The Yale administration's insistence on a student income contribution is reinforcing inequality along race and class lines. This is not the Yale we chose. Our Yale creates space for us to contribute in our own ways. We have, we do, and we will.
MEChA de Yale stands in support of the elimination of the student income contribution as well as a comprehensive reform of Yale University’s financial aid policy. Current financial aid policy disproportionately harms the Yale experience of low-income, first-generation, minority students. Although Yale financial aid proudly advertises itself as asking for no family contribution to students whose family makes less than a certain threshold, it is less vocal about the student income contribution it requires from students. The student income contribution limits student’s ability to fully enjoy Yale’s academic, social, and extracurricular opportunities. This unnecessary burden stratifies Yale along economic class lines and hinders its pursuit of an actively diverse and dynamic student population. The majority of our members come from low income families and are usually the first in their family to attend a four-year university. We do not need the student income contribution to understand the value of our education. It is to the undeniable benefit of Yale University that low income students be active in our classrooms, extracurriculars, and greater community. MEChA de Yale urges our university to eliminate this unnecessary and discriminatory policy.
Yale Hillel Student Board
The student financial contribution creates a twofold loss in the Jewish community at Yale. The community loses out on talented and caring students who are unable to participate in our programming, events and leadership because they spend their extracurricular time working to pay their financial contribution. Our community also misses out on a diversity of involvement, as students and Jews of color are disproportionately impacted this way. To the first effect, friends and members of the community have told us that they do not feel able to fully participate in leadership positions because they are overworked at three jobs trying to meet their contributions. Meanwhile, those students lose as well because they are unable to access a religious and social home that other students can. Every student on this campus should have equal access to religious space. As an example of the second point, students on financial aid cannot afford to eat in the communal campus kosher kitchen, which already operates at a deficit, because they are budgeting to meet their financial burden, even during Passover, when kosher-for-Passover food is more difficult to find and afford . As Passover fast approaches this financial burden should be eliminated right now. While the student financial aid contribution affects our community in these concrete ways, we also generally recognize our moral responsibility to endorse this demand because of its effect on low income students and students of color at large here.
Yale’s LGBTQ Co-operative supports and endorses Students Unite Now’s mission to eliminate the student income contribution. Yale promises its students a level playing field upon stepping on campus. It is time for the administration to follow through on that promise. Queer and trans students in particular face significant financial barriers beyond the expected expenses of college students. On top of the steep costs for transition and wardrobe change, many queer students face financial uncertainty with regards to continued support from parents in terms of paying tuition costs. A significant portion of our Yale experience consists of discovering and exploring identities, which forces us to confront and question the fundamental understanding we have of our existence. This is no small task - it takes time, energy, community support, many sleepless nights, and money. It takes up as much or more of our time and energy as any job, extracurricular, or class we participate in. Eliminating the student income contribution will relieve a significant burden on many of our brightest, strongest, and most prolific students. These students deserve the same opportunity as all of their classmates to thrive at Yale, and lifting this heavy burden from their shoulders will enable them to blossom into the future world leaders that Yale promises they will one day become.
"Education happens both inside and outside of the classroom, so attempting to divorce social spheres from institutional responsibility is not only misguided, it is actively violent.” The Broad Recognition board published these words last November as we grappled with with Yale’s failure to support students of color. Those words continue to ring true given Yale’s refusal to commit to substantial financial aid reform and end the Student Income Contribution.Yale has an institutional responsibility to support students on financial aid and to allow them to pursue their academic goals as fully as possible. As a community of intersectional feminist writers and thinkers, we understand that institutional sexism, racism, and classism are inextricably linked. Consequently, eliminating the Student Income Contribution would be a major step toward creating the Yale community we hope to see. For that reason, we are proud to endorse Students Unite Now’s campaign to end the Student Income Contribution.
Yale Undergraduate Prison Project
The Board of the Yale Undergraduate Prison Project supports the campus effort to eliminate the student income financial aid contribution. We believe that all Yale College students should have equal access to an education free of undue financial burdens. In solidarity with Students Unite Now, we envision that eliminating the contribution is one step closer towards a more equal Yale for low-income students.
The Liberal Party
As members of the Yale community, and in solidarity with students on financial aid, the Liberal Party stands in opposition to the continued existence of the student income contribution.We believe that it is fundamentally unjust to continue a practice that contributes to dividing students along class and racial lines and preventing students from pursuing their interests. The Liberal Party strives to be a space where members can participate meaningfully, regardless of their class and/or racial background. Being an active member of any extracurricular group demands a significant sacrifice of time as well as both physical and emotional energy. Thus,the time and energy sacrifices required by the student income contribution make it extremely difficult for some students to pursue their academic and extracurricular interests.The student income contribution means that not all of our members are equally free to make choices about how to spend their lives at Yale. Our Party needs a devotedanddiverse membership to be strong, and we are deeply affected by the student income contribution’s tendency to make it more difficult for some of our members to devote the time they want to to the Party. As a party, we oppose any policy that creates or entrenches race and class divides in the Yale community, and we support the abolition of the student income contribution.
Yale's Chapter of the NAACP's explicit goal is "to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons." That is why we could not be more excited to endorse Students Unite Now's goal of eliminating the student income contribution. When each student at Yale receives their acceptance letter, Yale is in essence telling them that everything they have done up until that point has made them an excellent candidate for Yale. That alone is the reason for their acceptance (hence need-based admissions). By welcoming low-income students into Yale and then making them pay a student income contribution, the Yale administrators are contradicting themselves. The existence of this student income contribution disproportionately places a burden on extremely gifted and intelligent students who must split their time between academics, extracurriculars, and a job. Students are full-time for a reason and the NAACP will work with Students Unite Now to make Yale a more equitable space for students of all backgrounds.
Asian American Studies Task Force
The Asian American Studies Task Force believes in a full Yale experience for every student, irrespective of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. We believe that the student income contribution inhibits this full Yale experience by forcing some students to place more time and energy into working and managing how to meet their education costs. Importantly, the income contribution disproportionately affects students along lines of race and class in ways that reify inequality within the University. Yale students should not have this burden when the university has the financial capabilities to eliminate the student income contribution.
The Asian American Studies Task Force works to contribute to race and gender equity at Yale University through the advocacy of Asian American Studies as a valued and rigorous field of study. We believe that Asian American Studies and ethnic studies are crucial to the academic excellence of the University. This excellence includes creating an environment in which students of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds have access to the rich and diverse opportunities Yale has to offer. We believe in our university’s espousal of a different Yale experience for every student; however, we do not want this difference to be one between a student required to work several hours per week to enroll at Yale and a student who does not have to work at all. We support a Yale experience rested on all students having the time and energy to follow their interests.
The Asian American Studies Task Force supports stands in solidarity with Students Unite Now (SUN) in the fight to eliminate the student income contribution at Yale University.
Being trans or nonbinary at Yale is a marginalizing experience, one that can take both a financial and emotional toll on a person. Yale Health specialty coverage covers much of transition related medical expenses, something that can be life changing for trans people on campus considering the enormous cost of transition related healthcare outside of speciality coverage. However, the added expense of paying for coverage is an unaffordable luxury for many of us who are on aid and who are struggling to pay our student income contributions. For many of us, this directly affects our ability to begin medical transitions. For many of us, the inability to medically transition directly affects our mental health and how we are able to experience Yale. Many people in our organization live with the fear of being disowned by their families, with the fear that one day, without warning, they will be forced to come up with money to pay the student income contribution or simply leave Yale. For many of us, this is as much an issue of safety as it is an issue of being able to continue our education because returning home is not an option for many of us if we must leave. As a group, we know what it means not to have our experiences discussed, understood, or respected by the administration. Trans@Yale refuses to remain silent about the pressing need for financial aid reform, and we endorse SUN’s campaign calling for the elimination of the student income contribution.
Fossil Free Yale
Fossil Free Yale supports the Students Unite Now (SUN) campaign to eliminate Yale’s student income contribution policy, as part of broader financial aid reform. This policy disproportionately burdens low income and first generation students and students of color, and detracts from the vibrant and equitable community we are trying to grow on this campus. Yale’s enormous wealth gives this university both the ability and the responsibility to actively promote economic justice. The student income contribution is just one example where Yale has not yet lived up to that responsibility.
Many years of organizing by SUN and other campus groups has demonstrated that there is strong student support for the elimination of the student income contribution. Furthermore, they have shown that the student income contribution prevents certain students from fully engaging in the opportunities Yale has to offer, and creates a campus extracurricular culture that is divided along lines of class and race.
Climate change and the exploitation of the fossil fuel industry are intimately related to issues of economic and racial justice. Fossil Free Yale advocates for divestment because we understand that Yale’s financial decisions are inherently political, and connected to the systems at work in the world beyond this campus. Just as the administration has failed to rectify the injustices of their investments, they have refused to examine the unjust impacts of their financial aid policy. Yale must stand for economic justice, and that must start here on campus.
The Party of the Left
As a debating organization, the Party of the Left believes in the value of bringing together divergent perspectives and experiences. Too often, political discourse is centred around the rich and the white; we are committed to amplifying the voices of low income students, students of color and all others who have been systematically shut out of campus dialogue.
The student income contribution silences students on campus who receive financial aid, making excessive demands on their time and energy. By cutting off access to opportunities on campus, the SIC makes it more difficult for students on financial aid to participate in the production of ideas at this university. Our community - both in the Party of the Left and at Yale more broadly - suffers because of it. Our members who are on financial aid are often unable to come to events because of their jobs; many students on financial aid find themselves unable to join the Party of the Left in the first place. The student income contribution is incompatible with the mission of any organization that is honestly committed to intellectual diversity, and the Party of the Left is proud to endorse Students Unite Now in their effort to eliminate it.
Yale’s Margins: Student Perspectives from the Left heartily endorses Students Unite Now in its campaign to eliminate the student income contribution. We believe that, though Yale advertises itself as a place of diversity and inclusion, the student income contribution replicates the same ugly class divides that exist in the world outside Yale. It is inherently unfair in that it forces some students to work instead of enjoying many of Yale’s resources -- extra-curriculars, athletics social life -- in which other students freely partake. Moreover, it operates on the insidiously classist assumption that students who require aid are less invested in their educations than their wealthy counterparts and, therefore, must be made to work in order to engage meaningfully with Yale’s community and resources. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth -- money does not determine how dedicated we are to our educations, nor does work. Margins has observed these tensions and ideas unfolding among many of our members, and we believe that the student income contibution is divisive, classist, and unnecessary. There is no excuse for it.
Yale Women's Center
The Yale Women’s Center is proud to stand in solidarity with SUN in its efforts to eliminate the Student Income Contribution (SIC). As a unique organization where undergraduates hire undergraduates, the student income contribution affects each and every board member and staffer’s life, whether directly or indirectly. The Center stays open mostly due to the work of paid staffers, but we also ask for the volunteering time of an hour with our membership to keep the Women’s Center. We remember in 2014 when the Center joined many student organizations in protesting the Provost’s office decision to stop subsidizing 50% of wages of every student job, limiting the subsidization to students on financial aid. Because of these decisions, we do not have the resources to extend center hours by hiring more staffers, but we must remember that the resources for our five staffers have come from so much student organizing and protest. We are proud that all of our staffers are people of color, but we are faced with the hard truth—it is impossible to only be a Women’s Center staffer and pay off the student income contribution. Thus, we must wonder why all of our staffers are people of color, and realize it is because low income students of color are disproportionately affected by the student income contribution. The student income contribution creates two types of Yale experiences: one enriched by a broad array of extracurricular activities where students get to decide how much time and effort they want to expend, and one where the number of work hours are set by the student income contribution.
Liberation is a shared web of fates. The Center realizes that gender equality cannot be achieved without racial and economic equality. The existence of the Women’s Center and the resources that we have are in thanks to movements of student organizing and shared student power. We are immensely proud of all the Yale women activists past, present, and future.