Name: Sam Penziner
Residential college: Saybrook
Class year: 2007
Hometown: Moorestown, N.J.
Major: Film studies
That Sam Penziner ’07 never really knew much about the YCC until he began preparing for his candidacy is exactly the problem with the organization, he said.
Lack of communication with the student body and lack of efficiency, plague the governing body, he said, and he pledged to change that if elected president. Penziner, the candidate fielded this year by the Rumpus tabloid, said he is running as an outsider seeking to shake up — and possibly even disband — the YCC.
“You know, I don’t live under a rock, but I haven’t heard about the YCC very much,” he said. “They don’t really do that much. I’m more qualified just on the basis that I don’t do very much, and I don’t lie about it.”
Penziner, who coordinates Saybrook’s T.I.E.S. tutoring group, said many of the issues that have emerged during the presidential campaign, such as how to book a Spring Fling band and how to respond to the proposed graduate teaching assistant strike, are more simple than the council’s current representatives realize.
“We could use less than the amount of money we put into Spring Fling to have seven straight days of partying,” he said. “When you get drunk you don’t even need a band.”
As for the Graduate Employees and Students Organization, he said, the answer is even simpler.
“It’s only hard to deal with unions when they represent skilled labor,” he said. “It’s not really that hard to find workers to replace people who just drink coffee.”
Penziner said he thinks his personal integrity is his greatest asset as a candidate for president.
“I have more integrity in my pinky than any of the [other] candidates have,” he said. “I don’t care what they say about policies … Policies stem from good character. You want somebody in office whom you can trust.”
And while Penziner admits he is not the most experienced candidate, he points out that his opponents’ characters have already been called into question as each has violated the campaigning rules.
Of Steven Syverud ’06, who submitted his candidacy statement a few minutes late, Penziner said he should be asked to leave the race, as outlined in the packet of rules circulated to all prospective candidates.
“I like Steven Syverud. I’ve heard he’s a nice guy, and he seems like he’d be a good candidate, but come on!” Penziner said. “This is a basic responsibility. We can’t make exceptions — we have to set a good precedent. I do things tongue-in-cheek, and even when I do that I’m more responsible than they are.”
Mike Dunham ’06, publisher of the Rumpus, said Penziner commands the respect needed in a president and has the outsider’s perspective necessary to make the “incestuous” YCC more effective.
“I think that’d be a good thing if you have a YCC president who has some perspective on what the students want,” Dunham said.
He said Penziner is the only candidate who has proposed instituting a program like one at Colby College, which allows alcohol to be served in dining halls, and Dunham said he thinks Yale students would largely support such a measure.
When asked to discuss Penziner’s candidacy, the other three presidential candidates declined to comment.
Penziner said he hopes his campaign, even if unsuccessful, will encourage voters to think about the character of the students they vote for.
“I hope people will take a step back and reconsider … whether they have to vote for that traditional, uptight, antisocial, overbearing politician,” he said. “I think that could be a politician’s greatest asset — humor.”