Sixteen candles for a YCC rebirth

Something strange happened last week at 202 York St.

A politician — if the Yale College Council president can be called one — appeared to be living up to her promises.

YCC President Rebecca Taber ’08 visited the News’ boardroom on invitation last week to explain her action plan for the year. She came in typical Taber fashion: quick-witted, energetic, Ts crossed. And then, Power Point presentation in hand, fellow YCC officers — Vice President Emily Schofield ’09, Treasurer Harrison Marks ’10 and Secretary David Narotsky ’09 — by her side, she and her colleagues rolled out a scroll of 16 initiatives.

We were impressed.

But the good vibe resonated from more than the sound of good ideas: To read between the lines of Taber’s talk was to realize that our student representatives — and Taber rightly emphasized the word “representatives” — are leading the YCC on an about face this year.

It could use one.

Results, now, are favored to resolutions. Officers are leading, truly: They are effectively — and refreshingly — delegating each YCC project to a team of several representatives. And at meetings, discussion of the YCC itself is sidelined to make way for meaty discussion about Yale — and, by extension, what really matters.

For Taber, Campus Cash tops the list. We, too, salivate as we anticipate the progeny of Danny Seifert’s ’09 team’s work this semester in making ID swiping throughout New Haven come to fruition.

We also support Audrey Pak ’09 and Jasper Wang ’10’s quest to extend the Credit/D/Fail deadline. Tomas Rua ’10 and Anna Aleksandrova ’10, meanwhile, are working to put locks on individual dorm room doors. And Jon Wu ’09, Laura Chanan ’10 and Tomas Rua ’10 are attempting to extend dining hall hours — a must at a modern university.

Why stop there? Representatives are also working to bridge the gap between students and police, plan a city street fair, introduce college admissions conferences for low-income students and increase financial aid. So much!

Then again, therein lies our reservation. With myriad projects — none which take particular priority over others, save for Campus Cash — we wonder whether the YCC will be ready to choose when it begins to encounter administrative roadblocks and a scarcity of resources.

We also encourage Taber not to entirely discard the value of taking stands, through YCC resolutions, on issues that matter to the campus at large. Although the council’s new direction is the right one, it would be negligent for the body of representatives not to comment, for example, on the new residential colleges proposal.

In the early 1970s, the YCC was created in part to allow students a say in tackling the issue of co-ed integration. In 2007, Yalies no longer need from the YCC the same level of issue-based representation. But Taber and her colleagues understand that we still have grievances, perhaps more materially focused on the quality of campus life, that need to be solved with concrete action.

When we revisit the YCC’s progress on this page in January, the theme of our News’ View will either sing with hearty praise or — shades of gray aside — disappointment. We could not be more confident that under Taber’s lead, the former will easily win out.

When was the last time you heard that about your local politician?

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