YCC seeks greater role in admin decisions

The Yale College Council, under the leadership of John Gonzalez ’14, is aiming to increase student participation in administrative decisions.
The Yale College Council, under the leadership of John Gonzalez ’14, is aiming to increase student participation in administrative decisions. Photo by Joyce Xi.

As the 2012-’13 Yale College Council executive board ends the first month of its tenure on campus, it aims to increase communication between the council and students as well as between students and administrators.

Members of the YCC executive board said they hope to enhance student participation and input in administrative decisions, beginning with the enforcement of the new off-campus party registration policy and the search for University President Richard Levin’s successor. YCC President John Gonzalez ’14, who was elected last April in a runoff election, said he intends to change the structure of YCC to accommodate more input from the rest of the student body.

“If we have a conversation between students and the administration and then they decide to implement policy, that’s fine,” he said. “But we see a big problem with the YCC finding out the policies at the same time as everyone else.”

In response to concerns that administrators did not solicit enough student input while crafting the off-campus party registration rule — which requires students holding an off-campus party with over 50 attendees to register it with the Yale College Dean’s Office — the YCC plans to form a committee on off-campus life, Gonzalez said. He added that he envisions not just YCC members participating, but also leaders of student organizations, members of the Yale Police Department and representatives from the Dean’s Office such as Marichal Gentry, dean of student affairs, and John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources.

Gonzalez said he has been working with members of the President’s Office to organize an open town hall meeting to facilitate a discussion between Levin and undergraduates. In addition, he said, the YCC would like to work with former YCC President Brandon Levin ’14, student counselor to the Yale Presidential Search Committee, to incorporate more student opinion into the presidential search, because he thinks Brandon Levin’s office hours may not be an “effective” platform.

Other initiatives that the YCC hopes to tackle include extending dining hall open hours for studying and creating a new website, crosscampus.org, which would feature a regularly updated events calendar and a central portal for student created websites, said YCC Secretary Leandro Leviste ’15. He added that this year’s YCC will also build on projects first initiated by last year’s YCC, such as the incorporation of mental health fellows into each residential college and the ongoing effort to extend the Credit/D/Fail deadline by three weeks.

Several students interviewed said they were unclear about the YCC’s objectives this year and the degree to which it can influence administrative policy, adding that their confusion limits their ability to know which ideas or concerns are appropriate to bring to the Council. Reba Watsky ’14 said she would appreciate an effort by the Council to increase its transparency and make students aware of its purview.

“Frankly, I don’t have a really great sense of what the role of the YCC is in relation to the administration,” she said. “So maybe I’d like them to make that more transparent, or maybe I should just do a better job of looking into that.”

Six of eight students interviewed said they thought the YCC should focus less heavily on the off-campus party registration. The two other students who said they were happy that the YCC was addressing the off-campus party registration rule still expressed skepticism that the Council can affect the policy.

Aviva Musicus ’13, who said she supported YCC’s attempts to help shape the registration rule, said she hopes the YCC will also engage administrators in a conversation to further explain the reasoning behind the fall rush ban for Greek organizations — a policy announced by administrators last spring.

“There are many organizations at Yale that have a fall rush, besides fraternities and sororities,” she said. “I think to limit it [the new policy] to fraternities and sororities is kind of discriminatory.”

Elections for the YCC’s 24 representative slots — two from each residential college — opened Thursday at 9 a.m. and close Friday at 9 p.m.

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