Brandon Levin ’13, current Yale College Council treasurer, won the YCC presidency Friday, defeating Rustin Fakheri ’12 and Jimmy Murphy ’13 with an overwhelming 67.84 percent of the vote. Omar Njie ’13 was elected YCC vice president.
“I am ecstatic, I couldn’t be more excited,” Levin said on election night. “My opponents both ran incredible campaigns, and I am extremely excited about getting down to work and achieving tangible results.”
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Levin won on a platform of extended dining hall hours, expanded collaboration with Undergraduate Career Services, improved mental health services and smaller projects geared towards improving day-to-day life for Yalies. Although his platform did not differ significantly from those of the other presidential candidates, Levin had the most YCC experience of the three, serving as this year’s YCC treasurer.
Levin said he received the news of his victory after performing with his a cappella group, the Spizzwinks(?), in an evening concert. He was surrounded by approximately 30 Spizzwinks(?) and their parents as they waited for Annie Shi ’12, chair of the YCC election committee, to call and inform him of the election results.
Levin attributed his landslide victory, nearly 40 percentage points over his closest competitor, to an “unbelievably capable and supportive” campaign team. He said his team consisted of a core group of five people running day-to-day level issues and a group of 70 people who took campaign pictures, sent e-mails, and encouraged friends to vote.
“Simply put, this was 100 percent a team effort,” Levin said.
Jeff Gordon ’12, current YCC president, said that he is very proud of Levin’s election win but added that all of the candidates would have been good choices.
Annie Shi ’12, chair of the YCC election committee, said the election rules were more strictly enforced this year in order to avoid annoying the student body. Still, Shi said some candidates were overzealous in their campaigns.
Ivan Fan ’14 was disqualified around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday morning from the vice-presidential race after breaching students’ privacy by entering their bedrooms without permission. But Fan was not the only candidate to come under YCC election rules scrutiny. Shi also said that while candidates were allowed to send e-mails to individual students, Fakheri used a program to automatically send individual e-mails to lists of recipients. Fakheri was not disqualified because the YCC did not have a clear policy on the use of such programs at the time, Shi said.
Njie, who is currently the Sophomore Class Council president, said he was with a few close friends when he received the news of his vice presidential victory.
“I knew the election was going to be very close, so I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity,” he said. “This year I served the sophomores, and I’m excited to expand and represent the entire student body.”
The newly-elected YCC secretary Matt Williams ’13 said he was very nervous going into the last several days of the race because he did not have as much time to campaign as some of the other candidates had. He added that he was looking forward to working on issues such as extended dining hours and gender neutral housing as soon as possible.
While elections for the position of YCC president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, events director, UOFC chair and Junior Class Council president came to a conclusive vote, the Sophomore Class Council race still remains undecided. John Gonzalez ’14 won 30.96 percent of the vote while Bryan Epps ’14 took 28.22 percent, but because the five percent margin of vote required by SCC election rules was not met, a runoff vote will take place today and tomorrow.
Both Gonzalez and Epps said they are nervous going into the runoff election, and neither said it was obvious which candidate has the upper hand in the race.
In total, 2,850 students voted in the YCC election, accounting for 54 percent of Yale’s undergraduate population.
Daniel Sisgoreo contributed reporting.