The Yale Daily News Editorial Board calls upon the University to reconsider its decision to remove student organizations from their on-campus spaces at Crown Street 305 and Welch Hall. The University plans to use the space for storage, arguing that it will remove inequities in assigning offices to specific organizations. However, the Editorial Board argues that the decision feels illogical and that the University should work towards true equity by engaging in conversations with student groups about their needs and investing in improving unsafe buildings instead of exiling students.
The petition “Yale, Let us Keep Our Offices!” has already garnered 1,500 signatures, roughly 23 percent of the student body. As an Editorial Board, we wish to see these efforts not fall on deaf ears. The affected groups include but are not limited to The Yale Record, The Yale Herald, and the Yale Political Union—all of which are sizable organizations that tout a notable presence on Yale’s campus. The Editorial Board condemns Yale’s prioritization of a simplistic understanding of “equity” over the practical considerations of student groups. A University supposedly built on “Light and Truth” is stripping student organizations, specifically several journalistic organizations, of their ability to carry out this exact mission.
In her email to student leaders of the affected organizations, Dean Peck claims that Yale’s argument for the decision to convert the offices into storage space was to “remove the inequities that were often attached to the assigning of offices or meeting rooms to specific, often older, student organizations.” This reasoning feels, at best, disingenuous, if not outright illogical.
The Editorial Board is deeply concerned that the spaces that the Yale College administration looks to when deciding what will be converted into storage are those that create community and friendship on campus. These groups, for generations, have used their physical spaces to bolster bonds and form a sense of community, making spaces like 305 Crown the lifeblood of these organizations.
Additionally, the fact that this decision was made without the consultation of any student groups — neither those housed in 305 Crown nor those who do not have offices — makes the College’s decision appear less like a genuine attempt to rectify inequities and more like a rash, uninformed decision couched in socially acceptable language.
The choice to dismantle these physical spaces, rather than other empty or underutilized spaces on campus that are not already used by student groups, sends a message that the Yale College administration simply does not value the camaraderie and connection that these groups, and the physical spaces they inhabit, create for hundreds of students.
The Editorial Board stands firmly beside the belief that rather than kick students out, the University could work toward true equity by engaging in conversation with student groups about their individual needs, search for storage space on campus in places not actively being used by community-building organizations, and invest in improving the conditions of “unsafe” buildings. If the Yale College administration truly believes that the offices housed in 305 Crown represent unjust inequities by privileging older or larger student groups, then the answer is not to exile the groups that currently have dedicated spaces on campus, but to find ways to expand access to physical spaces on campus for student groups that need it.