YCC will absorb YSAC, its duties

In a move that marks the most sweeping restructuring of Yale’s student government since 2003, members of the Yale College Council and the Yale Student Activities Committee overwhelmingly voted to eliminate YSAC and replace it with a committee, led by YCC, that will henceforth organize the annual Spring Fling concert.

The 16 to 20 member YCC Concert Committee, to be composed of students and YCC representatives, will be responsible for planning all aspects of Spring Fling. YCC will assume control over other events traditionally run by YSAC, such as Mr. Yale and the Fall Show.

After nearly two hours of debate Sunday, the YCC voted 17-4 to pass the resolution to eliminate YSAC and create the concert committee. In a separate session, YSAC decisively passed the same resolution, voting 6-0 for its approval, with two abstentions and four absent members.

YSAC was founded five years ago as an experimental way to separate the issues-oriented goals of the YCC from its events-planning duties. Since that time the YCC has slowly begun to plan events of its own, this year taking on projects such as the Yale Votes panels and an Iron Chef cooking event in November.

“YCC created YSAC mostly to handle Spring Fling. Then YSAC eventually created the Spring Fling committee to handle it,” YSAC Chair Colin Leatherbury ’09 said. “We’re finally happy with the results so we’re going to merge back together now.”

During the next round of YCC representative elections in September, each college will elect one “events” representative and one “issues” representative to the YCC. Events representatives will get preference for assignment to project groups that deal with planning events, though they do not need to work exclusively on events. Issues representatives will similarly get preference for working on longer-term initiatives, such as expanding late-night dining options and implementing academic minors.

Beyond the 2009-’10 academic year, there will be no distinction between each of the 24 representatives. Leatherbury said this graduated solution would ensure that next year’s YCC maintains an interest in events planning. But the two roles will be integrated later, Leatherbury said, to ensure that division does not undermine the goals of student government to fully integrate the two groups.

“There’s a door left open for all the YSAC people to come back on the united body,” Leatherbury said.

The position of YSAC chair will be recast as the “Director of Events,” who will be a member of the executive board effective for this year’s election cycle.

The resolution stipulates that the YCC must continue to put on events such as the annual wing eating contest, held at this year’s Yale-Princeton football game, and the Winter Formal dance unless a two-thirds majority of the YCC votes against organizing the events. The concert committee will consist of YCC representatives and interested students selected at-large by the YCC executive board. The director of events and the YCC president will co-chair the committee, which will share the YCC’s budget.

Leatherbury said he and Tao began discussing the proposal two months ago when they realized that the Spring Fling Talent Search Committee, a newcomer to this year’s Spring Fling organizing process, was “working well.”

The success of that committee left Tao and Leatherbury questioning the purpose of YSAC, both said. Given that YCC was also planning its own events, Leatherbury said, YSAC’s existence seemed redundant.

YCC Vice President Emily Schofield ’09 drafted the proposal that passed Sunday, which had garnered the support of the entire YCC executive board by last week.

Calhoun YSAC Representative and Spring Fling Co-chair Natasha Sarin ’11 said while she was initially opposed to the proposal, the addition of specific “events” and “issues” representatives convinced her that the YCC would preserve an events focus. Sarin said she is considering running for the new position of director of events.

Ezra Stiles YCC Representative Vidhur Sehgal ’10 voted against the proposal in part, he said, because he thought the two-year plan was excessively drawn out. Because the plan would take two years to fully develop, he said, no current student government representative would be able to evaluate the plan’s success.


  • Eddie Pritchett

    To the YCC, I hope you consulted with former members of the YCC before you put this plan into action. Be prepared for longer meetings and less work getting done. The main reason for the split was the amount of time it takes to effectively get both issues projects and activities (events) planned and accomplished in a timely fashion. I hope you are not setting future councils up for failure.

  • So this is how liberty dies

    with thunderous applause

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Eddie. This decision was done in extreme haste, to the point of being reckless. Even if Rich and Colin had honestly been thinking about this for two months, the two of them are not the people who need to be comfortable with the decision at this point: next year's YCC leaders (whoever they will be) are the people who need to have spent more than 5 days thinking this over, and they have not done so.

    Of course it is uncertain whether this will result in greater productivity or not. In either instance, a change of this grandeur deserved better than to be pushed through in haste at the end of a term.

    Also, I'm uncertain as to why this came about so suddenly. My guess is that this entire plan was part of Rich's initial re-election campaign, since it would have allowed him to claim that his re-election was necessary in order to see the YSAC merger through. Once he decided not to run again, the YSAC plan had already been announced and he was unable to quell it. Just a guess.

  • yalie

    @3, that's cynical to the point of silliness.

  • Anonymous

    I'm of the same sentiments of Eddie. The reason the Freshman Class Council can operate on this system is because it only needs to focus on three major events, Barbecue, Screw and Olympics, and trivial issues like lids in the dining hall or bathroom paper towel. Good luck to next year's YCC in trying to churn out as many high quality reports that Tao was able to lead, in addition to having to plan Mr. Yale, Iron Chef, panels, and Spring Fling, among the other large scale events. You're going to need some workhorses if you expect to get half as much done next year as was done this year.

  • Elliott Mogul

    I also agree with Eddie, one of my old buddies from YCC. We created the YSAC because we wanted the YCC to actually get more done - both on issues and activities. The greater success of the YCC in both areas that year and since then has been the result of having more people involved, sparking greater activity and providing greater energy to do more projects. It especially reinvigorated the YCC to get more advocacy work done. Having more students-at-large involved with Spring Fling and other activites (as attempted with the Concert Committee) is a great idea - but reducing the number of people who actually have a responsibilty to see each event and issue through is not.

  • 09'er

    ahh Eliott, your article in the YDN on that day of creating YSAC was one of the big motivations in thinking we could do better together. You seemed to be saying that YSAC was solely made for Fall Show Winter ball, and Spring Fling. You mentioned that Spring Fling was just too big for the YCC in addition to other work, and that YSAC could one day throw events like Iron Chef-an event which the YCC did this year! With the SF solved, maybe 24 united can do more than 36 divided. search your feelings, you know it to be true

  • Elliott Mogul

    Ummm…no, I don't know it to be true. The 36 "divided" were always supposed to complement each others' work, not to work against each other. The respondent to my post obviously didn't read my article in the YDN in the way it was meant. The YSAC was always designed so that we COULD do more events beyond Fall Show, Winter Ball and Spring Fling. In fact, in its first year it did Iron Chef and similar extra events.
    Think of it this way - what would work better: if you have 100 police officers and 50 firefighters, each designed to do their job, or 100 police officers tasked with controlling crime and putting out fires? Duh. It would be insane to think that fewer people with trying to take on more tasks will be able to fulfill their jobs as well, or that they would have the time or energy to try extra creative projects. And remember, we were trying to ensure the YCC as a whole (Council and YSAC) would become more effective at organizing activities AND at advocating for student issues.

  • Anonymous

    more apt analogy:
    100 policemen with 4 chiefs that try to control fires already, and 50 firemen with a single chief.
    Best Plan? Install a automated system in the museums (which are the largest fires) and assign a committee to ensure they function. Then surrender to the inevitable, and let the 100 police handle it all. Without the museum fires, heck, they can do it. I'd bet 50 policemen could handle it all. Those museum fires are not easy to handle.

  • YCC '10

    i must further quote that you said
    "the sole duties of the YSAC shall be Fall show, Spring Fling, and Winter Ball." We all thought that meant the only duties of the YSAC were to be those. Therefore, once we found a better way to fulfill these duties through the help of students at large, the YCC could handle the rest. People work hard, these events are not ridiculously difficult to plan. Without spring fling, it could be done. Rich made some good points, I wish he was quoted along side in this article.

  • Steve Engler YCC VP 06-07

    Coming late into this issue, but I remember that it was always impossible to find enough people to help set up and clean up Spring Fling. If for nothing else, having 24 YCC reps and 12 YSAC reps at least increased your likelihood of finding people. Yalies can be so flaky, particularly around reading week and when they could otherwise get wasted with their friends during SF and not worry about the details. If the YCC was able to overcome this problem this year by boosting morale, the creation of the concert committee, etc. then kudos to them, but I'm not sure that can be institutionalized the way adding 12 bodies can.