204 York St. is a center dedicated for graduate and professional student use. Formerly called GPSCY, short for Graduate-Professional Student Center at Yale, it was renamed in Spring 2019 to The Gryphon. The Gryphon is home to a pub, event space, and chambers for the Graduate and Professional Student Senate.
For more information regarding the name change, please see below.
Rationale of Renaming
Announcement of name change - April 25, 2019
Dear Graduate and Professional Students,
It is my great pleasure to announce that the Graduate and Professional Student Center at Yale, more commonly known as GPSCY, has been renamed The Gryphon.
The renaming discussion was initiated in the spring of 2017 due to graduate and professional student concern over the pronunciation of the acronym GPSCY and its similarity to the slur used to describe the Romani ethnic group. During the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years the Senate’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee performed extensive archival research into the history of 204 York Street. The Graduate-Professional Student Center opened in the spring of 1971 under the auspices of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The vision was for a student-run center reserved for graduate and professional students and their guests. From the beginning the center housed a pub that promised to be “the cheapest bar in town.” The center also included the Lounge and Enormous Room (now known as the Ballroom) which were used for various center activities as they are today. In 1975 the “at Yale” was appended to the name and the building became colloquially known as GPSCY (pronounced jipsē), which has remained consistent for the last 44 years.
As part of the review the D&I Committee also solicited perspectives from various stakeholders and determined the logistical requirements for renaming. Despite stakeholder views being mixed, the general consensus of the committee, which was confirmed by the general Senate, was that the damage inflicted by maintaining a name pronounced like an ethnic slur was too great to keep the name. You can read more about the work of the D&I Committee in the committee’s GPSCY Renaming Recommendation report and on our website.
The choice of the name The Gryphon is a gesture not only to the name of the center’s pub (Gryphon’s Pub), but also to the earlier history of the building itself. In 1923 the building was constructed to house the Yale chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, which used the dragon carved above the bay window over the building’s front door as its symbol. The dragon was later reinterpreted into a gryphon, and incorporated into both the name Gryphon’s Pub and the shield of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. The gryphon therefore has deep ties to the building itself and its occupants, stretching even further back than the name GPSCY.
Naming the center The Gryphon is a way to acknowledge the long history of the building, while also moving it away from the damaging effects of maintaining a name that perpetuates an ethnic slur. The implementation of the name has already begun and will continue over the summer. In the coming months you will notice a new sign over the door, an updated website, and new merchandise, all reflecting the new name. We ask that you join our efforts to move away from the problematic pronunciation of the previous name by adopting the name The Gryphon both in your common reference to the center and when publicizing events held there.
I hope you all will join me in celebrating the name change and embracing the new name in order to have a positive impact on future generations of graduate and professional students at Yale.