Candidates for vice president

Name: Ryan Atlas

Residential college: Branford

Class year: 2007

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Major: Ethics, politics and economics



Ryan Atlas ’07 said that as vice president, he would try to cement the YCC’s role as the communication vehicle for the student body. Atlas, a YCC representative from Branford, current Fresh Person Conference counselor and an avid OC fan, said he would organize a monthly e-mail to the student body outlining the YCC’s current projects and letting students know where the council’s money is going.

Another of Atlas’s primary goals is to improve the dean’s excuse policy.

“I don’t think the current policy gives students a reasonable chance to succeed academically,” he said. “Yale tries to get the world’s best at everything, but the dean’s excuse policy doesn’t support all of their activities.”

He said the current policy, which only covers varsity sports, illness and injury, needs to be expanded, and he would talk to the deans about the purpose of the policy and possible changes.

Atlas said he thought the YCC did a commendable job this year focusing on financial aid, rousing up student consciousness and instigating the process for improvement. Next year he would like to highlight minority women faculty hiring in a similar way, he said.

He also wants to investigate late night study options for students during the Cross Campus Library renovations, saying that now is the time to start planning for the change.

Atlas said he wants to be vice president because he would like to have a say in the direction of the school and see it from a different perspective.

“I think it’s fascinating to have the chance to see Yale from the inside,” he said. “Not many people get to do that.”



Name: Marissa Brittenham

Residential college: Berkeley

Class year: 2007

Hometown: Stamford, Conn.

Major: Ethics, politics and economics



In her work as a representative on the YCC this year, Marissa Brittenham ’07 said she has contributed to major improvements to dining and financial aid at Yale.

Brittenham, a tour guide, member of two tutoring programs, Berkeley College Council member and an enthusiastic participant in Berkeley intramurals, said that as vice president, she would continue to work on these and other goals.

“Late-night dining is something that Yale doesn’t have at all,” said Brittenham, who is currently head of the YCC dining group.

The dining committee’s victories this year include rolling back the restrictions placed by the Law School’s dining hall on undergraduates for lunch and planning a cafe for the renovated Cross Campus Library. She said that in the next couple of years, she hopes Yale will have full-scale late-night dining, and also wants to create a smaller meal-plan option for on-campus students.

Brittenham also said she hopes to improve financial aid for middle-class students and build an ambassador’s program that would send students out to high schools in low-income areas over breaks.

Open communication between the YCC and the Yale community also needs to be improved, Brittenham said. She wants to start holding “town hall meetings” with representatives from all of the student organizations on campus.

Brittenham said her communication skills would make her a good vice president, as would her unique background.

“My mom is an Italian New Yorker, and my dad is a Midwestern farmer type,” she said. “I have a New York savvy mixed with a Midwestern charm.”



Name: Lacey Gattis

Residential college: Pierson

Class year: 2007

Hometown: Madison, Miss.

Major: undecided



Lacey Gattis ’07, the vice presidential candidate on the Rumpus ticket, said that she thinks the YCC needs an outsider’s point of view and, as the only vice presidential candidate not currently involved with the council, she wants to be the one to supply it.

“There’s not a lot of room for views that aren’t insular,” she said. “And as a result, there’s a lot of issues the YCC doesn’t end up addressing.”

Gattis said she hopes to bring a light-hearted approach to a campaign that at times can seem rather serious.

Gattis, who spends much of her time involved in theater — she will perform in “The Shape of Things,” which opens next week — and serving as managing editor of Rumpus, said she wants to address the level of advocacy that she does not think is currently present in the YCC.

“I don’t always care about dining,” she said, adding that there are other issues, seemingly small and technical, that matter to many students, such as computer cluster failures and the monopoly on campus coffee.

Gattis said she thinks the YCC tends to focus too much on its own issues, and that it should serve as more of an advocate for the student body.

She also said she sees problems with the way the Yale College Executive Committee administers punishment, she said.

“Ex-Comm has a record of prosecuting things like hanging an American flag upside down, but not cracking down on other issues like partner abuse,” she said. “Many things aren’t punished enough, and that makes me a little nervous.”

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