News’ picks for Yale College Council officers

The elections for Yale College Council begin today. This weekend, the News’ Managing Board interviewed the candidates for officer positions. Our endorsements appear below.

President: Andrew Cedar ’06

Andrew Cedar blew us away with his visionary, reasonable and organized campaign. As the only presidential candidate to have already served on the Executive Board of the YCC, his record is impressive; especially notable is that as the current YCC treasurer, he eliminated $20,000 of YCC debt. Cedar’s platform features ambitious but attainable goals, and his commitment to implementing the initiative he authored this year to reduce Yale energy consumption and explore renewable energy alternatives is particularly impressive. But Cedar strikes a good balance between these loftier goals and the practical issues of serving students in their daily lives. Recognizing student issues as the core of the YCC, his plans include redesigning University Health Service’s online appointment system, improving Career Services and the alumni network, and expanding the scope of YSAC events.

Cedar, who has used his year as treasurer to forge important relationships with the administration, is also committed to ensuring that all students have more access to administrators by reinstating student forums with President Levin and organizing meetings between incoming Yale College Dean Peter Salovey and the heads of student organizations. Cedar has the skills, personality, and most of all, vision, to be a YCC president who can make Yale an increasingly better place to live and learn.

The two other presidential candidates currently serving on the YCC also presented strong campaigns, but cannot compete with Cedar. Steven Syverud ’06 has the admirable idea of re-envisioning academic life, but we worry his goals would be better pursued through avenues other than the YCC. Syverud is a staff reporter for the News. Alan Kennedy-Shaffer ’06 is an independent thinker who could truly reform the YCC, but his campaign displays little of the out-of-the-box thinking for which he has become known.

Vice President: Chance Carlisle ’05

Chance Carlisle correctly recognizes the position of the Vice President as one in which he will be responsible for keeping the president and the rest of the YCC focused. Carlisle brought attention to the small number of successes the YCC can claim each year, and to that end, he has some very practical ideas for increasing the council’s efficiency and making sure it tackles more issues. We do worry that as the only junior running for the Executive Board, Carlisle may not be as committed to the YCC at this time next year. We also have some concern that Carlisle’s realism may sometimes border on cynicism, but his constructive ideas for change make him the best candidate for this position.

Treasurer: Andrew Schram ’06

Andrew Schram has a firm command of YCC and University finance. His plans to increase YCC revenue through expanding YSAC student events is a particularly insightful and practical idea that could greatly influence the effectiveness of other YCC initiatives. Some of Schram’s grander ideas — particularly his plans for revamping the advising system — seem misguided, but he is unquestionably qualified to become a phenomenal treasurer.

Secretary: Michael Schwab ’06

Neither candidate for secretary stands out to us. Geraldine Gassam ’07 has energy and drive, but was unclear on how she would use her position as secretary to affect change. In order to be on the Executive Board, she will need to bring more of her own ideas to the table. Although some of his ideas for campus-wide reform were impractical, Michael Schwab has a clear grasp of how he would serve as secretary. We appreciate his expressed desire to include students in the decision-making processes of the YCC, rather than simply informing them of YCC decisions after they have been made. His ideas for expanding YaleStation, using it a clearinghouse for setting up study groups, for example, were also attractive. Ultimately, Schwab seems better suited for the job of YCC secretary.

UOFC: Rose Jia ’07

Rose Jia is perfect for the position of UOFC chair. As a UOFC member this year, she demonstrates a nuanced understanding of both the larger purpose of the UOFC as well as the complexities its operation. We also appreciate her call for increased UOFC transparency, which we feel is long overdue in the YCC.

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