After a heated debate Wednesday night, the Yale College Council delayed a decision on a proposed acquisition of the online portal YaleStation.org. The council instead passed a resolution stating that it will form an exploratory committee to determine the implications of a union between the YCC and YaleStation.
YCC Vice President EB Kelly ’03 first proposed a comprehensive resolution that outlined the details of the acquisition of YaleStation and the responsibilities of the YaleStation liaison committee. The YCC representatives later agreed on a resolution to form a committee before making a final decision.
“This is what I expected,” YCC President Vidhya Prabhakaran ’03 said. “I think it went well. We got the ball rolling and will be able to check out the legal ramifications if it becomes a sure thing.”
YaleStation, founded by Alexander Clark ’04, conducted the YCC officers’ elections last spring and the last two representative elections. YaleStation has also posted two Spring Fling related surveys for the YCC.
Clark said the YCC’s acquisition of YaleStation was his idea.
“I want to have YaleStation still around after I’m gone,” Clark said. “If it’s independent, it might not be around because it’s not old enough — I also recognized that our missions are very compatible. YaleStation will be much more grounded for future times.”
Several representatives raised questions about the resolution as it originally stood, and recommended consulting legal experts. Some were worried about the implications for the future when new officers might not use the Web site for its current intended use.
YCC Representative Andrew Klaber ’04 suggested that the YCC simply contract with YaleStation to do elections and surveys because of the perception of a conflict of interest.
While YCC Representative Andrew Allison ’03 said he was in favor of the acquisition of YaleStation, and saw the need for an online portal for the YCC. He said his personal preference would be to not ally with YaleStation affiliates Teli and WYBC.
After a motion to table, Kelly suggested they should just pass a resolution to form an exploratory committee.
“No one here wants to rush ahead with something that’s not well-researched,” Kelly said.
The resolution passed with 20 in favor, three against, and three abstaining. Two representatives were absent.
Several vocal guests, including current and former editors of the Yale Daily News, raised the issue of whether YCC should be aligned with an undergraduate organization because of a perceived conflict of interest. Though the resolution explicitly stated that the YCC would not censor any of the content of YaleStation affiliates, such as WYBC and Teli, several people were concerned that the affiliates would censor themselves because of the YCC affiliation.
Chris Michel ’03, editor in chief of the News, compared the acquisition to a merger of Congress and PBS. Whether YCC exerted any editorial control over YaleStation and its affiliates, he said, people would still perceive that the media outlets were serving YCC’s interests.
“Independent undergraduate organizations such as Teli and WYBC shouldn’t be allied with government,” Michel said.
Kelly acknowledged that Michel made a good point about perceived objectivity, but said YaleStation is a valuable service to the Yale community.