Despite an apparent early lack of interest in running for several of the officer positions on next year’s Yale College Council, none of the six campus-wide races will go uncontested, as multiple candidates for each spot filed campaign papers by Friday afternoon’s deadline.
At least three candidates have put their names on the ballot for the YCC president, vice president, treasurer and secretary positions, as well as for the chairs of the Yale Student Activities Committee and the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee. The YCC will host a general endorsement meeting on Wednesday for campus organizations to get to know the candidates before public campaigning begins on Sunday. Voting will run from next Monday morning until Wednesday night at 9 o’clock.
This year’s presidential contest will feature Brent Godfrey ’08, YCC Secretary Zach Marks ’09 and Davenport College representative Rebecca Taber ’08. Marks initially appeared to be the only student planning a run for YCC president, but although Taber told the News last week that she did not intend to run, she said on Tuesday that she had changed her mind after surveying the rest of the field.
The race for vice president has also grown more crowded. A week ago, YCC Treasurer Dave Roosth ’09 appeared to be the only contestant generating any buzz about his candidacy, but Roosth will be joined by four others as he vies for the number-two spot on the YCC: Sophomore Class Council President Ryan Russell ’09 — who had originally planned to run for secretary — Branford College representative Emily Schofield ’09, Timothy Dwight College representative Danny Seifert ’09 and Timothy Dwight College Student Activities Committee member Chetan Tadvalkar ’08.
YCC Vice President Steve Engler ’07 said he thinks the entrance of additional candidates into the two top races is a positive development because it will give voters more options when they cast their ballots. He said he is not surprised that the field has expanded, since students often make up their mind to run at the last moment after gauging who else will be running.
Engler said a meeting held on Friday night for all students running for the six positions went smoothly, with most of the time devoted to technical questions such as whether candidates are allowed to use text messages to campaign. He said he has selected four students to serve on the Election Committee, which oversees the elections and is responsible for penalizing candidates who break campaign regulations.
The three candidates vying to fill Roosth’s seat as treasurer are Timothy Dwight College representative Harrison Marks ’10, YSAC member and Spring Fling co-coordinator Carrie Nguyen ’09 and Pierson College representative Jon Wu ’09. Roosth was confirmed by the YCC as treasurer in December after Priya Kim Prasad ’08, who was elected last spring, stepped down in order to devote more time to academics and other extracurricular activities.
Competing for the secretary position this year will be three freshmen — Silliman College representative Scott Hillier ’10, Freshman Class Council Executive Vice-Chair Kristen Ng ’10 and Morse College representative Dan Schechner ’10 — as well as two sophomores: Saybrook College representative David Narotsky ’09 and YSAC member and Spring Fling co-coordinator Diego Iturbe ’09.
The large crop of underclassmen running for Executive Board positions reflects strong interest in student government and a desire to be directly involved in improving undergraduate life, YCC President Emery Choi ’07 said.
“Traditionally, the president and vice president are usually juniors, and the treasurer and secretary positions are usually filled with rising sophomores and rising juniors,” he said. “I think it’s good to have a lot of people from younger classes getting into the races … If you look at the number of candidates right now, it’s also another testament to the interest people have in student government.”
The race for YSAC chair features three candidates: Michael Chao ’10, YSAC member Thomas Hsieh ’08 and Katrina Landeta ’10. Michael Lehmann ’08 currently fills the position.
Hsieh is a production and design editor for the News.
The race for UOFC chair is dominated by current members of the UOFC board. Board members Suyog Bhandari ’09, Vidur Sehgal ’10, Joshua Tan ’09, and UOFC member and Committee for Campus-wide Activities board member Bryan Twarek ’10 will be running for the position of chair. The current UOFC chair is Hassan Siddiq ’08.
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, the YCC introduced new election rules this year that significantly reduce the number of posters and table tents that candidates are allowed to use — from 300 and 400 to 50 and 100, respectively, Engler said. He said he hopes this year’s campaigning will be more digital and Internet-based.
The Election Committee will be strict about enforcing the campaign regulations, Engler said. Former YCC Vice President Marissa Brittenham ’07, who chaired last year’s Election Committee, said violations last year were generally limited to students’ placing posters in the wrong places or illegally using e-mail panlists to contact students. The high incidence of violations was the result of new procedures that left many candidates confused, she said.
“The reason it got so much attention last year was that one of our penalties was that we would publicize the rule violations,” Brittenham said. “We had a Web site up on YaleStation saying, ‘So and so has done x, y and z and has received x, y and z penalties.’ … It was pretty basic stuff. Nobody maliciously slandered anyone.”
Under a new YCC rule, candidates this year must abide by an “equal access” clause that requires them to attach other candidates’ candidacy statements to their own when sending materials to campus groups in an attempt to solicit endorsements, Engler said.