Attracted by door prizes, free pizza or Yale College Council responsibilities, approximately 50 students attended a “study break” hosted by two members of the University’s Business Services Task Force Wednesday night in the Silliman College dining hall.
The task force wanted to solicit the students’ input on administrative areas ranging from computing to custodial services. Yale Controller Cary Scapillato, a member of the task force, said there will probably be eight or nine more meetings with students — five in residential colleges, one on Old Campus, one with graduate students and one or two in the professional schools. All undergraduate students will be invited to one of these meetings, he said.
“We’re trying to get [opinions from] a representative sample of undergraduates, graduate students and the professional schools,” Scapillato said.
The other meetings will be held after spring break, Scapillato said.
Students spoke with volunteers from Yale’s administration and filled out brief questionnaires about a variety of issues. Yale Provost’s office director Ray Novak, the other member of the task force who attended the meeting, said the meeting yielded “good comments” from students on issues ranging from financial aid to health care.
About half of the students in attendance were YCC representatives. YCC president Elliot Mogul ’05, who said attending the study break was mandatory for members of the council, said representatives had come to share the complaints they had heard within their colleges and around Yale.
“I think its great that [Yale Vice President for Finance and Administration] John Pepper is setting these up, and I hope students take advantage of all of these,” Mogul said.
Scapillato said Silliman Master and Council of Masters chairwoman Judith Krauss volunteered to host the first of these meetings after the task force approached the council. In some respects, the selection of TD and Silliman was fortunate because both colleges house students from all four undergraduate classes, Scapillato said.
He said this meeting and the others to follow comprise phase one of the task force’s role — developing an inventory of problems and prioritizing them — which he said would hopefully be finished by May. In phase two, Scapillato said, the University will begin to address three to five large issues and develop a plan for the smaller ones.
YCC Representative Andrew Schram ’06 said many of the complaints he had heard about Yale centered around students’ lack of knowledge about who they can contact to get help. Schram said he had spoken at the custodial services table about creating a phone number for custodial emergencies.
David Gershkoff ’06, who is another YCC representative, said he went to the security table to discuss expanding ID card access to all entryways and requiring all students using laptops to register their computers with the STOP program before being allowed to use the Yale network.
Some students came to the meeting with simpler problems.
“We have a lack of condiments [in the dining hall] at the moment,” Sabina Ahmed ’06 said.
Ahmed and fellow TD student Juliette Vartikar ’06 said the college’s dining room had recently been rearranged and items that had been conveniently located previously were now difficult to find.
Other students were there more to satisfy a craving than solve a complaint. Paul Schaffer ’07 said he did not really have any problems he wanted the administration to address.
“I was hungry,” Schaffer said.
Other members of the task force are interviewing members of the administration, faculty and staff, Scapillato said.
Pepper said the Energy Task Force also plans to meet with students.