YCC candidates look for endorsements in debate

The three candidates vying for the position of YCC president — from left, John Gonzalez ’14, Cristo Liautaud ’14 and Eric Eliasson ’14 — squared off at a debate in LC Sunday.
The three candidates vying for the position of YCC president — from left, John Gonzalez ’14, Cristo Liautaud ’14 and Eric Eliasson ’14 — squared off at a debate in LC Sunday. Photo by Sarah Eckinger.

The candidates for Yale College Council president and vice president faced off in debates Sunday afternoon before roughly 70 students in Linsly-Chittenden Hall.

As candidates competed for endorsements from leaders of student organizations in the crowd, discussions centered around the expansion of the YCC’s mental health program, communication between the YCC and the Yale community, the return of ROTC to Yale, the administration’s recent ban on fall rush for freshmen and dining hours. Current YCC President Brandon Levin ’13 said while he was impressed by the candidates’ knowledge of the work this year’s YCC has done, he wished the candidates had offered more specific plans of action.

“I was hoping to see some concrete policy proposals and initiatives,” Levin said. “It’s easy to get caught up in rhetoric but I hope that later in the campaign they will get down to the basics and we will be able to see what their goals are and how they’re going to accomplish them.”

Alexander Haden ’14, president of the Pierson Class Council, said while all of the candidates seemed “eager and willing to make successful all the different programs they’re pushing for,” he felt that some of the questions were less than fully answered.

“We were looking for a specific answer to the question about closer relationships between the YCC and the residential college councils, and I thought that answer was skirted around a bit,” Haden said. “But I hope whoever is elected will be able to keep that relationship going.”

Frankie Costa, president of the Yale International Relations Association (YIRA), said the debate over-emphasized the importance of acquiring endorsements from student organizations and might not have been as relevant to students not representing specific groups. Representatives of student groups present at the meeting were informed that their groups’ presidents could formally submit group endorsements by Tuesday at noon.

“[YIRA] received multiple inquiries about endorsements this year, but we won’t be endorsing any candidate because we do not feel that that is a part of our organization’s mission,” Costa said. “It seemed that the vast majority of people [at the debate] were a part of groups who were looking to endorse candidates. I’m not sure how effective this was in reaching out to the regular student … and it was a much less dynamic discussion as a result.”

Voting in the presidential and vice-presidential elections opens Thursday at 9 a.m. In addition, there are campus-wide elections for YCC treasurer, secretary, events director and Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee chair.

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