YDC overhauls constitution

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Photo by William Freedberg.

The Yale Drama Coalition plans to have a new website and a new constitution by the end of this academic year.

The YDC is currently in the midst of enacting several reforms that aim to make the organization’s resources more accessible and its electoral process more democratic. The overhaul of the organization’s website — scheduled to be launched in early May — will include changes to the process of reserving tickets for shows as well as the options for categorizing various types of productions, among other updates. The new constitution, which is being ratified this week, will allow any student who has attended at least two YDC board meetings to participate in the annual electoral process of selecting members of the YDC executive board.

“We have reached a point where we are representing a large part of the undergraduate student body to the administration,” YDC Vice President Skyler Ross ’16 said. “In order to truly say that we are representative of this community, we needed a new election process.”

Under the new constitution, Ross said, five out of the 14 board members — the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and publicity chair — will be elected by the previous board and members of the community who have met the requirements for board meeting attendance. ​

YDC Secretary Eli Block ’16 explained that the previous electoral process involved a nomination system in which students on the YDC mailing panlist, which currently numbers over 900 students, were given the opportunity to nominate themselves or others for YDC board positions. The existing board would then consider the nominations and elect the new board without direct participation from the wider community, Block said. He added that the current board, as well as previous boards, felt that this process was not sufficiently transparent or democratic.

Eliza Robertson ’17, YDC special events coordinator, said the election reforms are part of the YDC’s broader aim to involve the entire performing arts community in its decisions. Block noted that the YDC currently receives much of its feedback indirectly — through informal conversations between individual students and their friends who are involved with the YDC.

The organization’s website, which was last redesigned in early 2013, is also undergoing several key changes. Block said the YDC is currently working with the Yale College Dean’s Office as well as with the web development group Common Media to build a new site that will improve the way information about productions is shared among members of the performing arts community and with the general public. One new feature will allow producers to send reminders to those who have reserved tickets to a particular show, Ross said. Block explained that in the past, some would reserve tickets weeks in advance and then forget to cancel their reservations after discovering that they were unable to attend a performance.

Another new website feature will allow students involved with performances to categorize their shows using a variety of labels for different forms of performing arts, such as ‘comedy’ and ‘dance.’ Block explained that since Fall 2013, the YDC has allowed all performance groups, including ones that do not specialize in theater — such as improv and dance groups — to advertise their shows on the YDC website.

This feature will allow the YDC to further centralize information about all types of performing arts productions on campus into one website and help users to quickly find the types of shows they are interested in attending, Block said. While these options will be available, Block noted, their use will not be mandatory.

“There is so much diversity in the performing arts community that we did not want to force people into specific categories,” Block said.

The Yale Drama Coalition was founded in 1999.

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