Regina Sung, Photo Editor

On Wednesday, the University’s student organization team announced via email to student organization leaders that they were lifting the 20-person cap on in-person meetings. New club sports guidelines also allow exemptions for games and practices.

In an email sent to the leaders of student organizations, the group announced that, as long as current Yale and Connecticut health guidelines are met, student groups can hold in-person meetings that exceed 20 people. In order to have more than 20 people at a meeting, all attendees must be masked, no food may be served and the meeting must have a time limit of 90 minutes. According to new gathering rules for club sports also released on Wednesday, club sports will also be allowed to apply for exemptions from the 20-person and 50-person capacity limits.

“The Student organizations team is always striving to help student groups thrive on campus,” Assistant Dean and Director of Student Affairs Hannah Peck wrote in the email to the News. “In this instance, we wanted to make it simple for groups to run their basic meetings. We are hopeful that the public health situation will continue to improve and groups will be able to reinstate even more of their regular activities over the course of the year.”

In the past, student organizations were only permitted to host in-person meetings of up to 20 people, making in-person activities particularly challenging for some organizations. The new regulations now allow student organizations to reserve classroom space on campus for meetings with over 20 students.

Another significant change in the policy is that student organizations may now invite visitors for short-term events to the extent that they follow the visitor regulations. On-campus visitors are required to be fully vaccinated and a faculty or staff member must serve as the host in order to ensure compliance with all the regulations.

“This policy is meant to allow for guest speakers who further an educational purpose but is not meant to bring visitors to campus to simply attend an event,” the email to club leaders said.

The requirements for student groups include abiding by the universitywide mask mandate, restricting attendance to only group members, ensuring a large enough room capacity for students who wish to distance and keeping the meeting time under 90 minutes.

There are also a series of new registration requirements: The meeting itself must be registered via Yale Connect, and it must be held in spaces reserved through the Registrar’s Office.

Bayan Galal, president of the Yale College Council, expressed her support for the policy change.

“We are pleased to see the update in restrictions on student organizations,” she wrote in an email to the News. “This means that the YCC will be able to begin meeting in person again, after a year and a half of virtual Senate meetings. The first in person Senate meeting is scheduled for this Sunday, September 26, and we are eager for YCC members to once again be able to meet in person.”

Diba Ghaed ’24, the director of events for the YCC, further added that this change “signifies an anticipated return to a more normal Yale and a revitalization of student life.”

“These updated policies open the door to new opportunities for all student organizations,” wrote President of the Yale Debate Association Alexander Gordon ’22 in an email to the News. “I look forward to resuming many in-person activities while continuing to uphold public health and safety guidelines.”

Daevan Mangalmurti ’24, the co-president of Dwight Hall Socially Responsible Investment Fund, said in an email to the News that he, too, is excited about the possibilities that these new rules open up.

“At DHSRI, we appreciated the release of the updated rules and especially of certain changes that make it easier to engage with partners outside of Yale — like those pertaining to travel and short-term visitors,” he said. “Moving forward, those changes will help us achieve our goal of more frequent SRI-focused events and a revitalization of our relationship with other college SRI funds.”

He noted, however, that there will be challenges ahead with regard to in-person activity.

“It remains to be seen, of course, how viable the rules on gatherings will be, and how much the university will do to support organizations seeking to return to activities as commonplace as weekly meetings,” Mangalmurti wrote. “There are a limited number of spaces for clubs on Yale’s campus, and greater and more dedicated support will be extremely helpful if student organizations are to remain healthy and active this year while still operating within pandemic guidelines.”

New gathering rules for club sports were also announced on Wednesday. According to an email to club sport captains sent by Tom Migdalski, the director of club sports, undergraduate intramurals and the outdoor education center, club sports will also be allowed to apply for exemptions from the 20-person and 50-person capacity limits. Exemptions can be granted if a team has met all other COVID-19 guidelines and if the exemption benefits students by allowing Yale teams or their opponents to host additional attendees at a practice or game.

Galal also noted that this shift does not go so far as to permit full in-person events, and therefore, “the status of in person YCC events for the general student body is still in flux.”

Despite these changes, the regulations on organizations involving children and youth will still be required to meet virtually.

Philip Mousavizadeh covers Woodbridge Hall, the President's Office. He previously covered the Jackson Institute. He is a sophomore in Trumbull College studying Ethics, Politics, and Economics