Letter: YCC missed an opportunity to lead

This article has been corrected. You may view this article’s correction here.

The News’ report that efforts to provide gender-neutral housing next year have collapsed touched off a firestorm. Scores stayed in symbolic tents on Cross Campus; perhaps more significantly, in just over a day there are over 700 people who are members of the “We Support Gender Neutral Housing at Yale” Facebook group, more than the number that joined a group dedicated to reforming financial aid last year.

Such protests clearly come too late for next year — but they did not have to. The YCC overwhelmingly passed a resolution in favor of gender-neutral housing over a month ago and formed its own committee to investigate the issue, yet student involvement on a grander scale did not begin until after the decision had been handed down.

While I commend the YCC’s efforts, merely passing on its opinions and findings to the administration or even “working with” the administration is not enough. Even on issues as relatively unimportant as housing policy, the YCC would be a far more effective advocate for the student body if it would actively mobilize student support for its proposals as they are submitted, instead of leaving students to organize ad hoc after it is too late.

The hundreds of students willing to offer their support for the plan were left untapped until too late, and the fault for this missed opportunity is entirely the YCC’s. The force of institutional inertia at Yale requires more than proposals to combat. On the next such issue, the YCC should learn from its mistakes on this one.

David Broockman

March 4

The writer is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.

Comments

  • Confused Yalie

    What, exactly are you suggesting? That the YCC turn itself from student government into a protest organization? The entire point in student government is to represent the position of the Yale student body to the administration. It would be counterproductive to have the same students working closely with administrators as are protesting on Cross Campus. It would probably be rather awkward when they see those administrators they were targeting in protests the next day in a formal meeting, too. Last but not least, this is not that big of a deal. Shouldn't you have bigger things to worry about?

  • Anonymous

    I <3 the YCC!

  • Anonymous

    As a parent, I support School's decision! I am the payer.

  • Y'11

    @ConfusedYalie:
    I agree that the YCC should probably not adopt civil disobedience as its go-to tactic anytime soon, and I don't think Broockman was suggesting that. But there are lots of forms of representation, and many of them fall somewhere in the middle the spectrum of confrontational conduct, between sleep-outs and preparing reports without ever consulting your constituents.

    And, don't be silly. The "this is not a big deal, worry about big things like midterms/Darfur/Grey's Anatomy" argument is always weak--but it is especially so when you take time out of your day to comment on a YDN article about it!

    I think this letter is fantastic. "Representation" can be more than a one-time selection process of candidates based on reading their prepared statements; it should be a continual process. I don't know Broockman but I would so like to.

  • Hold your horses

    Looks like Yale College supported the change and the officers--meaning the Corporation--wanted to hear more before proceeding…as is their right and responsibility.

    I'd suggest toning down the polemics and returning the tents to the Outing Club. This will probably happen, eventually. But the people who are responsible for figuring out how to make it work--and what to do when it doesn't--are obligated to move judiciously, not rush because it suits about ten folks' purposes in this particular housing cycle.

  • Confused Yalie

    Touche, Y'11, touche.