Choi wins YCC presidential runoff

Emery Choi ’07 won this year’s runoff election for Yale College Council president, defeating rival Larry Wise ’08 by over 230 votes.

Hassan Siddiq ’08 also claimed victory over opponent Ned Mitchell ’09 for the position of Undergraduate Organization Funding Committee chair.

2,449 ballots were cast in the runoff, which began Thursday morning and ended Friday evening. In the general election earlier this week, 3,020 votes were cast.

Choi, who currently serves as YCC treasurer, emphasized increased funding for undergraduate organizations and successful implementation of the Student Activities Fee as his primary goals during the campaign. He said he is looking forward to fulfilling the promises made during his campaign, especially in terms of getting more students involved and interested in the council.

“I really want to make the YCC more relevant to the student body,” he said. “We are going to look to expand the work that we started this year.”

Wise said he was upset by the loss but believes his progress in the race was a testament to the importance of the issues he raised, which include increasing financial aid for middle-income families and promoting the use of sustainable energy.

“I’m really disappointed to have lost and come this far, but what that says to me is that the University should be working on ideas like financial aid and sustainable energy,” he said.

Although Wise won the first race by a margin of seven votes, Choi held a lead throughout the second election, YCC Vice President and Election Committee chair Marissa Brittenham ’07 said. She said she thinks the support of presidential candidates Bill Fishel ’08 and Wells O’Byrne ’08, who did not advance to the runoff, helped secure Choi’s victory.

“They provided a voting base,” Brittenham said. “Those were people who were already keyed into this election.”

Brittenham also credits Choi’s success to his increased campaign efforts during the final hours of the race. She said Choi increased his lead over Wise by half between 7 and 9 p.m. on Friday, which she partly attributes to last-minute canvassing in the residential colleges.

Both Wise and Choi were cited for violations of election rules by the Election Committee. The committee penalized Wise, whose violations were deemed particularly serious, by withdrawing his campaigning privileges during the last day of the race.

Many students said they were not surprised by Choi’s victory considering a surge in support on campus since the end of the first race and the revocation of Wise’s campaigning privileges on Friday.

Yoojin Cheong ’09 said he is confident that Emery will make a good leader for the council.

“Emery being elected is a good thing for YCC because he had been on the Executive Board for a year, [and] just knowing that the two other qualified candidates endorsed him gives him extra credentials,” he said.

But Christopher Wells ’06 said he thinks Choi needs to move beyond his event-based campaign platform and focus more on broader issues.

“I appreciate Emery’s interest in improving everyday life on the Yale campus, but I hope he will take note of Larry’s agenda to make YCC about more than just Spring Fling,” he said.

Aldrin Tamondong Agas ’08, who voted for Wise, said he thinks the Election Committee’s penalty significantly affected Wise’s standing in the race.

“I believe that the campaign violations were bad for his campaign,” he said. “They probably turned off many potential voters.”

In spite of the loss, Wise said he plans to continue his work on the YCC next year.

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