Jack Snyder ’03 received a phone message from someone Sunday to tell him to vote in favor of that night’s Yale College Council resolution urging Yale to take a neutral stance toward would-be unions at the University. Snyder attended the 9 p.m. YCC meeting, as did the other YCC officer candidates, knowing that his vote that night could affect how voters perceived him this week.
Several YCC candidates said they felt pressured when voting on YCC’s most recent resolution, which was penned by YCC representative Abbey Hudson ’03, the president of the Yale College Democrats. The Dems openly told candidates that the resolution was a factor in the political group’s endorsement decisions, which were announced just hours after the resolution passed. But YCC members said this week’s officer elections did not majorly taint the resolution process.
Six of the nine YCC members sponsoring the resolution are currently campaigning for a YCC officer position, and they only signed on to sponsor the resolution this past weekend. The resolution, however, has been under development for more than a month, and YCC member Howard Han ’02 said the candidates who supported it this weekend have supported it all along.
But candidates said they felt voters’ eyes on them as they participated in Sunday’s meeting. About 12 non-YCC members visited the meeting to speak up for the resolution.
“Candidates were aware that at least one endorsement was riding on how they would vote,” said one candidate who wished to remain anonymous.
One Yale College Democrat, Michelle Mayorga ’03, openly confirmed that the resolution was a factor in the group’s endorsement decision.
“The Dems decided to use Sunday’s neutrality resolution as a deciding factor on which two candidates we would endorse because [Yale] neutrality [with regard to the unions] is something that the Yale College Democrats agree with,” Mayorga said.
Hudson said the Dems had already decided whom to endorse before the YCC meeting but waited to watch how candidates voted on the resolution before announcing their decisions.
Candidates said they felt the group had wavered in its intentions to endorse YCC candidates. The candidates were told midway through the week that the Dems would discuss endorsements Sunday, which led candidates to believe the Dems would endorse one candidate per office. Hudson said because many candidates were saying the same things the Dems issued statements of support for two candidates for most positions. YCC candidates said they were surprised the Dems endorsed more than one candidate per office.
Hudson said she was not worried that candidates may have been pressured by her group’s endorsement because she said YCC representatives should be held accountable for their votes.
The resolution was more to her, she said, than a function in YCC officer elections. She emphasized the resolution’s importance as the first declaration of “widespread” student support for Yale neutrality with regard to unions.
“This was something that got hashed over last semester,” Hudson said. “I certainly wanted to make sure we got it pushed through.”
But not everyone at the meeting felt so satisfied.
“It really seemed that this was being pushed through very aggressively,” Snyder said, who voted against it. “It wasn’t as if Abbey Hudson got up there and said these are the arguments against it. To be honest, counterarguments are not very present in the YCC.”
The consensus of several current YCC officers and YCC officer candidates was clear. The heat is on in the candidate race but that didn’t change people’s votes.
“People are sort of postering,” YCC Secretary Paige Herwig ’02 said. “[But] anyone who would change their beliefs just because the Dems are sitting in the room …”
But no one really knows how much YCC elections affected the resolution.
“I think it should not have,” YCC treasurer and presidential candidate Vidhya Prabhakaran ’03 said. “I’m going to let you decide whether candidates switched their opinions.”