Rebecca Taber ’08 will serve as Yale College Council president next year following a clear victory in this year’s elections, YCC Vice President and Election Committee chair Steve Engler ’07 said.
Taber — who will become the first woman to serve as Council president in seven years when she assumes her office in the fall — beat current YCC Secretary Zach Marks ’09 and Brent Godfrey ’08, 45 percent to 38 percent to 17 percent, in elections which ended Wednesday evening. Thomas Hsieh ’08 edged out two other candidates to become chair of the Yale Student Activities Committee, and Joshua Tan ’09 won a three-way race for chair of the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee. The races for secretary, treasurer and vice president were too close to produce clear winners and are headed for two-candidate run-offs on Friday.
Taber, who currently serves as a Davenport College representative, said she hopes to sit down with Yale College Dean Peter Salovey and the leaders of various campus organizations in the coming weeks to discuss plans for next year. She was pleased with the civil and constructive tone of the campaign and has already talked to Marks about their work on the Council next year, she said.
“The hardest part of running for both of us was to run against someone we respected so much,” Taber said. “We said if we lost we would remain committed to the Council, and I trust that he will. I look forward to working with him.”
Marks said he respects the work Taber has done on the Council and is ready to team up with her on projects to improve campus life.
“I couldn’t have picked a better person to be the new YCC president,” he said. “She is energetic, creative, hard-working and can do great things with the YCC. One of the most positive parts about the campaign this year was that we managed to stay friends throughout the whole thing and even got closer.”
Among Taber’s priorities as president, she said, will be reaching out to members of the New Haven community by making available spaces in Payne Whitney Gymnasium and other University buildings that currently go unused in the afternoons. She said she plans to speak with residential college representatives before the end of the year about projects the Council can work on over the summer.
Friday’s vice presidential runoff will feature Branford College representative Emily Schofield ’09 and Sophomore Class Council President Ryan Russell ’09, who trailed Schofield by two points in initial voting, 26 percent to 28 percent.
In the treasurer’s race, YSAC member and Spring Fling co-Coordinator Carrie Nguyen ’09, who took 40 percent of the vote, will face off against Freshman Class Council member and Timothy Dwight College representative Harrison Marks ’10, who received 38 percent. The two candidates competing for the secretary spot will be Saybrook College representative David Narotsky ’09 and YSAC member and Spring Fling co-Coordinator Diego Iturbe ’09. Iturbe captured 30 percent of the preliminary vote to Narotsky’s 32 percent.
Tan, who currently serves on the UOFC board, said he is relieved that the hectic e-mailing and door-knocking of the campaign period are over. He said he will use his new position as chair to implement “concrete, step-wise” improvements to the funding application process, reaching out to more student groups and disseminating letters to organization treasurers about how they can put together better applications. He also wants to create an Internet-based application, he said.
“I’m going to make an effort to bring the funding application process online,” Tan said. “We tried to do that this year and hit some bureaucratic obstacles, so we’re really going to try to do it next year so it’s there from the beginning of the year.”
With 38 percent of the vote, Tan defeated Vidur Sehgal ’10, who won 32 percent, and Suyog Bhandari ’09, who captured 30 percent.
Hsieh, a production and design editor for the News, captured 47 percent of the votes cast, defeating two freshmen — Katrina Landeta ’10, who took 39 percent of the vote, and Michael Chao ’10, who took 14 percent — to secure the YSAC chairmanship. Hsieh said one of his central goals will be to increase communication with the student body, possibly through the use of more surveys, so that YSAC has a better understanding of what kinds of activities students want.
“I’d like to be able to get more input from the students rather than just saying, ‘Here is a Spring Fling survey — answer a couple questions and that is all we will hear from you,” he said. “We should work with organizations like the UOFC and the Committee for Campus-wide Activities so that once student groups have the resources, we can help them put on their activities.”
Hsieh cited Stiles Silver Screen movie nights, a collaboration between YSAC and Ezra Stiles College students, as the kind of projects he would like to expand on next year.
Voting in the three run-offs will run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Engler said. According to YCC election guidelines, a run-off between the two top vote-getters is called if no candidate wins a majority or captures a plurality of at least five percent more votes than the second-place candidate.
A total of 2,817 students voted in this year’s elections — 921 freshmen, 870 sophomores, 620 juniors and 406 seniors.