The Black Student Alliance at Yale (BSAY) is a multi-cultural organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of Black students at Yale through political action, community action, and social events.
In September 1964, 14 black male students matriculated to Yale, a record number for the time. Along with black upperclassmen, these freshmen launched the first Spook Weekend, a huge social weekend that brought hundreds of Black students to Yale from throughout the Northeast. The next year, the Yale Discussion Group on Negro Affairs was founded. The discussion group soon became the Black Student Alliance at Yale, (BSAY), in 1967. Among the founding members of BSAY were Donald Ogilvie ’68, Armstead Robinson ’68, Glen DeChabert ’70, Woody Brittain ’70, Craig Foster ’69, and Ralph Dawson ’71. BSAY advocated for increased black enrollment, the development of Afro-American Studies, improved relations with the African-American community of New Haven, and the establishment of a cultural center for black students on Yale’s campus. In 1968, undergraduate students founded the Urban Improvement Corps, an organization that aimed to help local New Haven students through tutoring and mentoring.
On campus, we strive to meet the needs of the Black community by holding weekly meetings that are pertinent to the lives of Black students on campus and that create a supportive community for all Black students at Yale. BSAY strives to create a safe and active community in order to adequately represent and respond to the Black community. This sense of community must come from both current social activities and from a sense of shared history and culture.