YCC faces low election turnout, uncontested races

YCC

At the end of an election with an unprecedented three seats left uncontested, Danny Avraham ’15 was officially named president of the Yale College Council for the 2013-’14 academic year.

In a Friday email to all undergraduates, the YCC announced that Leigh Hamilton ’15, Andrew Grass ’16 and Ben Ackerman ’16 were elected to the positions of treasurer, secretary and Undergraduate Organizations Committee chair, respectively, while Avraham, Kyle Tramonte ’15 and Eli Rivkin ’15 each won with 100 percent of the vote, running unopposed for president, vice president and events director. Tramonte said this year’s YCC elections — which took place from Thursday at 9 a.m. to Friday at 5 p.m. — were more relaxed than last year’s because of the three uncontested spots.

While official vote counts were not included in the Friday email, Elizabeth Henry ’14, chair of the elections committee, said that 725 people voted for Avraham and 228 abstained in the election for YCC president. In the 2011 and 2012 YCC elections, when vote counts were released to the student body in a campus-wide email, 2,618 and 2,704 students, respectively, voted for president. In the vice presidential race, Tramonte received 667 votes, with 135 abstentions, compared to 2,379 and 2,311 total votes in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Hamilton defeated Eugene Yi ’15 with 581 votes and 60.71 percent of the vote, Ackerman captured 32.13 percent of the vote to beat out Brian Lei ’16, Zenas Han ’16 and Grant Fergusson ’16, and Grass overcame Rohan Goswami ’15 by 11 votes, taking 50.64 percent of student votes.

Avraham said this year’s YCC will be particularly significant because it coincides with the changing of major University leadership.

“For the first time in 20 years, Yale is soon going to have a new President,” Avraham said. “And with that, there’s a great momentum to change the YCC — to make it a relevant and strong student government that has the ability to reshape policies and let students help determine the direction of our university.”

Members of the newly elected executive board said they aim to take advantage of the transition in University leadership to increase the YCC’s influence over school-wide policy — they are considering expanding the executive board to include new positions focused explicitly on policy, Avraham said. The group also hopes to appoint more YCC members to Yale College’s standing committees, which are largely responsible for shaping undergraduate policy, he added.

The new YCC executive board will meet with President-elect Peter Salovey before the year ends, Tramonte said, adding that he hopes they will be able to focus the new president’s agenda on student life issues.

“President [Richard] Levin had his stated policy goals and objectives that he’s had for a number of years, which we were able to add to each year,” Tramonte said. “But here we have chance to put student life issues at the top of [Salovey’s] list.”

Avraham added that the new YCC leaders plan to work over the summer with programmers to build an online framework for storing information about YCC projects in an effort to improve institutional memory.

Current YCC President John Gonzalez ’14 said he thinks those chosen for the next executive board are hard workers who will continue to build relationships with administrators — one of the “hardest things we do.”

Ackerman, who participated in the most contested election, with three other candidates, said he had been expecting the race to go into a runoff and was shocked to learn he had won.

A runoff election for Junior Class Council president will be held Monday and Tuesday between Nancy Xia ’15, who captured 32.58 percent of the vote, and Rachel Tobin ’15, who received 29.21 percent of the vote.

The new executive board will meet for the first time in the coming week.

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