Just one week before the Yale College Council elections, administrators approved a proposal Wednesday that formalizes additional responsibilities of the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee and renames it the Undergraduate Organizations Committee.
A subsidiary of the YCC, the UOFC mainly oversees funding for registered undergraduate organizations, but will begin handling policy issues concerning student groups in the 2012-’13 academic year under the title of the UOC. Current UOFC chair Allen Granzberg ’13 said the change will formally recognize duties the UOFC already performs in Yale College: providing information about the processes of registering with the Yale College Dean’s Office and obtaining funding, and allocating resources such as room space and equipment to student groups. The UOC also intends to work more closely with the administration to represent the interests of student groups.
“We realized we can give undergraduate organizations the support they need with our resources, and it felt like a natural progression,” Granzberg said.
John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources and a member of the committee that approved the UOC proposal, said administrators are considering putting the UOC in charge of approving applications of student groups that want to register. Meeske said he and a colleague currently run this process, but Granzberg said shifting the responsibility to the UOC would further the effort to “integrate information” for both registered and unregistered student organizations. The UOC could serve as a particularly useful resource for unregistered student groups, Granzberg added, as they are not overseen much by administrators.
The YCC and the UOFC are essentially independent of one another in their current operations, Granzberg said, though the UOFC reports to the YCC. Redefining the committee will allow the two bodies to collaborate on more projects and initiatives, Granzberg added. For example, he said the YCC and the UOC might work together to address issues of sexual misconduct or the administration’s new policy banning fall rush of Greek organizations for freshmen.
“In the past, it’s been unclear why the funding committee is part of the YCC,” he said. “But now we’re saying we’re part of the YCC to represent undergraduate organizations.”
YCC President Brandon Levin ’13 said he does not expect the dynamic between the committee and the YCC to change in the coming year, as the UOC will still operate under the umbrella of the YCC. He said the approved proposal “simply formalizes” the role the UOFC fills for undergraduate organizations.
Members of the UOFC began working to redefine the committee’s role at the start of the academic year, Granzberg said. After bringing their proposal to the YCC in February, Granzberg and other UOFC members presented it to the Committee on Undergraduate Organizations in the Dean’s Office shortly before spring break.
Meeske said administrators were initially hesitant to increase the UOFC’s responsibilities for fear that the UOC would take on too much, but eventually decided to approve the change and re-evaluate after the UOC’s first year. Should the UOC format prove unsuccessful, Meeske said, administrators would consider modifications such as splitting the group into multiple committees. He added that the success of the UOC will largely depend on its new chair.
Joel Sircus ’14, a current member of the UOFC, said details of how the UOC will work with administrators will need to be determined during the new committee’s inaugural year. He added that the responsibilities the UOC will assume make “inherent sense,” as they will formalize the committee’s control over decisions it already makes.
“It doesn’t make sense that our decisions should be governed by [the YCC], to which none of us were elected,” he said.
The UOFC gave out $90,000 to more than 300 student organizations last semester.