More than 100 Yale community members gathered in Beinecke Plaza on Friday to participate in a public “speak-out” that covered a broad variety of issues, ranging from Yale’s sexual climate to its financial aid policy.
Organized by Students Unite Now (SUN), a group of undergraduates dedicated to promoting change in Yale and New Haven, the demonstration brought 13 student speakers who shared stories and discussed concerns about issues related to University life, including a lack of transparency and limited student involvement in University administration.
“I was really excited to see so many people here,” said Sarah Cox ’15, committee member and organizer of SUN. “We are right next to Woodbridge Hall, surrounded by all this power — to speak truth to that is really intimidating, so I’m proud of everyone who got up and spoke today,” she said.
Four people at the speak-out said that the presence of several police officers was unnecessary, but the gathering proceeded without police interference.
According to Cox, the idea for the speak-out began after the group drafted their charter last December outlining the issues they planned to address as an organization.
Ben Crosby ’14, Ward 1 Democratic co-chair and SUN member, also spoke to participants, encouraging students to be more involved in the New Haven community and the University to be more mindful of the city in its development projects. And Ned Downie ’14, SUN committee member and a senior editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine, spoke out on eliminating the student contribution for financial aid students.
“We care about making this place more equal,” Downie said of SUN, adding that the student contribution is one issue that puts financial aid students at a disadvantage and promotes this inequity. SUN committee member Tom Stanley-Becker ’13, said that SUN is considering centering their campaign on this issue for the rest of the year.
SUN was created in the spring of 2012 and has since worked on many issues, including the presidential search last semester.