Heading into today’s Yale College Council 2012-’13 Executive Board elections, the majority of students interviewed said they are largely uninterested and uninformed about the races.
Current YCC Vice President Omar Njie ’13 said he thinks candidates have been campaigning with less intensity this year than in past years, and there are fewer “bigger campus personalities” running for positions. Of 15 students interviewed Wednesday, 14 said they had not yet decided upon a presidential candidate to support, and eight said they are not engaged in the elections because they do not think YCC has been addressing issues that significantly affect them.
“Most of the platforms are based on small changes,” Tori Flannery ’13. “Either what they want to change is not feasible, or it’s too small.”
Amalia Skilton ’13 said she has not decided for whom she is voting because she is unsatisfied with all of the presidential candidates. Skilton said she thinks Yale’s student government does not measure up to those of larger universities, where she said student government leaders more vigorously tackle controversial initiatives such as student financial aid, health care and LGBTQ rights.
“I understand calculations of what things they can and can’t make a difference on,” Skilton said, “but it’s the coward’s way out [to just for push for small changes].”
Skilton added that she would decide which candidate to vote for “at the last minute” Thursday morning.
Emma Schindler ’14 said she is relatively well-informed about the candidates’ platforms, but thinks the limits to what the YCC can accomplish prevent her from getting interested in the race. She added that she thinks presidential candidates are saying what they hope will attract votes rather than taking steps to enact “real change.”
“I know why we need a student government,” Schindler said. “But it seems like a popularity contest.”
Anurag Deeconda ’14 said he found the platforms of all presidential candidates to be “generic,” so he will be making his decision based on candidates’ abilities to reach out to him on a personal level.
Although seniors are allowed to vote in YCC executive board elections, four seniors interviewed said they would abstain from voting because they will not be students next year and the outcome of the election will not affect them.
Several students said they felt candidates’ campaigning on Facebook pages is not persuasive because the substance of candidates’ platforms is not effectively conveyed. Deeconda said the photo campaigns serve only to show a candidate’s popularity, and Rhiannon Monta ’14 said she did not appreciate the candidates’ persistence in pursuing students online.
“The Facebook campaigns are too excessive,” Monta said. “I just ignore everything, because I don’t like being spammed.”
The polls for the YCC elections open at 9 a.m. on Thursday and close at 9 p.m. on Friday.