A week ago, like 99 percent of Yale students, I couldn’t have cared less about the YCC. But if you want to know how good a motivator R. David Edelman is, consider this: Five minutes after I started talking to him about his plans for Yale, I was ready to write this op-ed.
Since then, a lot of people have asked whether I really think rDave has the experience to be YCC president. I’ve told them this: He may not have experience sitting around in committee rooms, but he knows how to get things done. And that’s more than you can say for the rest of the YCC.
For five months in the beginning of this year, the YCC had been, unsurprisingly, dragging its feet. It was obvious that ending dining hall restrictions was important to students, but after half a year of debating, the representatives had gotten nowhere. Then rDave got elected. As soon as he arrived, he met with administrators, masters and dining services, and just three weeks after he arrived on the YCC, it voted to pass a resolution, which he wrote, that ended dining hall restrictions for good. And anyone who knows rDave knows that this is just the beginning.
Like the other candidates in the race, rDave can talk to you for hours about his personal agenda. He plans to reform University Health Services, continue his work on dining halls, and make it possible for all students on financial aid to waive their summer contributions. But unlike the other candidates, rDave isn’t just about a bunch of issues. rDave has vision.
As rDave has told me time and time again, the YCC can persuade, but its resolutions don’t have official power. It is only as strong as the students’ faith in it. Right now, students can’t be blamed for being skeptical.
Take financial aid. According to the News, this year’s financial aid resolution “was created at the request of the Yale Subcommittee on Admissions and Financial Aid.” Isn’t it a problem that the YCC members, who are supposed to be our representatives, needed an administrative subcommittee to tell them that financial aid was a mess?
YCC members have become bogged down in red tape, and rDave is ready is to lead them out of it. He knows how YCC members accomplish the most, the fastest, because that’s what he’s done in his short time on the Council. But there are 28 other people on the YCC, and it is almost impossible to think of any other group of 29 Yale students who talk so much about effecting change while changing so little. rDave is going to fix that by making sure that every YCC member has one problem that they care passionately about, and that they pursue the quickest, best solution to it. rDave has had plenty of experience dealing with bureaucracy, talking to administrators and getting people excited, and he’s the only the one who can make every YCC member as effective as he is.
rDave also has a vision for the YCC as a whole. He wants a Council that is vibrant, that listens to the problems that students care about most. rDave isn’t a career student politician — he’s been a regular Yalie, and he knows that what people want isn’t representatives who talk, it’s representatives who listen. As Yale students, we’re used to complaining, but we’re not used to the YCC doing anything about our complaints. On rDave’s YCC, that’s going to change.
The other candidates in this race have talked a lot about what they plan to do, but where is their vision? When was the last time you were inspired by them? They’ve been on the YCC forever, and we know what they’re going to say, but we don’t have to settle for them. Talk to rDave, or me or any of his friends — you might just wind up caring about the YCC.
David Litt is a freshman in Morse College.