Yale School of Management | Groups


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The SOM Student Government Mission

Mission Statement

The Yale School of Management (“Yale SOM”) Student Government is the principal means by which students collectively shape their Yale SOM experience and the experience of future classes. The institution fosters communication, respect and understanding among students, faculty, staff and alumni in order to maintain and enhance the Yale School of Management’s unique place in the field of business education.

Student Government History

In the mid 1990s Dean Jeffrey Garten created the Dean’s Advisory Council (“DAC”) as a form of student representation for Yale SOM. It consisted of a process in which students applied for a two-year position on the DAC. Second-year members of the DAC recommended applicants (from the pool of first year applicants) to Dean Garten, who then made the appointments. This process was created in order to ensure a diverse body of students able to collect input from various social and demographic circles within Yale SOM. Typically there were 10 students appointed to the DAC each year. The DAC served as a communication medium between the students and the administration and as a sounding board for the Dean.

In 2005, Joel Podolny succeeded Jeffrey Garten as the Dean of the Yale School of Management. Based on survey data collected by the DAC in June 2005 and conversations with numerous stakeholders, Dean Podolny wanted to explore the possibility of an elected component to student representation, and charged the DAC with the task of creating a student government to be implemented in Spring 2006.

The DAC sought input from the student body through an open meeting on the topic of a student government at Yale SOM. It invited students who were interested in participating in the creation of this new body to work on the specific components of the new government. The process consisted of collecting information on student representative structures at other graduate and professional schools, gathering opinions from current Yale SOM students, and working in small groups to ensure that as many issues as possible could be addressed with this new student representation structure.

The components identified from student input during open meetings indicated that Yale SOM desired student representation that was

  • Transparent
  • Accountable
  • Diverse
  • Flexible

Additionally, students asked that the government communicate frequently to stakeholders, exercise influence where appropriate on behalf of the student body, and address issues that concern students.

The committee attempted to

  • Design a transparent elections system and system of student representation that was accountable to the students, administration and Yale SOM community at large
  • Build an organization to tackle the ongoing concerns of Yale SOM.
  • Create an organization capable of tackling a breadth of issues.
  • Give students a more effective voice through the student representation infrastructure.
  • Encourage student representation that encompasses the diversity of students at Yale SOM.

The committee chose to implement a cumulative voting system in order to help to ensure diversity (demographic, social, and professional) among elected student body representatives as well as to allow voters to express degrees of preference among candidates running for student body representative positions.

The President is elected in the spring semester for the next academic year. The group creating this process felt this was important so that the Student Government could have direction and leadership over the summer and allows the Student Government to start working three months prior to the start of the school year. Further, it allows the Student Government to have its infrastructure in place prior to start of year.