This past week, Yale notified student groups that they have until the end of the school year to leave their offices in 305 Crown St. The University is converting the building to “shared storage space,” which will ostensibly “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.”

Among the groups evicted are The Yale Herald, The Yale Record and the Yale Political Union, all of which will lose the spaces they have occupied for decades. But worry not, each of these groups, along with many others, will be granted one shelf for storage (surely enough to run a publication). More importantly, according to the administration, the decision will make Yale more “equitable.” 

It’s almost hard to tell if “equity” is just an excuse — a buzzword meant to gain traction with the liberal student body — or if Yale has actually fallen for its own warped logic. Given Yale’s recent decision to end summer storage for nearly the same reason (discrepancies in the amount of space offered across residential colleges), I am inclined to believe that the university is sincere in its belief that a more equitable world is one in which not some, but none of our student groups have office space.

Yale’s decision is a gross misunderstanding of equity itself. What they have created by allocating each group one shelf is a state of equality, in which everyone’s resources are the same. Equity, on the other hand, is the idea of giving people the resources they need to achieve their specific goals. For example, Yale should provide someone five feet tall with a one-foot step stool to see over the same wall that a six foot tall person can see over just fine on his own. By extension, a publication should have access to printers and an editorial space, while a climbing group should have access to gear and a rock wall. Equity means creating a state of equal opportunity. It acknowledges as its premise a state in which we are all different and therefore have different needs.

What Yale has done in converting 305 Crown into shared storage is wipe away difference and create an Orwellian state in which all clubs are equal, but some clubs are more equal than others — those being the societies, frats and publications (including the YDN) that are wealthy enough to land themselves. As affected student groups have already pointed out in both the YDN and the Yale Herald, Yale’s decision in fact exacerbates existing inequalities by equalizing all groups except the chosen few. 

Unfortunately, this situation is only one example of universities across the country misemploying current liberal terms and goals towards comically misguided policies. Recently, Stanford sparked controversy for its “Protective Identity Harm” system, which allows students to anonymously report their peers for exhibiting problematic behavior. While intended to prevent discrimination, the tool very quickly becomes reminiscent of the East German police state, with neighbors reporting on neighbors.

To Yale’s administration: stop tripping over yourselves to make your campus completely “equitable.” Not only will you never achieve your goal, but, as much as we sometimes hate to admit it, Yale is a place that celebrates difference, for all the exceptional creativity, intelligence, and, yes, inequality, it engenders. Inequity is another story — try where you can to provide students with what they need to succeed. But next time you want to help your student groups, try asking the student body first before creating a solution in search of a problem. Then, perhaps provide some of our campus’s newer organizations with more money to start out, or even with their own spaces to occupy. A world where everyone has a shot at an office looks a whole lot better to me than one where no one does. 

To Yale’s students: if you want to help your peers and their organizations, first you can sign this petition to keep the office spaces in 305 Crown. Next, let’s be careful what we wish for. The sad truth is, Yale either thought we wanted this, or thought the term equity alone would be enough to stop us from criticizing their decision (anyone who did would surely be problematic, for who doesn’t support equity?). In many ways, we have created a culture in which certain words are enough to inoculate a policy. We are showing Yale that this is not the case. Now, let’s show each other: if we want Yale to engage in open discussion with us, we need to engage with each other. There should never be a word, phrase, or opinion that ends a conversation, whether regarding equity, race, free speech or anything else. There is no one right answer, and there is certainly no one way our campus or our world should look. Let us fight for progress, not perfection. Let us seek reasonable incremental solutions, not revolutionary overhaul. Let us pursue a more equitable world, not an entirely equal one. 

Hard as we try, we are never going to reach utopia. Let’s just try to avoid dystopia along the way. 


ARIANE DE GENNARO is a sophomore in Branford College. Her column “For Country, For Yale” provides “pragmatic and sometimes provocative perspectives on relevant issues in Yale and American life.” Contact her at