One rising sophomore and three rising juniors – including YCC associate Robbie Wilkins ’03, whom Yale College Council President Libby Smiley ’03 defeated in a run-off race last year – will vie to head the YCC.
YCC treasurer Vidhya Prabhakaran ’03, Wilkins, and representatives Andrew Allison ’04 and Jack Snyder ’03 announced their candidacy for presidency last night. Students will vote next week among these four and nine candidates for the four other YCC officer positions.
All officer candidates have previous YCC or Freshman Class Council experience, which Smiley said has not been the case for as long as she can remember.
David Gimbel ’03, EB Kelly ’03 and Ted Wittenstein ’04 will compete for the vice-presidential spot. Naved Sheikh ’02 will join Jennifer Piro ’04 and Ryan Sheely ’04 in the race for secretary, and Prabhakaran’s position as treasurer will be claimed by Alexis Hoag ’04 or Yael Zeira ’03.
Alyssa Greenwald ’02, who lost last year’s close run-off race for treasurer, is currently the only candidate for Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee chair. Vice President Leah Zimmerman ’02 said the YCC has extended the deadline to run for funding chair until this Thursday.
Smiley said the YCC will benefit from a president who knows “how the system works,” but she said inexperienced candidates have in the past “added new blood and new thoughts to issues ignored by the YCC.”
Smiley said she was surprised by the lack of “new blood” in this race, especially since she talked to several newcomers who considered running.
Wilkins said serving as a YCC associate this year and FCC chair last year make him qualified for the position. He said he gained experience since his defeat last year and hopes to benefit from having his name “out there.”
Ensuring that Yale’s administration pays attention to student groups is Wilkins’ biggest priority, he said.
Wilkins said he will push for financial aid reform and fight for a stronger student voice, including giving students more positions on committees that make policy decisions.
He said he would like to increase faculty diversity and organize a university-wide concert or show next fall.
Snyder, who has a semester of experience as a YCC representative under his belt, said he has developed “a bureaucratic theory about how student government works and what it does — plans parties.”
“YCC is far too busy dealing with the Spring Fling to handle advocacy,” Snyder said.
Snyder said this focus will change if he can help it.
Snyder’s platform is to amend the YCC’s constitution by splitting the council into separate and independent bodies for issues and activities.
Allison, the lone freshman running for president, said his age is not really an issue and he can be an effective leader in YCC.
“I think that YCC can do a lot of great things, but it hasn’t really met its potential yet,” he said.
Allison hopes to improve the University’s financial aid in ways that don’t just attract prospective students, but help those who already attend Yale.
He also hopes to work with Aramark to improve food quality and availability, and with the administration to increase money spent on student activities.
Prabhakaran, the only presidential candidate who is currently a YCC officer, could not be reached for comment Monday night.
Voting will begin online April 14 at 9 a.m. and run through April 20 at 9 a.m. Smiley said because last year’s switch to Web-based e-mail left an entire class unfamiliar with telnet, voting will be conducted this year on a Web site that is “still being tweaked.”
The YCC will announce the election winners in the afternoon of Friday, April 20.
Students running officially will be allowed to campaign starting this Saturday at 8 a.m., with no more than 300 posters, 400 table tents and $40 in innovative spending per candidate, Smiley said.
Smiley said the $40 is usually spent on goods like T-shirts and flyers.
Piro, running for secretary, said she plans to build her campaign around her last name, which means fire. Her flyers will feature slogans such as “Burn baby burn.” She even spent Sunday night weaving red, yellow and orange extensions in her hair.
Snyder said his idea-based campaign might be advertised with slogans such as “…because this face isn’t running on charm alone,” which he used for the YCC representative race.
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”20552″ ]