Though undergraduates cannot vote in the upcoming Yale Corporation election pitting the Rev. W. David Lee DIV ’93 against Maya Lin ’81 ARC ’86, they have been involved in a number of ways.
Several students have been working on Lee’s campaign, and other students recently received an e-mail from Lin in response to letters they wrote to her.
Lee has actively courted undergraduate support, but Lin said in the e-mail that she is largely withholding comment so that she does not appear to be campaigning.
Lee supporter Abbey Hudson ’03 said she heard about the minister’s bid for the Corporation through clergy activity in the city, and supports his efforts to reach out to the Yale community.
“I certainly endorse the fact that he is taking an interest in undergrads,” Hudson said. “I endorse that principle, and if Maya Lin had the same sort of attitude toward the undergrads, I would endorse that principle too. It’s an issue of access — Rev. Lee has promised access — he’s here, he’s on Dixwell Avenue, it’s the most important thing.”
Hudson said she would like to see an Asian woman on the Corporation, but said she thinks it is important for Corporation members to know what is actually going on at the Yale campus, which Lee would be able to do better as a New Haven resident.
Lin’s letter, addressed to Alek Felstiner ’04, Rory Neuner ’03 and Josie Rodberg ’03, said she hopes her record will speak for itself.
“I am honored to be asked to be a candidate for the alumni fellow,” Lin said. “I feel Yale has given me so much and my experiences at Yale both as an undergraduate and as a graduate student have been so important to me that to be able to help serve my alma mater would mean a great deal to me.”
University Secretary Linda Lorimer said she advised Lin on how to respond to student concerns, noting that it is her responsibility to answer questions and to provide guidance and clarification to the candidates.
“She called me when she had gotten requests from several student groups and was concerned that if she made individual replies it would appear that she was campaigning,” Lorimer said. “I did suggest that she could write a single letter and let it suffice for the rest of the spring. She sent me her draft last week. During our phone call, I suggested a sentence or two, and she wrote a letter about much of her experiences which all were new to me.”
Lorimer said that Lee had also asked her several questions in recent weeks and that she had tried to respond helpfully to his requests as well.
Association of Yale Alumni Executive Director Jeff Brenzel said he had no role in writing the letter.
Yale College Council issues committee chairman Sam Asher ’04, who is also an unofficial campus coordinator for Lee, said he does not think the YCC will propose a resolution endorsing either candidate because the YCC does not seem interested in getting more involved.
In his role as a Lee supporter, Asher said the next step in the campaign is for students to call alumni and encourage them to vote for Lee.
“We have plans for undergrads helping out and phone-banking alumni to let them know how much this means to us,” Asher said. “This is turning student support into votes.”