Yale College Council Executive Board candidates were short on new ideas at Sunday night’s endorsement meeting.
Leaders of student organizations from across campus gathered in Linsly-Chittenden Hall to question candidates about their platforms and prepare to file official endorsements. However, most of the ideas candidates brought up had been introduced as part of their predecessors’ platforms last spring or have been discussed by administrators this year.
“It would be nice to see someone going forward with a new, innovative idea,” current YCC Vice President Annie Shi ’12 said. However, she added that this year it was harder to find obvious big issues to focus on, whereas last year the reform of mental health services was on everyone’s mind, and the Committee on Yale College Education report shone the spotlight on changes to academics.
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Most of this year’s candidates focused on themes of accountability within the council, transparency and improved communication with the student body, increased cooperation with other student organizations and fiscal responsibility. The presidential candidates also discussed their views on mental health reform, a central topic of YCC elections last spring, and possible changes to the Credit/D/Fail system and gender neutral housing — both of which have been on administrators’ to-do lists this year.
After the meeting, representatives of student organizations who attended can make official endorsements of candidates. These may be publicized by the organizations and the candidates who they support, and will also appear on the electronic ballot on election day, Shi said.
Boyd Jackson ’13, who came as a representative of the male a cappella group The Spizzwinks(?), said he had hoped to hear more concrete plans from the candidates.
“I thought that a lot of the candidates lacked specificity and direction,” he said. He added that he found many of the discussions about communication and reaching out to students “vague.”
Some organizations present at the meeting do not send out formal endorsements, but rather gather information on all the candidates. LGBTQ Co-op board member Amalia Skilton ’13 said the Co-op asks questions relevant to the LGBTQ community, then sends out the candidates’ responses to their membership for consideration.
Skilton asked the presidential candidates about the proposed return of the Reserve Officer Training Corps to campus. She asked them if they support ROTC given that the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” does not prohibit the military from discriminating against transgender individuals who wish to serve.
“I really appreciate that all three candidates were willing to engage with the co-op,” she said, adding that she wished the YCC would be more educated about ROTC’s exclusion of transgender students.
The executive board elections will take place this coming Thursday and Friday.