It may not come as a surprise that Brandon Levin ’13 is running for Yale College Council president. But predictable or not, Levin is the right man for the job, a candidate whose charisma, experience and tenacity will be needed at the council’s helm in the coming year.
A year of unfulfilled promises has resulted in three candidates with similar platforms, but different strengths. In the abstract, all would push for later dinners, mental health and language certificates. Individually, Rustin Fakheri ’12 gave voice to an admirably detailed set of issues for the council, as well as a sharp understanding of its potential and limitations. Meanwhile, Jimmy Murphy ’13 strikes an amiable and approachable chord, a representative leader from many walks of campus life. Given his focus on campus outreach, Murphy has the potential to open up the council. But in terms of getting things done, Levin is the better choice.
We believe that Levin combines vision and personality with real substance. He will not reinvent the YCC from the ground up, but will set its goals clearly and expand its mandate. Many of this year’s small successes were Levin-led: initiatives such as YCC summer storage, the Yale-Harvard tailgate, and the YCC/YHHAP book exchange. Other promises in his platform — from closer and better-scheduled UCS events to bursar-operated laundry machines — are inventive and manageable.
When it comes to policy changes, we trust that Levin has the drive necessary not to get lost in the institutional malaise of the past. He understands the nature of the council’s dealings with the administration, and will be able to employ these relationships to our advantage. Though a YCC insider, Levin has emphasized the council’s most important representative function: to spearhead student-supported policy changes. Given his strengths and campus involvement, he has the potential to be a successful face of the student body.
Based on the number of endorsements Levin has picked up and the publicity his campaign has generated so far, it is clear that Levin is the most well-known candidate. Yet the same personality that has made Levin popular may allow him to make the YCC relevant in the year to come. We hope he takes the opportunity to reach out to the student body, to connect with them on campuswide issues. He would bring to the presidency an understanding of the failures of the past, and the possibilities to come. The YCC need not be an insular student government; we put enough time and attention into this race to make it count. If Levin wins the job, it will be his responsibility to forge a braver, more open YCC, one that effects meaningful change in tandem with the student body.
If we are to have student politics, let us make them matter. And to do so, we will need the leadership of a student politician who can play the game while aiming high. Levin has the potential to make the YCC stronger — we hope that, if elected, he seizes the opportunity.