When The Politic told me about their op-ed opportunity, I was tempted to copy paste the one I wrote for the YDN, but decided instead to link it here (https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2018/04/08/wang-change-youre-a-part-of/) and write about a few other priorities of mine. Though just in case, I’m Shunhe, a sophomore in Morse, and I’m running to be YCC president.
Let’s talk about New Haven. As a student noted on Facebook yesterday, I am the only candidate to have included the Yale-New Haven relationship on my central platform. Heidegger wrote of “Being-in-the-world,” the idea that we are not simply present spatially, but also essentially, in the world. Similarly, Yale is not simply present spatially in New Haven. We as members of the Yale community have real effects on the city we dwell in, and thus must also assume real responsibilities. Relations between Dwight Hall and YCC really began two years ago with Peter Huang’s presidency, and were strengthened under Matt Guido’s presidency by the UOFC-Dwight Hall Service Grant. I want to continue work with Dwight Hall (my exact policies can be found on my website at www.shunhe4ycc.com) in order to cement the importance of service to New Haven in YCC’s structure, and create a culture on campus where service is a regular part of the Yale experience. A member of the City New Haven Homeless Advisory Board recently reached out to me expressing support of my ideas, and forging a relationship with the city around us is definitely in everyone’s favor.
Financial aid expansions are also an important part of my platform. Let me be completely honest–it is extremely unlikely that the student income contribution is going to be eliminated in the next year. We have to find out other ways to expand financial aid, such as the technology stipend and the winter clothes fund, to move in that direction. One of the ideas I’m suggesting is starting a scholarship fund. Low-income students who are heavily involved in extracurricular activities and who hold leadership positions on campus can apply for the fund, and basically, the fund will subsidize their term-time income contribution so that they have more time to devote to extracurriculars and less time they have to spend working. This fund would remove some of the barriers that traditionally prevent low-income students from applying to leadership positions and thus would have the effect of bringing up their representation in leadership roles across campus. Some groups have similar programs, but others simply don’t have the funding to do so. I would advocate for a campus-wide version of this program, and also institute one in the Yale College Council with a portion of the internal endowment. Also, why is it so hard to tell international students exactly what the tax policies and international tax treaties concerning their financial aid packages are? Students need to know this before they matriculate so that they can make informed decisions.
Now, as for the YCC itself. While it works alright for the time being, there are clearly problems with how it functions. There’s a credibility gap between the YCC gap and PoC groups that stems at least partially from a lack of diversity on YCC itself. Most students don’t know who their YCC representatives are, and when you factor in residential college councils and class councils, it gets even more confusing. Meanwhile, representatives can’t do much about it because of the lack of recognition and support they receive from residential colleges.
There are fixes. The fund I was talking about earlier is one of them. An expansion of the Student Outreach Director into a Student Outreach Team with representatives from communities that normally lack voices in the YCC is another. Merging YCC more closely with residential college councils by having positions for them on those councils would connect representatives more closely with their colleges, and mandating at least one or two outreach activities (as simple as having food and being present) per semester is another way to increase awareness of what the YCC does and help it gain legitimacy in the eyes of the student body. We also need to be more transparent in funding decisions, and alter the way nominations are made for YCC executive board positions so that Council has a greater say. Currently, the president-elect and vice president-elect work together to pick a student out of the applications, who they present to the Council. But Council only sees that one person. I want Council to be able to see all the applications for eboard positions so that they can make a more informed decision. Analogously, if you give me a chicken wrap, I’m not going to turn it down. But if another choice is chicken tenders, and you don’t tell me about that choice, then there’s no incentive for me to turn down the chicken wrap and go for the tendies. I just want to know if there are tendies or not.
They didn’t give me a word limit, so theoretically, I could just keep going. There’s lots to say because there’s lots to do. But let’s work together to find the shortcomings in YCC and in the way Yale works, to increase awareness of them, and begin to lay foundations to fix these problems.
The Politic solicited op-eds from all Yale College Council candidates. We have published those that we received.