Concerned Black Students at Yale called for the reinstatement of the Minority Advisory Committee last spring, but some members said Monday that recently chosen representatives to the MAC do not reflect a committee suitable to address current race issues on campus.
CBS member Shelita Stewart ’04 and other CBS members said they are disappointed that the Yale College Council did not appoint any CBS undergraduate group members to serve on the MAC. CBS members also said they are upset the administration did not invite them to be more involved in the committee’s creation.
Stewart said CBS and members of other student groups such as Muslim Students’ Association and Students for Justice in Palestine called on Yale President Richard Levin to reinstate MAC after controversy surrounding anti-war protests and minority students last year.
Assistant Dean of Yale College and Afro-American Cultural Center Director Pamela George said that without CBS input, the MAC would not exist.
“Without the demands of Concerned Black Students, who met often last spring with President Levin, the Minority Advising Committee would not exist now,” George said. “Even though CBS has worked tirelessly, how ironic that the African American student voice is now the one missing from the table.”
Shana Redmond GRD ’08 said none of the graduate students who were selected are African American. She said because selections were not publicized, she only heard about MAC through CBS.
Levin said the MAC — which includes three undergraduate students, one student from the graduate school and one student representative of the professional schools, faculty and administrators — advises the administration and will consider input from a variety of cultural groups.
“[The MAC’s purpose is] to advise the administration on whether there are specific concerns that minority [groups] have that would require our attention,” Levin said. “It’s not meant to be strictly representative of every minority group. Groups that have concerns will be able to appear before the committee to get their opinions heard.”
Stewart said Levin did not notify CBS that the Yale College Council would interview and select undergraduate representatives to the committee. But there is a lack of minority representation within YCC and it does not make sense that such a group was appointed to choose the members of the MAC, she said.
George said assistant deans and directors of cultural centers were not involved in the selection for the MAC and their opinions were not sought during the selection process.
YCC President Elliot Mogul ’05 said no other minority group has expressed concern to him about the application process.
“Every single applicant was treated fairly and the same as any other,” Mogul said. “Had we had more slots, it would have been much easier to ensure that more groups were represented.”
Mogul said he has repeatedly told President Levin and Glickson to consult the CBS and other student groups and has insisted that MAC consider the views of those groups.
Karintha Holifield ’04, who is a member of CBS, said she completed a MAC application but was not chosen for an interview. Holifield said the application included questions on participation in nonacademic groups and an essay on what made the applicant a particular benefactor in the field of minority issues.
Holifield shared concerns about the lack of under-represented minorities on the YCC.
“As a black student, of course you’re going to be interested in having a black representative, but you’re also interested in having people of color,” she said.
Jason Marshall SOM ’04, a senator in the Graduate and Professional School Senate, said he was asked by the assistant to the president Nina Glickson to appoint the professional schools’ representative on the MAC. Graduate School Assembly chair Chris Mason GRD ’07 said he also received a request from Glickson.
Sonya Winton GRD ’05 said she feels too much energy is being spent by minority groups on campus in efforts to correct misunderstandings.
“With us sitting here and responding to this treatment or the institutional structures, we are constantly expending energy that could be put on other issues that are more pertinent,” Winton said.