Twelve years ago, the Yale College Council created the position of ‘associate’ to encourage students to run for office. But on Dec. 11, 2002, the YCC voted to eliminate that office, dismissing the 15 current associates.
Prior to this semester, any student could be voted into the YCC as an associate after attending three meetings. Senior associates were former representatives or officers who were not elected. Associates were allowed to attend closed meetings, but they had little real power and virtually no voting rights, including the vote that ended their existence. The YCC’s decision does not affect Freshman College Council associates.
When YCC representative Miles Hall ’05 proposed the elimination of associates earlier this school year, YCC vice president Ryan Sheely ’04 said he was skeptical about the idea. But Sheely, who eventually authored the resolution, said he found that the original purpose of the associate position — to bring a broader voice to the council — was never really fulfilled.
“[The resolution] is not going to solve all our problems,” Sheely said, “But it’s an important first step.”
Former senior associate Brian Goldman ’05 was so unhappy with the idea of the resolution that he broke YCC policy and sent out an e-mail the night before the vote expressing his concerns. During the debate, Goldman suggested alternatives to the resolution, such as taking greater care in the selection of associates.
Goldman is a photographer for the Yale Daily News.
Goldman also disagreed with YCC President Andrew Allison ’04, who said the resolution would elevate the profile and increase the responsibilities of representatives.
“The average student does not choose to not run for office because of associates, and the average student does not question the YCC’s credibility because of associates; the average student doesn’t even know that associates exist because they pay no attention to the YCC,” Goldman wrote in an e-mail.
Reuben Grinberg ’05 said while the repeal of associates was a good idea in theory, it was a bad idea in practice.
“The idea is ‘I don’t want someone I didn’t vote for to represent me,'” Grinberg said. “[But] they’re going to have a difficult time getting things done [such as the Winter Ball] without associates.”
Grinberg also said after speaking to many of the YCC members who voted for the elimination of associates, he thought YCC members did not consider the resolution’s effects seriously enough.
“I think one of the main reasons Miles came up with [the resolution] and Ryan went along with it is a lot of people don’t like Alan [Kennedy-Shaffer ’06, one of the associates].”
Sheely said he did not believe Kennedy-Shaffer was a motivating factor in the vote and added that he was a valuable asset to the YCC.
“I hope Alan runs to be a representative in the elections next week,” Sheely said. “I think he’d be an excellent representative. It was not personally motivated at all.”
Kennedy-Shaffer said he was disappointed but not surprised about the YCC’s decision to get rid of associates.
“The purpose of YCC is not to have a meeting and be representatives but to serve the student body,” Kennedy-Shaffer said.
Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee Chair Elliott Mogul ’05, one of the few representatives who opposed the resolution, said the YCC needed associates the way Congress needs policy-makers.
Grinberg said the YCC should focus its efforts on other matters.
“I think the YCC should be working on real things,” Grinberg said.