With debate among Freshman Class Council members over the pre-orientation program Cultural Connections, the FCC plans to poll freshmen about all pre-orientation programs, leaders said.
The FCC will put a poll on yalestation.org to gauge student opinion on pre-orientation programs. Cultural Connections has been a point of dissension in meetings, FCC leaders said. Some students said they believed non-minority students should be allowed to attend Cultural Connections, while other students said they thought the program should not be changed.
In the past, Cultural Connections has provided pre-orientation activities for minority students. Other pre-orientation programs include Freshman Outdoor Orientation Trips, or FOOT; Freshperson Conference; and Orientation for International Students, or OIS.
FCC Chairman Steven Syverud ’06 said the Council wants to gauge the opinions of freshmen because they were the most recent participants in the programs.
“We felt it was an issue of importance to the freshman class,” Syverud said. “[The poll] should be able to give kind of a more comprehensive look at pre-orientation programs — As of right now we’re just trying to get initial reactions.”
Syverud said Cultural Connections has received a lot of attention in FCC discussions.
“We realize it’s a divisive issue,” Syverud said. “We don’t have a stance on Cultural Connections — If we wanted to develop a stance, we wanted it to be what all the freshmen felt.”
FCC Vice Chairwoman Sarah Cannon ’06 said pre-orientation programs play an important role in engineering the spirit of a class, so the poll is important for everyone.
Tiffany Clay ’06, chairwoman of the FCC Issues Committee, said Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg had compiled a list of questions she would like to see on the poll.
“The Issues Committee really didn’t want to stay away from controversial issues,” Clay said. “Our goal in creating the poll was to gauge the opinions of those people we represent.”
Clay, who is contributing reporter for the Yale Daily News, said that if a preponderance of freshmen feels the same about an issue, the FCC will report it to organizations at Yale that can effect the change.
Cole Carnesecca ’06 did not attend a pre-orientation program. He said he thinks Cultural Connections should include students of all backgrounds, not just minorities. He said the current program puts a division between ethnicities.
“It’s also important that those who aren’t labeled a minority have a chance to participate in [a program] like that,” Carnesecca said.
Sherman Jones ’06 attended Cultural Connections. He said allowing non-minority students to attend Cultural Connections would defeat the purpose of the program. He said Cultural Connections is supposed to ease the transition into college for minorities and that other programs exist for everyone. Jones emphasized that the current policy is not meant to be a rejection of other students.
“Being a minority student — it helps to have a particular program to help that transition,” Jones said.
It is easier for students of the majority to meet other people at Yale, Jones said. Cultural Connections brings minorities together, he added.
Syverud said a committee will decide in the spring what to do with the pre-orientation programs.