The News’ report that efforts to provide gender-neutral housing next year have collapsed touched off a firestorm. Scores stayed in symbolic tents on Cross Campus; perhaps more significantly, in just over a day there are over 700 people who are members of the “We Support Gender Neutral Housing at Yale” Facebook group, more than the number that joined a group dedicated to reforming financial aid last year.
Such protests clearly come too late for next year — but they did not have to. The YCC overwhelmingly passed a resolution in favor of gender-neutral housing over a month ago and formed its own committee to investigate the issue, yet student involvement on a grander scale did not begin until after the decision had been handed down.
While I commend the YCC’s efforts, merely passing on its opinions and findings to the administration or even “working with” the administration is not enough. Even on issues as relatively unimportant as housing policy, the YCC would be a far more effective advocate for the student body if it would actively mobilize student support for its proposals as they are submitted, instead of leaving students to organize ad hoc after it is too late.
The hundreds of students willing to offer their support for the plan were left untapped until too late, and the fault for this missed opportunity is entirely the YCC’s. The force of institutional inertia at Yale requires more than proposals to combat. On the next such issue, the YCC should learn from its mistakes on this one.
The writer is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards College.