Several months after the Yale College Council proposed an acquisition of YaleStation, YCC members formally approved the deal Sunday night.
Under the agreement, YaleStation will be a part of the YCC and will be led by a chairman elected by the YCC. In response to worries about conflict of interest, however, YaleStation will no longer serve as host to media organizations WYBC and the Y Network, which Information Technology Services will now carry.
The YCC first debated the issue Feb. 6 but decided to form a committee to explore the issues surrounding an acquisition of YaleStation, specifically ethical problems. Brian Goldman ’05, Sumeyya Ashraf ’04, Raul Ruiz ’03, YaleStation founder Alexander Clark ’04 and the YCC officers formed the committee that presented its comprehensive report to the full council Sunday.
Clark will continue to head YaleStation for the next year, with a co-chairman to be elected in the fall, YCC President Vidhya Prabhakaran ’03 said. The co-chairman can be any undergraduate, but only the YCC will vote in that election. After next year, there will only be one chairman.
At the February meeting, several students raised the issue of whether it would be a conflict of interest for the YCC, a governmental institution, to control the media organizations that YaleStation currently carries. The committee decided to ask ITS to serve as host to the media organizations because ITS now has the necessary technology.
“Evidently [ITS] just purchased streaming media software, so this is something we’ll be seeing in the near future — they’ll be able to extend this capability to all undergrad organizations,” Clark said. “Just like you can request Web space on yale.edu, this will be an additional service that can be requested. One of the things that is very important is that we don’t drop the services that we’re providing for [WYBC and the Y Network]; we don’t want to leave them in the dark.”
Prabhakaran said the YaleStation Web site will not change significantly now that it is under the auspices of the YCC.
“It’s going to remain the same; there will be a little byline underneath the YaleStation logo that says something like ‘a project of the Yale College Council,'” Prabhakaran said. “We are going to be adding stuff fairly soon — the two major things being a ride board so people can collaborate on cabs — so that will go up fairly soon, and other services like surveys and election software will get a little bit more use.”
YCC Secretary Ryan Sheely ’04 said he has been working on improving the YCC Web site all year, but had run into problems when Clark was busy with the other facets of YaleStation. Now that the YCC owns YaleStation, he said, he believes the site will be updated more quickly.
“With finally a formalized relationship with YaleStation, we’ll be able to use it and tailor it even more to students and it will help the YCC’s online presence,” Sheely said.
Clark said that though WYBC and the Y Network will be run on Yale technology, they will not be subject to any new regulations. He said there also should not be any new perceived ethical issues, because the media organizations already have to follow ITS regulations.
YCC Rep. Natalia Oberti Noguera ’05 abstained from voting on the issue, she said, because she felt there were other alternatives available.
“I agree with increasing technology’s role in the YCC,” Noguera said in an e-mail. “[I was] still unclear on how involuntary censoring — when there exists a fine line between something illegal and something protected by the Bill of Rights, and one could go either way — was truly going to be prevented, I felt hesitant to approve such a resolution.”
YCC Rep. Andrew Klaber ’04 also abstained from voting because he said he felt some situations could still arise that would create a conflict of interest.
“As it stands right now, YaleStation runs links to various [Yale Daily News] articles,” Klaber said. “It could happen in the future that if the [News] wrote something negative about the YCC, the YCC could, instead of removing a specific article, could remove the whole Web linking service.”
Klaber said that when he raised his concern at the meeting, others said they felt the undergraduate population would keep the YCC accountable.
Clark said he was pleased with the proposal overall and he thought the undergraduate community would be better served because of it.
“I think we came up with a very good proposal which keeps the interests of YaleStation and the council in mind, as well as the constituents’ interests,” Clark said.