When students fill out their ballots during the Yale College Council’s annual elections this week, they will find far fewer choices than in previous years. In fact, they will find the first ballot in YCC history to feature more than one uncontested race.
This year, three executive board positions — president, vice president and events director — only have one declared candidate, even after the YCC postponed the deadline for students to declare their candidacies by 48 hours last week. The uncontested candidates all said they are surprised to be running unopposed and do not think the lack of a true election will impact their work on the Yale College Council next year. But students interviewed said they believe the number of uncontested races detracts from the candidates’ legitimacy.
“I believe that my presidency will be stronger within the YCC, since I won’t suffer from inevitable factions that are usually created during election period and impact relationships throughout the following year,” said Danny Avraham ’15, who is running for YCC president. “In addition, in the upcoming days, as part of the campaign, I’ll have the opportunity to really focus on hearing from students what they want from the YCC.”
In addition to Avraham, Kyle Tramonte ’15 and Eli Rivkin ’15 are running unopposed for the position of vice president and events director, respectively. Avraham is the current YCC vice president, Tramonte is a Saybrook College YCC representative and Rivkin is a Trumbull College YCC representative. The three candidates said they will still campaign this week, even though they are guaranteed to win their races.
Twelve students interviewed said they think the unprecedented uncontested races will delegitimize the election and deincentivize the candidates from clearly articulating their platforms and seeking student input.
“I think it’s bad in that we lose an opportunity as a campus for dialogue about platforms that you get when you have multiple candidates,” Rachel Brown ’15 said. “But it will make the campaign season a lot more pleasant because we won’t get as many emails.”
Hira Hasnain ’15 said competition during elections is important because it forces candidates to be more precise and thorough in their promises and agendas. Tramonte said he will reach out to students across campus to discuss student life issues and the functioning of the YCC, and Avraham said he will also work to meet as many students as possible to promote the council’s ideas and gather feedback.
The three candidates said the uncontested elections will not significantly affect their ability to do their jobs effectively next year.
“Being elected through an uncontested race will have the same impact on my role next year as if I had won in a contested race,” Rivkin said. “I am still determined to make the biggest difference next year by continuing the hard work of [Bryan Epps ’14] and previous events directors, while focusing on creating more events that will give students the opportunity to showcase their own talents.”
YCC President John Gonzalez ’14, several other YCC members interviewed and the three candidates said they think the current election has several uncontested races because the candidates were able to gather widespread support inside and outside the council before the election began.
Rivkin said he thinks he, Avraham and Tramonte are all qualified for their chosen positions, adding that the uncontested races mean the “Yale community thought we were the best candidates to represent the student body on the YCC.”
Campaigning officially began last Saturday and will conclude with the start of elections at 9 a.m. this Thursday.