Number of registered student organizations drops by half

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Photo by Philipp Arndt.

At the end of October, over 600 student organizations were officially registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office (YCDO). Now, fewer than 300 of these groups will retain their registered status.

All returning student organizations this year were required to both renew their registration through an online form and send three members to leadership workshops sponsored by the YCDO by the end of October. On Nov. 1, all groups that failed to renew their registration via the online form were automatically removed from the list of student organizations on the YCDO website. According to John Meeske, associate dean for student organizations and physical resources, the groups that failed to fulfill the second requirement — having three representatives attend leadership workshops — will soon be individually removed from the official list of organizations.

As of Wednesday, only 279 organizations met both requirements and are therefore still considered registered with the Dean’s Office, Meeske said, adding that 177 groups fulfilled one requirement but not the other, and 161 did not fulfill either requirement at all.

To gauge student opinions on the YCDO’s newly enforced policies, the Undergraduate Organizations Committee (UOC) sent a survey with questions about organization registration to all student leaders. Ben Ackerman ’16, chair of the UOC, said students have mostly expressed frustration with the leadership trainings.

“Even though the desire of administrators to positively impact campus culture is understandable, it is clear that the workshops, should they continue in future years, need to be improved significantly,” Ackerman said, adding that students also expressed concern about the online registration system.

Vijay Narayan ’15, musical director of Sur et Veritaal — a South Asian a cappella group — said that his group narrowly avoided losing its registered status, as it almost missed the renewal deadline. In addition, Narayan said, he did not particularly enjoy the leadership trainings.

Students interviewed said they were concerned with glitches in the registration system and with the lack of clear communication between the YCDO and student leaders. While Meeske acknowledged that there was a problem in the system that caused groups that renewed their registrations in August to be dropped from the official listing, he said he believes that all of the inconsistencies had since been rectified.

But Kornvuthi Lapprathana ’15 and Rebecca Modiano ’16, co-presidents of The Myanmar Project, expressed surprise upon learning that their group was not listed on the YCDO website, despite having registered this year. After an email conversation with Meeske, the leaders found out that their registration was — like many others — lost in the computer system because they reregistered in August. Modiano called the YCDO process disorganized, adding that she knows of many other organizations that encountered similar issues.

Ackerman said the UOC has been in close contact with the YCDO regarding the newly enforced policies and processes for student groups.

“We are excited that the Dean’s Office has agreed to a significant review of student organization policy, including that of group registration,” Ackerman said. “These new policies, among other things, will make the registration process much simpler for students and their organizations.”

Ackerman and Meeske also said that the Dean’s Office is looking to adopt new technologies so that the student registration process can be streamlined. With better software, Meeske said, there will be less confusion about registration status or the number of students represented at the leadership trainings from each organization.

Meeske also said he is hopeful that an improved system can eventually be adopted by the professional and graduate schools.

Student organizations that are not registered with the YCDO cannot receive funding from the UOC or make room reservations in University buildings.

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