Steven Syverud ’06 won this year’s Yale College Council presidential race in a landslide Wednesday night, receiving more votes than any YCC presidential candidate in history. Students voted in unprecedented numbers overall.
Syverud received 1,779 votes — 56 percent of the ballots cast — and 1,181 more than the presidential first runner-up, R. David Edelman ’07.
Next year’s president is joined by the victors in the other races: Marissa Brittenham ’07 as vice president, Emery Choi ’07 as treasurer, Kasdin Miller ’07 as secretary, Jackie Carter ’07 as Yale Student Activities Committee chair, and Jennie Pryzbylo ’07 as Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee chair. An unprecedented 3,440 voters — about 67 percent of the student body — participated in this year’s election, said YCC Vice President and election commission chair Chance Carlisle ’05, higher than any previous voter turnout.
The election was also characterized by a record number of violations of campaign rules, Carlisle said. Presidential candidate Alan Kennedy-Shaffer ’06 accrued between 55 and 60 complaints for sending unsolicited campaign e-mails, causing the election commission to first issue him a warning, and then remove his name from the ballot roughly an hour before voting ended. Kennedy-Shaffer was not disqualified, however, and placed third with 496 votes, ahead of Sam Penziner ’07 with 313 votes and behind Edelman with 598 votes.
After hearing the results at 9 p.m., Syverud said he was surprised not only by the record turnout, but also by the distribution of the votes.
“I expected it to be a really close race,” he said.
Carlisle said he believes widespread understanding of the importance of the YCC’s role on campus is behind the record voter turnout.
“Students understand how important the YCC has been this year in making significant changes at Yale,” Carlisle said, mentioning the new student activities fee, financial aid reform, shifts in Credit/D/Fail policies, changes to the student shuttle system, and the Winter Arts Festival.
Syverud attributed his victory to the work of his campaign team, as well as a strong showing at the Yale Political Union-sponsored presidential debate April 6.
“I think the debate last week was a real turning point,” he said. “A lot of people who were helping out with the campaign got really excited.”
Both Edelman and Kennedy-Shaffer said they were confident Syverud would make a good president.
“While I’m certainly disappointed by the result, I’m sure he will do a fine job, just as he has as a representative,” Edelman said.
Edelman said last week that YCC President Andrew Cedar ’06 had originally encouraged him to run. From the results, Edelman said he learned that “experience matters a whole lot.”
Kennedy-Shaffer also expressed his support for Syverud and praised the efforts of his own campaign team.
“I have no regrets over this year’s campaign,” he said. “We did everything we could and sometimes that’s all that you can do. In many ways we had the best organized, the most excited, and really the most spirited campaign that Yale has ever seen.”
Both Edelman and Kennedy-Shaffer said they plan to continue to work on the YCC next year.
Cedar expressed confidence in his successor and the other future executive officers.
“Next year is a really crucial year with the student activities fee and the possibility of expanding the YCC’s role on campus,” Cedar said. “I have a lot of faith that they are going to do a good job.”
Svyverud said he and his team will begin planning for next year tomorrow.