There is no shining star in this year’s Yale College Council presidential race. The three candidates all have similar platforms and similar enthusiasm. One candidate, though, showed most convincingly his ability to inspire all of the YCC — not just the executive board — to work hard and achieve meaningful changes, small and large. For his successes as leader of the Sophomore Class Council and his no-nonsense, collaborative leadership style that emphasizes teamwork, we endorse John Gonzalez ’14 to lead the Yale College Council next year.
As SoCo president, Gonzalez turned a $3,000 budget into a series of dinners with professors, a barbecue, a sophomore class ball and more. This may seem standard work for any college government, but Gonzalez took over a SoCo that was known for irrelevance. He made an organization that needed help into something meaningful.
The other candidates have their strengths. We have faith that Eric Eliasson ’14 understands the inner workings of the YCC. He has experience on the YCC and as chair of the Freshman Class Council, and he has learned the problems the YCC faces. He knows that a president’s work does not always fit into a one-year term and that a president’s success depends on the relationships he forges with his council and the administration. Eliasson is in touch with students’ interests and he could lead the council capably, but we can’t see him following paths other than those that have already been blazed.
Cristo Liautaud ’14 has an admirable energy and has set ambitious goals, all of which, he says, are backed up because he has had meetings with various Yale College officials. That sort of diligence is the right approach to the job, but Liautaud has not demonstrated that he can match his policy ideas with a clear understanding of the logistics of leading the council or of the body’s strengths and limitations. His proposals, which include a Homecoming and a Yale Pulse App, are showy, but not much more.
We have our concerns about Gonzalez’s candidacy: His focus on adding language certificates, getting exams back in students’ hands and adding power outlets to Commons is a bit overblown. He doesn’t have Eliasson’s YCC experience. But his policies are fundamentally in touch with students’ needs, and we are enthused by his commitment to letting his council do the work rather than putting it all on his own back. He wants to be remembered as the president who let others shine.
Today we are concerned with the state of the YCC — we see a problem with an organization that describes the addition of one more lamp to summer storage options as “substantial institutional change.” Change can come from within, but we don’t think Eliasson would add the new perspective YCC needs.
Gonzalez, on the other hand, has a track record of getting things done, and a demonstrated ability to take an ineffective organization and make it work. In his campaign video, Gonzalez makes the claim that when he makes promises, he delivers. We think he’s right.