With Yale College Council officer elections set to begin at 9 a.m. today, the YCC gave candidates a chance to speak about their platforms at an inaugural debate Sunday night.

While the event was open to the public, it drew a crowd of only 40 people, most of whom were YCC-affiliated.

The moderators posed a single pre-written question to each candidate and permitted a single question from the audience for each office. The presidential candidates were permitted two-minute answers, while all other candidates were restricted to one-minute responses. The YCC and the Yale Herald co-sponsored the debate.

When an audience member asked the presidential candidates about the recent dissolution of the council’s associate position, Miles Hall ’05, UOFC chair Elliott Mogul ’05, and Edward Pritchett ’05 all presented different responses. Hall, who authored the resolution that eliminated associates, reaffirmed his position.

“Associates undermined the democratic ideal,” Hall said.

Mogul said he was opposed to the elimination of associates but would not necessarily reinstate the office if elected. Pritchett said associates were helpful and wanted to find a way to bring back people who want to help the YCC.

The moderator also asked Hall how he would be able to represent the student body, given that less than half of the Yale student body votes.

Hall said he would seek to create and pass fewer resolutions, but solicit solid student support for the ones created. He also suggested increasing publicity of elections and dividing the council into issues and activities branches.

Mogul’s question regarded his qualifications for the YCC presidency. In response, Mogul discussed his past accomplishments as UOFC chair and coordinator of the two-swipes before dinner resolution.

Asked about the YCC’s problems, Pritchett said Yale students do not perceive the council as an effective student body. Pritchett suggested additional polling through the YaleStation Web site, as well as other methods of bringing more of a student voice into the YCC.

“I want to let students know there is an open door,” Pritchett said.

YCC vice presidential candidate Nirupam Sinha ’05 said he was interested in creating a Yale Student Activities Committee like those at other top universities, as well as a student activities committee fund.

Opponent Alan Kennedy-Shaffer ’06 condemned the YCC as an organization students deliberately dismiss because YCC representatives do not ask for input.

YCC treasurer candidate Andrew Cedar ’06 said he would seek corporate sponsorship for Spring Fling in order to draw better performers. Opponent Luis Perez ’05 said as YCC treasurer, he would prioritize the the council’s major activities: Casino Night, Winter Ball and Spring Fling.