In a move that marks the most sweeping restructuring of Yale’s student government since 2003, members of the Yale College Council and the Yale Student Activities Committee overwhelmingly voted to eliminate YSAC and replace it with a committee, led by YCC, that will henceforth organize the annual Spring Fling concert.
The 16 to 20 member YCC Concert Committee, to be composed of students and YCC representatives, will be responsible for planning all aspects of Spring Fling. YCC will assume control over other events traditionally run by YSAC, such as Mr. Yale and the Fall Show.
After nearly two hours of debate Sunday, the YCC voted 17-4 to pass the resolution to eliminate YSAC and create the concert committee. In a separate session, YSAC decisively passed the same resolution, voting 6-0 for its approval, with two abstentions and four absent members.
YSAC was founded five years ago as an experimental way to separate the issues-oriented goals of the YCC from its events-planning duties. Since that time the YCC has slowly begun to plan events of its own, this year taking on projects such as the Yale Votes panels and an Iron Chef cooking event in November.
“YCC created YSAC mostly to handle Spring Fling. Then YSAC eventually created the Spring Fling committee to handle it,” YSAC Chair Colin Leatherbury ’09 said. “We’re finally happy with the results so we’re going to merge back together now.”
During the next round of YCC representative elections in September, each college will elect one “events” representative and one “issues” representative to the YCC. Events representatives will get preference for assignment to project groups that deal with planning events, though they do not need to work exclusively on events. Issues representatives will similarly get preference for working on longer-term initiatives, such as expanding late-night dining options and implementing academic minors.
Beyond the 2009-’10 academic year, there will be no distinction between each of the 24 representatives. Leatherbury said this graduated solution would ensure that next year’s YCC maintains an interest in events planning. But the two roles will be integrated later, Leatherbury said, to ensure that division does not undermine the goals of student government to fully integrate the two groups.
“There’s a door left open for all the YSAC people to come back on the united body,” Leatherbury said.
The position of YSAC chair will be recast as the “Director of Events,” who will be a member of the executive board effective for this year’s election cycle.
The resolution stipulates that the YCC must continue to put on events such as the annual wing eating contest, held at this year’s Yale-Princeton football game, and the Winter Formal dance unless a two-thirds majority of the YCC votes against organizing the events. The concert committee will consist of YCC representatives and interested students selected at-large by the YCC executive board. The director of events and the YCC president will co-chair the committee, which will share the YCC’s budget.
Leatherbury said he and Tao began discussing the proposal two months ago when they realized that the Spring Fling Talent Search Committee, a newcomer to this year’s Spring Fling organizing process, was “working well.”
The success of that committee left Tao and Leatherbury questioning the purpose of YSAC, both said. Given that YCC was also planning its own events, Leatherbury said, YSAC’s existence seemed redundant.
YCC Vice President Emily Schofield ’09 drafted the proposal that passed Sunday, which had garnered the support of the entire YCC executive board by last week.
Calhoun YSAC Representative and Spring Fling Co-chair Natasha Sarin ’11 said while she was initially opposed to the proposal, the addition of specific “events” and “issues” representatives convinced her that the YCC would preserve an events focus. Sarin said she is considering running for the new position of director of events.
Ezra Stiles YCC Representative Vidhur Sehgal ’10 voted against the proposal in part, he said, because he thought the two-year plan was excessively drawn out. Because the plan would take two years to fully develop, he said, no current student government representative would be able to evaluate the plan’s success.