The Yale Daily News managing board interviewed candidates seeking officer positions in the Yale College Council Sunday afternoon. Our endorsements appear below:
President: No endorsement
The presidential election this year boils down to a decision between two competing ideologies. Andrew Allison ’04, the only sitting representative running for the YCC’s top office, brings a strong platform balanced between issues, activities and student services. Allison wrote and doggedly advocated the council’s successful resolution on the Higher Education Act, served first semester as chairman of the Activities Committee, and has initiated discussions with bands for a fall show. He possesses strong leadership abilities and is highly popular across a council that has recently appeared deeply divided.
Matt Nickson ’03, a former president of the Yale Political Union and former editorials editor at the News, is running on the platform that the YCC should be dedicated to bettering student services. Many of Nickson’s ideas, such as keeping college dining halls and Cross Campus Library open 24 hours, should be seriously considered whether or not he wins the presidency.
Because Nickson served as editorials editor on the current managing board of the News, we do not feel we can make an objective decision between him and Allison. Thus, the News declines to officially endorse any candidate for YCC president.
Vice president: Ryan Sheely ’04
As the agenda-setter and general monitor of the council’s internal workings, the vice president need not be the most charismatic or innovative officer on the council, but rather an experienced administrator with a solid command of issues and credibility within the YCC. Of this year’s four candidates, Ryan Sheely fits the role best.
Freshman Edward Pritchett, the current YCC Activities Committee chairman, presented the most compelling overall vision of the council. His energetic approach and pragmatic proposals to augment the council’s budget and look to other Ivy League student governments should not be ignored, but his ideas and leadership attributes don’t seem to fit well with the vice president’s highly administrative role.
Sheely, on the other hand, has proven himself a competent and reasonable officer through his service as secretary this year. His promise to enforce the council’s attendance policy helped earn him our endorsement last year, and he removed several council members for breaking the rule. This year, Sheely’s best proposal is to adopt a code of ethics that would call for members to recuse themselves from votes on issues in which a conflict of interest is present. Given the blatant conflicts displayed by several members in recent months, Sheely is wise to take this issue on, and the role of vice president should give him the authority to enact several other internal reforms desperately needed by the YCC.
Secretary: Lindsey Parker ’04
An extroverted and outspoken YCC representative, Lindsey Parker is a strong candidate for secretary. While Parker was light on specific ideas for major change, her willingness to organize discussion and build consensus is well-suited to the secretary position. Her proposal for an enhanced Web site would substantially improve the council’s ability to publicize decisions and solicit feedback. And as an officer, her interests in diversity issues — she is currently setting up a committee to review the ethnic counselor program — may renew YCC activity in an area the council largely failed to tackle this year.
Treasurer: Andrew Klaber ’04
While Pierson College Council President Justin Cohen ’04 could bring a well-conceived fresh perspective, current YCC Rep. Andrew Klaber’s experience and innovative approach make him a better candidate for treasurer.
In his time on the council, Klaber has shown a rare commitment to researching and following through on issues. He was the driving force behind the highly popular Newspaper Readership Program, and last year he coordinated the council’s well-organized push for bringing soap to residential college bathrooms. While other candidates have complained about the YCC’s lack of focus on student issues, Klaber is the candidate who has done the most to genuinely improve student life.
Furthermore, while Cohen has brought many good ideas to the race — such as strengthening the YCC’s ties to residential college councils and publicizing YCC budgets — Klaber’s concrete plans to improve corporate sponsorship for Spring Fling and a new fall comedy show demonstrate the kind of creative and specific thinking necessary to be a successful treasurer.
UOFC chair: Elliott Mogul ’05
A year after no one applied to be the chairman of the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee, a surprising six candidates are making a run at the top funding allocation position this spring. While several candidates seem up to the job, freshman YCC Rep. Elliott Mogul has the most potential to turn around the important but troubled UOFC. We were impressed by Mogul’s proposals to produce an online guide to UOFC funding and publish a bulletin detailing committee decisions, but his most important attributes may be his sheer energy and commitment to responding quickly to undergraduate requests. As a sitting YCC representative, Mogul is familiar with the council’s business and well-qualified to serve on the executive board as UOFC chairman.