YCC overhauls constitution

After months of brainstorming and deliberations, the Yale College Council has a new constitution.

The YCC’s new constitution — which has been ratified by council members and was approved by the Yale College Dean’s Office this weekend — officially institutionalized an altered scheme that the YCC has been transitioning into since June 2013. Changes include expanding the Council through the addition of more subsidiary teams and committees, introducing a production and design team to create infographics and posters for communication with the student body and instituting a programming team chiefly responsible for the YCC’s website. The constitution also enlarges the YCC Executive Board from six elected positions to 10 positions — four elected and six appointed.

YCC President Danny Avraham ’15 said the reforms were meant to clarify the Council’s role and to ensure that the body remains active and influential.

“When I began my term, I really identified a series of fundamental flaws in the organizational structure of the YCC,” Avraham said, adding that there was a lack of clarity in the procedures outlined.

This year’s Executive Board began redesigning the constitution after its election in June 2013, Avraham said. Without going against the constitution at the time, the Council also began reforming its structure and procedures in practice. The new constitution will reflect these changes, which Avraham said “will endure for years to come” as a result.

One notable new position on the board is that of the chief of staff, whose duties include managing communication throughout the Council and Executive Board and planning Council meetings. Connor Feeley ’16 has taken on the position’s duties as the YCC’s internal affairs manager, which he said is an unofficial position that will be replaced in the next YCC cycle by the chief of staff.

Feeley said his position also includes an advising component that allows him to work closely with Avraham in planning major events and initiatives. This new role is necessary, he said, because of the YCC’s increased activity and amount of projects.

“[The YCC’s] functions expanded pretty dramatically this year,” Feeley said. “There’s a lot of strain on the board members.” He added that the appointment of a chief of staff is a good way to efficiently allocate responsibilities that were previously split among other board positions.

The new constitution also established three positions to coordinate Council projects within each of the three broad areas that YCC is working to improve: academics, student life and University services.

Academics Chair David Lawrence ’15 said that these roles are necessary not only because of the increased volume of projects this year, but also because assigning specific long-term policy changes to individuals — rather than committees, as done before — increases efficiency. The new structure, he said, allows him to oversee and help push through a broad scope of academics-related projects, as individual project managers are more accountable for their tasks.

But only three of 11 students interviewed said they were aware of the YCC’s constitutional review. No students said they followed the details of the reform.

Upon hearing a brief summary of the reforms, students were generally receptive of the YCC’s initiative to improve its internal structure, especially the expansion of its oversight of the Undergraduate Organizations Committee. Some said they were concerned with the newly created appointed positions.

Andres Valdivieso ’16 said he was unsure about the two elected positions — communications director and student organizations director — that were changed to appointed positions.

Avraham said it is unnecessary to have students vote on all positions.

“You can’t overburden students with public elections,” he said. “There’s just not enough interest in the positions to have them vote for every board member.” He added that there are checks in place to ensure that the appointed board is qualified, adequately representative of the student body and held accountable for their actions.

Other changes that the revised constitution made include the consolidation of all elections — excluding class council elections — into the month of April.

The new YCC constitution now totals 29 pages, whereas the former constitution totaled 12.

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