Half of last week’s contests for Yale College Council seats went uncontested in the first election since the organization absorbed the Yale Student Activities Committee last spring.
The number of candidates running for representative positions also fell by 36 percent, mirroring a decrease of 33 percent in the number of positions available following the elimination of YSAC, from 36 to 24. Instead of voting for two YCC representatives and one YSAC representative, students voted separately for one issues representative and one events representative per college. Seven of the issues races and five events races went uncontested.
Although there were eight uncontested elections for last year’s YSAC, no college has had an uncontested YCC election in either of the last two years, YCC Secretary Mike Bronfin ’11 said. This year, 18 candidates ran for issues representative and 21 for events representative, while in 2008, 19 students ran for positions on YSAC and 42 students ran for positions on the YCC.
Still, YCC President Jon Wu ’11 said the organization is not worried about the drop-off in election participation.
“In the end, numbers are just numbers, and we’re more concerned about the quality of our council,” Wu said in an e-mail message. “The fact that we have so many returning members — representatives who have previously served on FCC or YCC — demonstrates a continued interest in student government.”
He added that this is the first year that YCC, Freshman College Council, Sophomore College Council and Junior College Council elections were held simultaneously, so some students who otherwise would have been interested in YCC ran for a class council instead.
YSAC, formed in 2003, had traditionally been responsible for planning events for students such as the annual Spring Fling concert. But both bodies voted to integrate YSAC into the YCC last April, after some members argued that the two organizations’ overlapping roles resulted in inefficiencies.
Though the candidates for the issues and events roles competed in two separate elections within each college, the elected representatives will serve together and may be assigned to any committee on the YCC.
Four of the 11 candidates interviewed said having two separate races meant that some elections were highly competitive while others went uncontested, even within the same college.
“Having this division has skewed the elections,” Annie Shi ’12, the newly elected events representative from Pierson College, said Friday before polls closed. “Most people I’ve talked to think that they want to elect the two most efficient and responsible representatives.”
Brian Levin ’11, now the Silliman College issues representative, said he thinks the new division will help YCC run more efficiently, though he added that it does make possible a scenario in which the top candidate for one position ends up with fewer votes than the second-place candidate for the other position.
At the end of the day, though, Harry Koulos ’11, who lost the race for Silliman College events representative, said before the polls closed that the change would not alter the fundamental purpose of the YCC.
“What’s important is [for students] to have a representative to relay their voices to the administration,” Koulos said.
The YCC Executive Board notified all students of the election results in an e-mail sent at 9:30 Friday evening.