The Yale Daily News Managing Board interviewed candidates seeking officer positions in the Yale College Council Sunday evening. Our endorsements appear below:
Treasurer: Andrew Cedar ’06
Simply put, Andrew Cedar is an ideal candidate — for treasurer, or frankly, for any executive position on the Yale College Council. A freshman representative who seemed to have a hand in all of this year’s significant resolutions and none of its superfluous ones, Cedar is unique among the candidates in his clear vision for the council and his understanding of its limitations. He presents a thorough and reasoned platform, and he actually knows what he is talking about.
Within an organization often unsure of its purview, Cedar has demonstrated the ability to differentiate between issues that are too big to warrant YCC resolutions (Iraq, for example) and big issues that are relevant to the council and to Yale. The best example of this is his ongoing work with campus environmental policy, a mammoth project he has undertaken in pieces and for which he already has won small victories. He has a realistic sense of how the Yale administration works — evidenced by his proposed effort to win a fixed YCC budget at the start of the year — and a degree of idealism backed up with experience that make him poised to be just the kind of leader the YCC needs.
President: Elliott Mogul ’05
While none of this year’s candidates is particularly outstanding, our decision falls in favor of the practical, experienced and detail-oriented Elliott Mogul, current Undergraduate Organization Funding Committee chair.
Edward Pritchett ’05, a three-semester representative and the vice-president of the Ivy council for the past year, presented a more compelling vision for the undergraduate community as a whole and a more solid understanding of the need to reconnect the YCC with actual students. But Mogul has a dogged dedication to the council that is virtually unparalleled and a list of practical, specific initiatives that make him slightly better suited to the job. In his time on the council and as head of the UOFC, Mogul spearheaded the much-heralded “two swipes anytime before dinner,” and in a feat that was both risky and dubious in its convention, he won $16,000 more than was originally allocated for undergraduate organizations by handing out almost all of the allotted funds during the first semester of this year. Evidently experienced in student body elections, Mogul will make a committed and capable — though not a particularly surprising — YCC president.
Vice President: Nirupam Sinha ’05
As the administrative and bureaucratic backbone of the YCC, the vice president need not be a charismatic visionary, but must be an experienced and respected officer who understands the council’s inner workings and its fundamental constraints. Nirupam Sinha’s genuine desire to fill this role and his work this year as a representative from Morse College make him a strong candidate. While his proposals for reforming the YCC were light on specifics, he has a good sense of the bread-and-butter issues that affect students’ daily lives and an equally good sense of how to approach them. His goal of providing “tangible benefits” to students is an admirable one. And his plans for overhauling the minibus system and improving dining hall food seem poised to continue recent YCC efforts — many of which he lead in his capacity as the YCC Issues Committee chairman — of making small but meaningful improvements to student life.
Secretary: Lenore Estrada ’05
The race for secretary this year boils down to competing ideologies. Both candidates are almost equally qualified, but they offer nearly opposing views of the role of the Yale College Council. Tre Borden ’06 envisions a council directed by student input, with monthly town hall meetings that are idealistic but impractical. Lenore Estrada, current chair of the council’s activities committee, already has established relationships with administrators and sees a council driven by administrative suggestions. Her abject toeing of the University line may limit the council’s independence, but her ideas of increasing feedback through YaleStation and her experience make her the better candidate for this particular job.
UOFC chair: Matthew Harsha-Strong ’06
Matthew Harsha-Strong created the yearlong position of UOFC secretary, effectively an understudy to this year’s chair. We cannot imagine a more qualified candidate. While one of his opponents — Andrew O’Connor ’05 — raised legitimate concerns about the time it takes for organizations to receive allocated funding, Harsha-Strong knows the ins and outs of the UOFC. He worked closely enough with Mogul that he understands what was done right this year and what could be done better.