Students petition against storage policy changes

A week after Yale College reduced summer storage space in residential colleges, four residential college councils have signed a petition calling on Yale College Dean Mary Miller to reconsider the change.

The new storage policy, which restricts storage in residential college rooms to one couch per suite and one chair per student, prompted a backlash from students last week, in large part because of the financial burden of using outside storage facilities. But Frank Keil, chair of the Council of Masters, said the new regulations will not be altered, though administrators are considering ways to connect students with cheap outside options to make up for the lost space.

Through negotiations with local storage companies, Yale College could lower rates for undergraduates, Keil said. Storage companies could potentially bring “storage pods” to each residential college, Keil said, and students could share the space and the cost of each pod.

Yale College Council President Brandon Levin ’13, who began urging administrators to revise the policy last week, said that he would be “thrilled” to see a storage pod program organized by Yale College, adding that this would expand upon the YCC’s summer storage program launched last spring. But he hopes that administrators will consider removing some of the restrictions.

“We’d still like to see a number of the new regulations adjusted,” Levin said, “particularly for those bulkier items like bookcases which are more expensive and challenging to store over the summer.”

The new storage regulations were originally implemented to avoid inconveniencing participants in summer programs, Keil said, and summer programs have begun to use residential colleges more in recent years. John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, told the News last week that excess furniture also presented obstacles for custodians over the summer.

The Council of Masters began considering ways to improve storage options last week when YCC members brought forward their concerns, but Jonathan Edwards College Council President Nick Adams ’13 independently distributed the petition to residential college councils Monday.

The petition states that the restrictions pose financial constraints on students who do not live within driving distance from Yale. Also included in the letter are concerns that students might throw away furniture they do not have room to store, and that the new policy unfairly limits students in residential colleges with less storage space.

“We’re looking to frame the concerns that college councils have, and so that’s a starting point for a conversation about what the summer storage policy looks like,” Adams said.

Pierson College, Davenport College and Saybrook College Councils have officially signed the petition, Adams said Tuesday evening, but he is waiting to hear from other college councils that meet later in the week.

Yale College Dean Mary Miller could not be reached Tuesday to comment on the petition.

Under the old summer storage regulations, each suite was allowed one couch, and each student could store a chair, rug, freestanding bookcase, standing lamp and two framed pictures.

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