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USG discusses eating club referendum at town hall

The Undergraduate Student Government held a town hall debate on Sunday concerning a referendum on the release of eating club demographic statistics and information.

Sponsored by Leila Clark ’18, the referendum would require the eating clubs to release information on their members’ class year, major, gender, and race.


“I think there are myths about the clubs that I think are almost harmful to the school, that we can stereotype clubs whether we know they are true or not,” Clark said. “I think releasing demographics data is a good first step in dispelling those myths.”

Over the course of the debate, members of the audience, numbering around 30 students, commented on and debated privacy issues, the stratification of University eating clubs, and the amount of contact students have between the eating clubs.

Many, like Caleb South ’19, came away in support of the referendum.

“I think it is good to have a discussion like this,” South noted. “I, as a sophomore, don’t know much about the eating clubs, don’t know if I’m going to join or not."

However, South said that discussion of the referendum is productive for people who don't know much about the eating club process.

"It seems like there is a lot of support for the referendum, which I’m in favor of," South said. "But I’m also curious to see why people oppose it. I don’t know very much about the [Interclub Council], and am really glad I could hear from the president. I’m glad I could talk to people and I hope everyone votes.”


ICC and Colonial Club president Christopher Yu ’17 was in attendance. He presented rebuttals and answered questions from the audience. He also cautioned against what could be a “double-edged sword” that would only exacerbate the stratification noticed by students in the eating clubs.

Yu declined to comment, saying that previous interviews with the 'Prince' fully encompassed his viewpoints on the referendum. He did, however, compliment the productivity and thoughtfulness of the town hall debate.

“I think the debate was well run and both sides presented good points," he said.

The town hall debate on Clark’s referendum was held Sunday at 5 p.m. in the Whig Senate building. The debate was sponsored by both the USG and Whig-Clio Society.

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Voting on the referendum will begin for students Monday, Dec. 5 and last until noon on Dec. 7, identical to USG elections. It will require turnout from one third of undergraduate students with a majority approval to pass.