Yale College Council President Rich Tao ’10 told the News on Thursday that he will not seek re-election, though he said as recently as last week that he was strongly considering it.
Tao’s announcement considerably shifts the landscape for YCC’s upcoming executive board elections; Tao was considered to be the favorite to win. Although students cannot publicly announce their candidacies until April 7, based on more than 30 interviews with members of the YCC, the Undergraduate Organization Funding C0mmittee and the Freshman Class Council, the field of potential candidates for the six executive board positions appears sparse.
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“I have decided to not seek re-election,” Tao said in an e-mail message. “I hope, though, that all students passionate and sincere about student advocacy and civic engagement will give running for President some serious thought.”
For nearly the last two decades, YCC presidents have traditionally served only one term.
Tao’s decision to abstain from running leaves two candidates considering the presidency: Junior Class Council Chair Ryan Beauchamp ’10 and current YCC Treasurer Jon Wu ’11.
Last year, Beauchamp was the treasurer of the Sophomore Class Council. While he has never served as YCC representative from Jonathan Edwards College, Beauchamp said he has attended YCC meetings and events during his time with the SCC and JCC.
“This year YCC will undergo significant change as YSAC is integrated into the Council, and as important policy issues, such as gender neutral housing and the adoption of minors, are decided upon,” Beauchamp said in an e-mailed statement. “I am considering running for YCC President because I am confident that I can tackle these formidable challenges and make this a successful, positive year of change for us all.”
Wu served as chair of the Freshman Class Council during the 2007-’08 academic year. As treasurer, he has led project groups that organized Eli Days and the New Haven restaurant discounts program. In addition, Wu advocated for the Eli Bucks program, an initiative that would allow students to load money onto Yale IDs for campus services and restaurants.
“The YCC President sets the tone for the council,” Wu said in an e-mail. “I could bring fresh energy, a practical understanding of YCC’s potential and shortcomings and a demonstrated commitment to concrete tangible results.”
Both Abigail Cheung ’11 and Brian Levin ’11 said Tuesday they were considering running for the position of vice-president. The vice-president usually runs elections, makes selections to standing committees and creates the YCC’s meeting agendas. When reached by phone Thursday night Levin said he had not heard of Tao’s decision and was unsure whether that news would affect his decision to run for vice-president; Cheung said Tao’s decision would not change her plans.
At least three students may run to replace current YCC Secretary Jasper Wang ’10, who confirmed last week that he would not seek re-election. YCC Representatives Tomas Rua ’10 and Michael Bronfin ’11, along with first semester Freshman Class Council Chair Kevin Adkisson ’12, all expressed interest in running for the position of secretary, who typically keeps meeting minutes and manages council communications.
Both FCC chairman Adam Thomas ’12 and FCC member Yanni Legmpelos ’12 confirmed this week that they were considering a run for treasurer, the position currently held by Wu. That position controls and regulates the YCC’s budget in cooperation with the Yale College Dean’s Office. Calhoun YCC Representative Veronica Gordon ’11 has also said she is considering running for an executive board position, but is not yet sure which.
Only Alex Cook ’11 and Murong Yang ’12 have indicated that they are considering running for UOFC chair at this point, a position to which current chairman Bryan Twarek ’10 will not seek re-election.
The sixth position on the YCC’s executive board — Yale Student Activities Committee chairman — may not be on the ballot this year. This Sunday, the YCC and YSAC will vote on a resolution to eliminate YSAC as a separate organization, though the details of that resolution and its effects on the makeup of the YCC executive board remain unclear.
If the position remains, Natasha Sarin ’11, a Calhoun YSAC representative and a co-chairwoman of this year’s Spring Fling, has said that she would consider a run to replace current chairman Colin Leatherbury ’09.
Students have until Tuesday to submit a candidacy petition with 100 signatures. On Thursday evening, student organizations can choose at a meeting whether to endorse candidates. Voting begins on April 13 and ends one day later. Should a run-off election be necessary, it will be held April 16.