To the Editor:
As the longest-serving member of the Yale College Council, I have attended meetings that have become contentious, proposed resolutions whose disposition turned on a single vote and been threatened with impeachment multiple times by officers who didn’t like my candor. Through it all, I believe I have become more devoted to the democratic process, stronger politically and even more popular with the students who have re-elected me time and again. Now, as I prepare to stand for re-election to an unprecedented fourth term, I find my political enemies using an exclusionary policy and parliamentary maneuvers to stymie the will of the council and to push me out.
Deeply embedded within convoluted language in the Yale College Council constitution is a passage that excludes all seniors from standing for election in January of their senior year. Second-semester seniors completing their graduation requirements in December are also excluded from representing their college during their final semester. The current wording of Article X, Section 2(a), which excludes 25 percent of the student body from standing for election in January, runs counter to the fundamentals of a legitimate student government. If the Yale College Council wants to start excluding students, it should be clearly stated and debated at length. Current seniors would most certainly be grandfathered in and permitted to run this coming January.
If the president of the Yale College Council actually wants to start excluding seniors from the January elections, I encourage him to draft an unambiguous constitutional amendment to that effect. As it currently stands, the Yale College Council constitution is legally and morally invalid. We cannot abide by faulty constitutional provisions. Therefore, we should permit any senior who wishes to run in January to do so and then consider this issue at length, keeping in mind that some sort of change is necessary. Perhaps the fact that a majority of those who voted supported the Equal Access Amendment should be a cue that our elected student government should be open and accessible to all students.
It is my hope that Mr. Syverud will see fit to resolve this issue as soon as possible so we can get back to the business of improving life for the students of Yale College.
Alan Kennedy-Shaffer ’06
Dec. 2, 2005
The writer is a representative on the Yale College Council.