NEWS’ VIEW: John Gonzalez ’14 for President

John Gonzalez
John Gonzalez Photo by Kamaria Greenfield.

There is no shining star in this year’s Yale College Council presidential race. The three candidates all have similar platforms and similar enthusiasm. One candidate, though, showed most convincingly his ability to inspire all of the YCC — not just the executive board — to work hard and achieve meaningful changes, small and large. For his successes as leader of the Sophomore Class Council and his no-nonsense, collaborative leadership style that emphasizes teamwork, we endorse John Gonzalez ’14 to lead the Yale College Council next year.

As SoCo president, Gonzalez turned a $3,000 budget into a series of dinners with professors, a barbecue, a sophomore class ball and more. This may seem standard work for any college government, but Gonzalez took over a SoCo that was known for irrelevance. He made an organization that needed help into something meaningful.

The other candidates have their strengths. We have faith that Eric Eliasson ’14 understands the inner workings of the YCC. He has experience on the YCC and as chair of the Freshman Class Council, and he has learned the problems the YCC faces. He knows that a president’s work does not always fit into a one-year term and that a president’s success depends on the relationships he forges with his council and the administration. Eliasson is in touch with students’ interests and he could lead the council capably, but we can’t see him following paths other than those that have already been blazed.

Cristo Liautaud ’14 has an admirable energy and has set ambitious goals, all of which, he says, are backed up because he has had meetings with various Yale College officials. That sort of diligence is the right approach to the job, but Liautaud has not demonstrated that he can match his policy ideas with a clear understanding of the logistics of leading the council or of the body’s strengths and limitations. His proposals, which include a Homecoming and a Yale Pulse App, are showy, but not much more.

We have our concerns about Gonzalez’s candidacy: His focus on adding language certificates, getting exams back in students’ hands and adding power outlets to Commons is a bit overblown. He doesn’t have Eliasson’s YCC experience. But his policies are fundamentally in touch with students’ needs, and we are enthused by his commitment to letting his council do the work rather than putting it all on his own back. He wants to be remembered as the president who let others shine.

Today we are concerned with the state of the YCC — we see a problem with an organization that describes the addition of one more lamp to summer storage options as “substantial institutional change.” Change can come from within, but we don’t think Eliasson would add the new perspective YCC needs.

Gonzalez, on the other hand, has a track record of getting things done, and a demonstrated ability to take an ineffective organization and make it work. In his campaign video, Gonzalez makes the claim that when he makes promises, he delivers. We think he’s right.

Comments

  • eli2015

    What’s the YDN’s problem with insiders? Exactly what type of “substantial institutional change” do they think YCC would be able to deliver were it not for the same, set-in-place attitudes? This endorsement boils down to, “Gonzalez and Eliasson are both qualified, and we have some concerns about Gonzalez, but he’s not an insider, so here’s our endorsement.” If the YDN really has a vision for “new paths” that the YCC could blaze, let’s hear it.

  • user_name

    Oh ydn, too much influence, too little wisdom. Though I agree with your final choice, your reasons for each of the candidates are lacking.

    To clarify
    1. “He doesn’t have Eliasson’s YCC experience.” John came to every YCC meeting this year- he is not an outsider
    2. “He knows that a president’s work does not always fit into a one-year term and that a president’s success depends on the relationships he forges with his council and the administration. Eliasson is in touch with students’ interests and he could lead the council capably, but we can’t see him following paths other than those that have already been blazed.” — Um, please substantiate. This vagueness is unacceptable. The first sentence is actually dumb, and the second is a claim. I may agree with the claim, but tell me why his proposals are redundant.
    3. It was not John, but Omar, who initially brought SoCo out from irrelevance. John kept the council relevant with his own twist, but Omar is owed the credit for reconstructing a broken system.
    4. “but Liautaud has not demonstrated that he can match his policy ideas with a clear understanding of the logistics of leading the council or of the body’s strengths and limitations” — how could he be expected to demonstrate that without ever managing the council? Yes, his inexperience is his downfall, but even those experienced won’t know what leading the council feels like until they lead the council. At that point, I imagine it would be quite easy to find out.
    5. “His focus on adding language certificates, getting exams back in students’ hands and adding power outlets to Commons is a bit overblown” = seriously? do you even know what the status of the first two are with the administration? Levin was outraged when he found out that students don’t get exams back, and language certificates have been in discussion for some time now. Adding power outlets is as easy as buying a few extension cables from office depot for $8.99.
    6. “He wants to be remembered as the president who let others shine.” –good point, but he certainly is taking the glory of being soco president and spraying it all over his campaign…
    7. “the addition of one more lamp to summer storage options as “substantial institutional change.” ”
    Please read the final report page to page and tell me you still believe in that sentence.
    8. “His proposals, which include a Homecoming and a Yale Pulse App, are showy, but not much more.” Well, if by not much more you meant the Yale Pulse App already exists and is in testing mode, and that homecoming would take no more than a few reservations and money that YCC already has to exist on campus. Just because the guy looks good doesn’t mean his ideas are shallow.

  • JE14

    a lot of babbling in this… i agree with user_name

  • EricEliasson

    I don’t know why the YDN thinks our platforms are very similar. We all have very different specific ideas that the others don’t include (for various reasons of interest and feasibility). I hope that everyone voting will look at the platforms and vote for not only the candidate they think will bring the most to the job next year, but also for the ideas and initiatives that are most important to them.

  • 20yalie14

    Great suggestion Eric!
    For those interested, here is a sample of John’s platform:

    ACADEMICS:
    -GRADE TRANSPARENCY—Why are final exams are often never returned and grade distributions left unexplained? If elected, I would work towards compiling information from students about grades and exams at Yale and bring these concerns to administration.
    -CREDIT/D/FAIL REFORM—Pushing back the deadline to switch to Credit/D/Fail by three weeks.
    -LANGUAGE CERTIFICATES—With language being such a central part of Yale academics, we should promote continued study through language certificates, similar to what Princeton offers with their Language and Culture certificate.
    -EARLIER SEMINAR NOTIFICATION—If elected, I’d work towards earlier notification so students don’t have to reconfigure their entire shopping week schedule when school starts.

    DINING:
    -DINNER DURFEE SWIPES—enough said.
    -REVAMPED MEAL PLAN—There needs to be an option for students planning to stay on campus during fall and spring break.
    -EXPANSION OF BEST MEAL EVER EVENT- Students love it, why can’t we make it monthly!
    -DINING WORKER APPRECIATION DAY-It’s almost sad sometimes how we interact with the dining staff at Yale. If we have an event where we thanked them for their work, maybe we can finally break down the invisible barrier between us.
    -MORE POWER OUTLETS IN COMMONS

    STUDENT LIFE:
    -COMPREHENSIVE EVENTS CALENDAR—I know we have YaleStation, Roammeo, and a variety of other sites, but there should be a comprehensive website that compiles every event that goes on at Yale, categorized by type. Also, there should be a way to subscribe to certain event panlists (i.e. plays, dances, music performances) that could be emailed weekly.
    -MOVING UP 10K AND APP CHALLENGE—If we had these events at the beginning of the year, students could see the impact of the projects DURING the year.
    -ATHLETIC EVENTS CHAIRS—Certain student groups like The Whaling Crew have done a great job with promoting Yale Athletics. The YCC should support these students and increase promotion of Yale Athletic events.
    -IMPROVED ROOM BOOKING SYSTEM—The system currently is simply too complicated.
    -SUPPORTING STUDENT CODERS—Whether through pushing for new CS classes or continuing to support App Challenge, YCC needs to help student coders make applications that will be beneficial to life at Yale.
    -WORKING WITH OTHER IVY LEAGUE STUDENT PRESIDENTS—There’s no better way to approach these initiatives than talking with our peer institutions.

    To see the rest of John’s platform, visit: http://www.facebook.com/events/213541938750267/

  • yaleness

    This is a pretty confusing article. What does the YDN value most? Is it experience? Is it innovative ideas? Is it a new direction for Yale? Is a combination of these? It’s unfortunate that the YDN, with as much power as it does to influence the results of the election, isn’t clear about what it thinks is best for Yale. Even more frustrating is the lack of clarity regarding the facts surrounding each candidate. I’d be careful letting the YDN dictate my preference as a voter. Make sure you do your research.

  • yaleinthehouse2015

    Why isn’t Dan Stein running? He seems like a great leader…