After carefully considering the full slate of candidates, we enthusiastically endorse Rich Tao ’10 for Yale College Council president. His passion for motivating others is contagious, his vision for outspoken leadership is well timed and his specific plans are spot on — whether forcing administrative accountability as the new colleges are built, working toward gender-neutral housing, revamping senseless dining-hall policies or enhancing study-abroad programs.
Although Harrison Marks ’10 impresses through his proven YCC commitment and track record of tangible results — and Katrina Landeta ’10 through her leadership of the gender-neutral housing question — Tao offers a rare combination of pragmatism on the small issues, vision on the big ones and, all the while, a dose of spunk. He appears willing to take stands that run counter to popular current or administrative talking points. And yet he seems simultaneously committed to embodying the student voice more so than YCC presidents have in the past.
Although Tao captured our endorsement as the most inspiring and articulate presidential candidate running this year, it is worthwhile to explore his opponents, both of whom advocate worthy policies and tout impressive experience.
A YCC with Landeta as president would, according to her statements and platform, emphasize unification, community engagement and communication. She also says she hopes to improve the YCC’s current undertakings, such as the Student Development Directive and the constant quest for dining-hall improvements. But in order for a candidate who emphasizes medium-sized goals such as these to be truly compelling in a race, she must also offer a vision for extensive internal improvement to the way the council is run. But Landeta does not, and thus her candidacy falls short.
As for Marks, his platform is organized around big ideas — “MAKE Y-C-C ABOUT Y-O-U” and “Channeling Student Opinion” constitute the first two underpinnings — and his plans for implementation are specific, such as creating a “Talk to YCC” Facebook application and organizing informal Bass Library sitdowns. This is all quite compelling. But Tao, we think, will more effectively galvanize — and inspire — the representatives on the council as well as his campuswide constituents.
The student body is lucky this year to have a choice between three qualified and creative YCC presidential candidates. Each, we are sure, could succeed if elected. But the fact of the matter is that Tao offers a unique blend of charisma, audacity, creativity and common sense that convinces us his candidacy offers the most to the average Yale student.