Unregistered groups unwelcome at bazaar

Despite lax observation in the past, a rule banning unregistered campus organizations from participating in the extracurricular bazaar was enforced this year.
Despite lax observation in the past, a rule banning unregistered campus organizations from participating in the extracurricular bazaar was enforced this year. Photo by Sally Cho.

As student organizations bombarded freshmen with flyers at the Sunday extracurricular bazaar in Payne Whitney Gymnasium, some groups were told to leave.

Administrators took a hard line on a formerly flexible rule and allowed only registered organizations to participate in the bazaar — formally known as the Bazaar of Registered Undergraduate Organizations — as part of a broader effort to officially register more student organizations with the Yale College Dean’s Office, inspired at least in part by the Delta Kappa Epsilon hazing controversy of last October. Registered groups receive special privileges, including funding from the Dean’s Office and use of University facilities.

John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, told the News that unregistered student groups have never technically been allowed to participate in the bazaar. This year, though, Meeske said he chose to enforce the rule.

“I had a conversation with a committee that Dean [of Student Affairs Marichal] Gentry chaired on the freshman orientation period,” Meeske said, “and everyone there felt that we really needed to do what we are saying [and enforce this rule].”

Upon arriving at the bazaar, only representatives of registered student groups were allowed to sign in and register for a table. During the bazaar, Meeske said, he walked around Payne Whitney Gym to check that only registered groups had set up tables. He said he had to ask certain groups, such as the Yale Daily News and WYBC radio, to leave the bazaar since they are not registered student organizations.

WYBC general manager Carl Chen ’13 said the bazaar was an important place for his organization to recruit students.

“Everyone goes to it,” he said. “We are an organization of students, so we should be able to recruit students as well.”

He added that does not know if WYBC would consider registering because he is not familiar with the process or the regulations that govern registered organizations. He said he wished Yale College had informed him about the new emphasis on registration instead of “using the bazaar to hang this over people’s heads.”

Yale College administrators began to express a preference for registered student organizations over unregistered groups starting in late April. The effort coincided with the release of the Committee on Hazing and Initiations’ report on hazing prevention, which recommended increased accountability for leaders of student groups.

“Registered organizations can be regulated,” Yale College Dean Mary Miller said in April of her proposition to register all student groups that exclusively consist of Yale undergraduates. “We have not had the ability in the undergraduate regulations to govern the behavior of organizations. This would introduce the governance of organizations.”

The Committee on Hazing and Initiations was created in the aftermath of an incident last October in which members of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity shouted offensive sexual slurs on Old Campus. In May, Miller announced that the Yale College Executive Committee had banned DKE from recruiting on campus for five years.

Meeske said that while DKE was not allowed at the bazaar, the additional enforcement this year had nothing to do with trying to physically keep DKE out, as DKE had not traditionally come to the bazaar to recruit students. Several registered Greek organizations did set up tables at the bazaar to recruit freshmen.

Miller said she hopes to better educate the student body about proper initiation practices and sexual misconduct prevention by engaging student leaders. Miller said her office is hiring 36 undergraduates this fall to lead educational sessions on sexual misconduct prevention, which representatives from student organizations must attend in order to register.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is currently investigating allegations that the University’s sexual climate violates federal Title IX regulations.

Sam Greenberg contributed reporting.

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  • River_Tam

    *All Student Organisations, Societies, Teams, Groups, and Clubs are henceforth disbanded. An Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students. Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor. No Student Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club may exist without the knowledge and approval of the High Inquisitor. Any student found to have formed, or to belong to, an Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled.*