~Peter Lu, BK ’11
AASA would love to endorse for YCC elections (we really would) but there’s a bit of a conflict of interest. The number of Asian Americans running, especially those who have served on previous AASA boards before, might skew our judgment, so we’re not going to give our opinions. We will, though, go straight to the source: We’ve asked the candidates how they would increase collaboration with the Asian American community. Below are the responses, from the President and Secretary positions (note that VP and Treasurer are more internal positions, and thus have little relevance to AASA):
The YCC in past years have had no tangible connection to the cultural communities at Yale. What planks in your platform would you say benefit the Asian American / general ethnic community?
And our responses, in order of them being received:
Ryan Beauchamp, Presidential Candidate:
One of the central goals of my platform is to establish a liaison program that would assign YCC representatives to be in regular communication with cultural organizations, such as AASA, (as well as other student groups on campus) so that we can get your feedback and learn about what we can do for you guys in the future. Next year will be a particularly important year for the YCC to be in regular communication with AASA, as the YCDO’s peer liaison program is put into place. Together, it will be our job to ensure that this is a sufficient replacement for the ethnic counselor position that will be eliminated next year.
More generally, I think the liaison program I have laid out will be an important step in improving the relationship between YCC and student groups that haven’t had much contact in past years, so that YCC can better fulfill its role of representing students here on campus. Simply put, the YCC has important resources that could be better taken advantage of if the YCC is working alongside Yale’s student organizations, and I hope to make that a reality next year.
Jonathan Wu, Presidential Candidate:
The YCC needs to take a stance on student issues beyond just creating a liaison program (a course which was already attempted by the 07-08 board). Liaisons to student groups are great in theory, but in reality simply create a channel of communication that isn’t enough to facilitate conversation. After all, students may already go to their college representatives or directly to executive board with grievances, suggestions, and ideas. Instead of symbolically extending an invitation to talk, we need to first actively reach out and engage cultural groups in dialogue, then follow through with action.
We serve as the direct representation of the students, and one of the benefits of the YCC is that our representatives include a wide variety of Yale students, encompassing many different cultures and interests. I hope to work with groups such as the Minority Advisory Council and cultural organizations to host productive discussion forums. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an AASA Forum (“Delving into Performance, Jokes, and Stereotypes”), and as a member of the comedy community, it was really insightful for me to hear individual student opinions on what was and was not deemed to be appropriate in comedy concerning race. With our reach to the greater Yale community, YCC can provide greater participation and immediacy to such causes. YCC has not only the ability, but the responsibility to work with student groups to address concerns. Finally, we can better utilize our direct ties to the administration to advise an institutional response when necessary.
As a former board member of AASA, an African American Studies major, and someone who has been involved in many aspects of cultural life here at Yale, I will continue to be dedicated to promoting cultural understanding and diversity on campus. I want to reach out and involve cultural groups, not just by assigning liaisons, but by proactively meeting with groups and seeing how the YCC can aid their efforts.
Mike Bronfin, Secretary Hopeful:
With its merger with YSAC next year, the YCC will be increasing the projects it will be held responsible for. Given this momentous change, it will be essential that YCC finds a way to increase its productivity, as we will not be expanding our size as a council.
One possible way of overcoming this challenge is to involve student groups in activities and issues which they have an interest or expertise in. This is a win-win situation: YCC benefits from student groups’ specialization, and student groups benefit from the YCC’s role as the voice of the student body.
Next year’s YCC Secretary will have a major role in this initiative of bringing YCC and student groups together, as this position is responsible for YCC’s communications…I plan as YCC Secretary to use my experience…to insure that student groups play a prominent role in most major projects the YCC chooses to take on. In regards to AASA, I would look forward to hearing the group’s ideas on possible initiatives for the YCC, and I would make sure to involve the organization in projects that would be of its interest. Moreover, I would be open to having the YCC help promote awareness of certain key issues that AASA and other cultural centers believe are of importance for the entire Yale community. This could be carried out by our extensive advertising abilities, as well as our close connection with the Yale administration.
Rustin Fakeri, Secretary Hopeful:
One of the first events I attended over Bulldog Days was the buffet in the AACC, and it was a great experience. I recognize how strong a role the cultural centers play on campus, and how integral they are to student life, and as Secretary, I would definitely support the centers and the diversity in background and outlook they represent.
I have enjoyed working on the YCC this year, and I think it accomplished a lot. One thing it has not done very well, however, is communicating effectively with the student body. In improving this as Secretary next year, I think I will create opportunities for other campus organizations to flourish, as well.
One of my main ideas as Secretary is to turn The Chaser, the YCC’s new biweekly newsletter, into a weekly digest of the YCC’s activity and student activities on campus e-mailed to the student body, with one sentence blurbs and contact information for students interested in getting involved in each. This new approach to The Chaser, in which I would publish contact information for students to get involved in YCC initiatives, is one way in which I hope to engage the student body in the YCC.
In addition to publicizing information about YCC and campus activities, I also plan to solicit agenda items from the general student body and encourage students to attend our weekly YCC meetings whenever they are interested in the agenda. I think this is the most important change I plan to enact — I can spend my entire term pursuing issues that I think concern the student body, and I would accomplish a lot, but we would accomplish so much more by empowering students to say what issues concern them and invite those students to join the YCC in pursuing those issues. I have seen how effective our cooperation with the LGBT Coop on campus has been on the issue of gender-neutral housing, and I want the YCC to continue to partner with campus organizations, and I would love for the cultural centers to be among those partners…A safer Yale would encourage more students to leave the center of campus to travel to events at the cultural centers.
I also hope to serve as a liaison between students and student organizations and the administration, especially when there are issues with funding and organization regulations. Though I know that many cultural centers have their own deans, there may still come times when, for whatever reason, the dean is unable or unwilling to help with a certain issue, which is where I would come in. Moreover, I plan to consolidate the information from the Dean’s Office, YCC, and UOFC into one webpage, as well as streamline room reservations and funding applications online. I have web development experience, and I am confident that I will be able to keep the YCC’s website informative, up-to-date, and visually appealing.
Reese Faust, Secretary Hopeful:
I honestly believe that all student groups need their connections to and combined events with the YCC need more visibility on campus. I think relying on Facebook is a fairly lazy way to spread the word of events and talks, because they can get lost in the mass media that is Facebook. I think that by utilizing more physical representation in the form of students who are passionate about their organization and willing to make themselves visible through conspicuous advertisement of events, groups can achieve greater visibility and hopefully greater success.
Victoria Gilcrease, Secretary Hopeful:
One of our member groups, CASA, has endorsed Jon Wu SY’11, Abigail Cheung TD’11, and Murong Yang PC’12. Be sure to vote before Tuesday night at 9pm!