, co-chairman of the Trumbull Student Activities Committee, said Yale has basically “started a bidding war with itself” because the colleges are trying to get separate means of transportation, which in turn decreases each college’s ability to haggle prices with bus companies.

Acting Trumbull College Master Frederick Streets said he would subsidize a generous portion of Trumbull’s transportation costs. Trumbull will charge students $20 for a round-trip ticket and any remaining spots will be opened up to students from other colleges for a fee of $30. Calhoun similarly will make remaining seats available to students from other colleges, such as Jonathan Edwards, whose bus to Harvard is already full.

Timothy Dwight College is planning to send two buses to Cambridge but only have one returning to New Haven, while Morse College is only sending one bus.

On top of buses, colleges must also provide hotel accommodations for the bus drivers — an added cost to the already strained residential college budgets.

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