Next year’s YCC president will have big shoes to fill. Two years ago, Rebecca Taber ’08 completely revamped the council’s internal workings and molded it into a decentralized, project-oriented organization. Over the past year, we saw Rich Tao ’10 harness the advantages of that system and address substantive issues of student policy with a thoughtfulness and dedication not often seen in student government.
We believe Ryan Beauchamp ’10 is best suited to continue the YCC’s positive momentum into next year, and for that he has earned our endorsement.
In our interview, we asked Beauchamp’s opponent, YCC Treasurer Jon Wu ’11, why he believes he is a better candidate to be president than Beauchamp. He answered by pointing to his experience on the YCC’s executive board, and only to that.
But Taber and Tao both came into the presidency without any executive board experience. In fact, both candidates defeated challengers who held executive board positions — and we have seen how successfully their terms ended up.
Neither candidate this year impressed us with policy acumen, as both pledged to support obvious matters like financial aid reform and gender-neutral housing. Both displayed blind zealousness for academic minors, an issue against which we have editorialized.
But at least Beauchamp was willing to have a discussion about minors. He said he believed more research should be done and that it may be prudent for minors only to be allowed in some departments. Wu, on the other hand, was virtually clueless: He admitted he was unfamiliar with the work of the Committee on Yale College Education, which six years ago completed the College’s first comprehensive academic review in a quarter-century, and which is basic and required reading for anyone working on this issue.
So it was particularly disturbing that Wu highlighted academic minors as the first item in his platform, under the heading “fresh vision” — a questionable descriptor, considering it was Tao who began the push for minors.
In fact, Wu hewed to platitudes and generalities in his interview, talking about “transparency” and “collaboration” and “streamlining.” When pressed for specifics, about all he offered of a concrete nature was a promise to force various Yale administrators in the Dean’s Office and Woodbridge Hall to meet together with YCC members, rather than in separate meetings, to ensure they can’t pass the buck, as he put it.
If that’s “vision,” we’ll pass.
At the end of the day, we will feel much more comfortable with Beauchamp representing us in front of the administration. We acknowledge he has little experience in policy issues, and we do not believe he has made a significant impact on campus as Junior Class Council chair. (If throwing J.V. Feb Club parties is an electoral ploy, it is a pretty bad one.)
But he has shown an enthusiasm for the position of president and a willingness to get up to speed on the important issues. As JCC chair, he has attended YCC meetings this year, so his learning curve as president would not be unmanageably steep. We believe he would be an effective advocate for students and an affable presence within the executive board. His ideas — like allowing dining hall swipes in the college butteries and establishing a winter music festival — are not visionary, but his approach — thinking about an “action plan” for how to achieve each idea as much as the idea itself — is refreshing.
Beauchamp may have less YCC experience than Wu, but his dedication will outweigh his thinner resume.
Wu’s lyrical YouTube videos will not serve much purpose when it comes time to advocate for student issues to the Yale administration. And nothing in his campaign makes us believe he will bring much more to the table.