With a few close races and several unopposed victories, election results released Thursday night ushered in a new set of Yale College Council, Yale Student Activities Committee and Freshmen Class Council representatives.
The three student councils will welcome 53 new members who will serve year-long terms as representatives for each residential college. With particularly strong voter turnout from the freshman class, the election had one of the largest general turnouts in recent history, YCC representatives said.
Current YCC representatives said that despite the large number of students who resigned from the council last year — including long-time council members R. David Edelman ’07 and Allison Pickens ’07 — they are looking forward to a productive year with the newly elected members.
“We’re all very excited and optimistic about our new representatives,” YCC Vice President Steve Engler ’07 said.
This year’s YCC race was the first under new election rules passed by the council last semester. In the past, half of the 24 representatives on the YCC served yearlong terms beginning in September while half served terms beginning in February. Engler said the spring semester elections generally drew fewer candidates because most students are set in their extra-curricular commitments by that time. Under the new guidelines, all YCC representatives will be elected in September, and spring elections will be held for the last time this year and will bring in interim representatives to replace those whose terms end in February.
The number of candidates seeking positions this year was up slightly from last fall, as was the number of openings. Ninety-one students vied for 51 spots in the 2005 elections, compared to 97 for 53 positions this term, former YCC Vice-President Marissa Brittenham ’07 said. Seventeen seats were open this fall after four students serving February terms resigned and Priya Prasad ’08 became treasurer.
While 13 students ran unopposed, some of the races were won by small margins.
The closest election was the Davenport College YCC race, where runner-up Shruti Gupta ’08 lost to Matthew Blackshaw ’08 by one vote. Another close race was the Morse College FCC election, in which five freshmen ran but Jean-Phillip Brignol ’10 and Ryan Ashayeri ’10 came out on top, leading their nearest competitor, Matthew Lucas ’10, by just three votes.
Lucas said he was disappointed to hear the news but is still interested in running for YCC in the future.
“It was a really good race,” he said. “Everyone stayed really positive throughout it, and I wish both [Morse FCC representatives] the best of luck in the coming year.”
But in the race for Timothy Dwight College YSAC representative — one of the most competitive races of the election, in terms of contestants — Alex Bartik ’08 won over three opponents by a large margin, claiming 15 percent more of the number of total votes than his closest competitor, Kevin Collins ’09.
“I’m really excited to work with a good group of people and help bring Yalies some really cool events this year,” Bartik said.
Voter Brendan Dill ’10 said that while he found the YCC voting process to be efficient, he was concerned that it lacked professionalism.
“I voted for the people that I knew,” Dill said. “The voting process itself was easy and painless … [but] I was surprised there weren’t any formal speeches.”
Ryan Cowdry ’09 said she was glad that student government representatives pushed for mass participation this year.
“I think it was good that the people running the elections are aggressively reminding us to vote,” she said.
New Silliman College YSAC representative Jess Kimball ’08 said she is happy the elections are over and is looking forward to starting work on the committee.
“I’ve been hoping for this position for quite some time,” she said. “I’m ready to get to work.”