After the most tumultuous Yale College Council election in recent memory, the YCC has its new president: Emery Choi ’07. While he was not our choice, we believe Choi will make a fine president — but we hope he takes to heart the campaign season’s lessons in order to become a great one.
Coming into the race, Choi was a clear front-runner. As the council’s current treasurer, he was the only one of the five presidential contenders who had served on the YCC executive board, and he led the pilot program for the Student Activities Fee. On the campaign trail, Choi cited his work on the Fall Show, Spring Fling and the development of the Committee for Campus-Wide Activities — best known as the organizers of “Guntherpalooza” — as well as the Club Sports Advisory Board. Obviously, none of these was a solo project, but his remains an impressive resume.
Choi has also been upfront about his failures as treasurer. In our discussion with him, he accepted responsibility for limited communication regarding the activities fee, the relative anonymity of the CCA and the relative lack of club sports funds despite the CSAB. He evinced a desire to “see through” these initiatives next year before determining whether they are worth continuing further.
Like his opponents, Choi consistently asserted a desire to make the YCC more “relevant” to students. But during the campaign, Choi’s stated plans to further that goal were underwhelming. Though he has demonstrated a capacity to work toward meaningful change, his platform — largely a continuation of his work as treasurer — failed to outline further such changes to come.
While his opponents campaigned on lofty yet achievable reforms, Choi often opted solely for the latter. The goals outlined by his supporters on this page last week seemed more appropriate to the concerns of a YCC treasurer or UOFC chair than a president. His stated position on financial aid was largely reactive, his primary concern to match Harvard University’s recent expansion. And with the University staunchly opposed to further expansion of the Yale Sustainable Food Project, Choi has also been vague about his purported plan for dining hall improvements. These are issues students consistently responded to during the campaign, and we would like to see Choi respond to them, too.
Though Choi accepted responsibility for many of this year’s problems, he has not provided particularly constructive ways to address them. Communication was not the problem with the activities fee — students understand what it does. On the other hand, his assessment of Gunther as a “publicity stunt” leaves us concerned the CCA has little idea of what to do with its funds on a regular basis. And while a lottery for a handful of selected club sports each year could do wonders for all of them over time, a small increase of the $200 each club received this year is no solution.
Choi joined this race as the voice of experience, but the rhetoric of this campaign season reflected a desire for a break from the status quo. “There’s no risk in me taking the job next year,” Choi told us little more than a week ago. While we agree, we would like to see him take a more ambitious stance. We fully expect him to see through his work from this year, but we would like him to build on it, as well.