The Yale administration loves to boast about how its vibrant extracurricular life fosters a strong sense of community on campus. Now, the university is exiling many of its biggest clubs from their longtime homes.
On Thursday, Mar. 30, our organizations — the Herald, the Record, the Yale Political Union, and others — received an email from Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Hannah Peck informing us that we have until the end of the year to vacate our on-campus office spaces.
Our groups, with no help from the administration, have made these rooms our homes. Sure, there might not be functioning air conditioning in some of the rooms in 305 Crown St. And yes, to the administrative eye, maybe our stacks of old issues, crumpled-up food wrappers and posters from events decades in the past seem like trash. To us, they are part of our identity and history.
Yale has shown no interest in supporting our clubs’ efforts to clean up, refurnish, or revitalize these spaces — we’ve undertaken these efforts on our own. Now that’s all being taken away. The administration seems to think that our clubs can continue to function no matter where we are. But if this removal goes through, it will tear at the seams of our communities. Our groups aren’t just machines churning out content and hosting events; they have brought us together with our closest friends and enriched life and learning at Yale for our members and the campus at large.
In her email, Peck wrote, “Shifting the on-campus spaces to shared storage space will benefit many groups and remove the inequities that were often attached to the assigning of offices or meeting rooms to specific, often older, student organizations.” So who are these landed elites that the administration plans to eject from their ill-begotten homes in a quest to rectify inequities? In short, some of the most accessible extracurricular activities on campus, and ones primarily focused on creative self-development.
Our organizations are committed to accessibility; two of them are explicitly devoted to advancing freedom of expression and facilitating the exchange of ideas. Anyone can walk in and join. In the context of an increasingly bureaucratic and professionalized student culture of rushing, pledging, heeling and tapping, our open doors mean something. We’ve grown up in these spaces — as members of clubs, but also as people. On a campus where so many things seem to be exclusive, elitist, competitive, and rigorous, these groups welcomed us and offered us spaces we could call home.
Meanwhile, any group wealthy and established enough to own their own space — frats, the Yale Daily News, societies — will be unaffected. Per Dean Peck’s email, this is a matter of ensuring every group has equitable storage space. So the administration has offered each club a single shelf for storage. That is not enough to meet our needs — nor any other club’s. The administration is prioritizing a simplistic conception of fairness above practical concerns about what sort of space and resources each club actually requires.
Our organizations provide important avenues for undergraduate learning, community, and creativity. In our offices, countless skills, friendships, and careers have been forged. In this decision, Yale administration is choosing bureaucratic optimization over community-oriented extracurricular life. Instead of gutting student offices, they should invest in them. If Yale lived up to its values, it would reverse this decision.
The Yale Herald, Editors-in-Chief Josie Steuer Ingall ’24 and Leo Egger ’24
Yale Political Union, President Jean Wang ’24, Speaker Anna Martinelli-Parker ’24
The Yale Record, Editor-in-Chief Clio Rose ’24
The Yale Student Environmental Coalition, Co-Presidents Sebastian Duque ’24 and Madeleine Zaritsky ’25