For the second year since presidential elections for the Junior Class Council were combined with Yale College Council elections, the race for the organization’s presidency has had to be reopened due to a lack of student interest.
The race was reopened Saturday, and Hyung Mee Lim ’13 now joins original candidate
Shivani Vohra ’13, who was running uncontested on the ballot. YCC Vice President Annie Shi ’12, who oversees the elections committee, said extending deadlines to attract more candidates is necessary to make the winner feel more committed.
“The position would be a lot more meaningful if the person who won actually won because the students voted for him or her,” Shi said.
Shi said that while she understands that some people might find the decision to reopen the race unfair to Vohra, she and the rest of the election committee agree that a competitive race helps the eventual winner feel more accomplished and motivated.
Vohra said she understands the reasons behind the YCC’s decision. She said that while she has been planning to run for a while, she will now work on strengthening her campaign given her new competition.
Lim, who started her campaign since sending in her candidacy statement on Saturday, said she has been interested in student government since arriving at Yale. Lim has battled ovarian cancer since 2010 while still enrolled as a Yale student, and said she was unsure whether she could commit to a student government position as of the original filing deadline for candidates. By the time the extension was announced, Lim said, she had been cleared by her doctor and felt confident that she was physically able to serve.
Former JCC presidents said the position is a tough one to fill, since students do not feel strongly about the council and may choose to work for other branches of student government instead.
Angie Ramirez ’12, the current JCC president, declared her candidacy during an extended elections period after no students registered to run for the position. Ramirez said the lack of interest in JCC is largely a reflection of how Yale students view student government.
“Students at Yale are increasingly less interested in serving in student government because there is a perception that they don’t do anything,” she said, adding that JCC is unable to pursue as many projects as the YCC because of its limited funding.
Elle Ramel ’11, who served as JCC president for the class of 2011, said that the council is in a difficult position in terms of attracting strong candidates. When Ramel became involved in JCC, the council still internally elected its president. Ramel said she only became involved in the JCC when her college, Ezra Stiles, needed a representative and she was asked to join.
Ramel said that juniors who want to be active in student government often try to serve on the YCC executive board instead of JCC. She added that given the existence of the residential college councils and YCC, she questions whether sophomore and junior class councils are necessary.
YCC and Sophomore and Junior Class Council elections will take place this Thursday and Friday.