After last week’s Yale College Council election left the presidency contested, John Gonzalez ’14 captured 59.91 percent of the votes and next year’s YCC presidency in a runoff election against Eric Eliasson ’14.
Though the YCC had declared Gonzalez the winner of the YCC election in an email last Friday night, the council’s Election Committee retracted the statement the next day — citing an overlooked clause in the YCC constitution, which indicated that Gonzalez had not won by a sufficient margin — and announced that a runoff election would take place between the top two candidates. The YCC informed the student body of the runoff election results in an email early Wednesday morning, also announcing that Aly Moore ’14 earned 53.71 percent of the vote to defeat Bobby Dresser ’14 in a runoff election for chair of the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee.
Gonzalez, the current Sophomore Class Council president, called the runoff election “very, very stressful,” but said he was glad for an additional opportunity to meet students and hear their opinions.
“I just spent the last 10 minutes clicking my heels and screaming out the window in glee,” Gonzalez said early Wednesday morning, minutes after learning of his victory from YCC Vice President Omar Njie ’13.
Gonzalez ran on a platform of proposed changes to students’ academic experiences, Yale Dining, and other aspects of student life. His initiatives include reforming the credit/D/fail system, expanding meal plans to accommodate students who stay on campus over fall and spring breaks, and creating a centralized calendar for campus events.
Though the newly elected YCC Board members do not take office until May, according to the YCC constitution, Gonzalez is scheduled to meet with Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry at 3:30 p.m. today and said he is excited to jump into his new role.
“I’m ready to go, to start day one tomorrow — bring it on,” he said. “From here to the end of the year I’m going to be acting like a sponge, absorbing every single thing [current YCC President Brandon Levin ’13 and Njie] know so I can do my job to the best of my abilities as soon as possible.”
Eliasson, who won 40.09 percent of the vote in the presidential runoff election, built his platform on improving overall student life, interactions between the YCC and the Yale College Dean’s Office, and communication between the YCC and the student body. More specific plans included opening Commons Dining Hall at night as a study space and creating a system that would allow students to change their Yale ID photos.
Over the past two years, Eliasson has served on the YCC as the Freshman Class Council chair, the YCC Academics Committee chair and a member of three other committees. He had the most previous YCC experience of the three presidential candidates.
Reached after the polls closed, Eliasson congratulated Gonzalez on his win.
“I’m really excited for what YCC will do next year,” Eliasson said. “I hope he gives it his all, because he’ll do a good job.”
This year’s YCC elections headed to a runoff after Eliasson contacted the Election Committee about a clause in the YCC constitution stating that if the first-place candidate in an election wins less than 40 percent of the votes, he or she must win by “at least 10 percent more votes than the nearest candidate.” Gonzalez won 39.79 percent of the votes in the first election, while Eliasson took 30.73 percent and Cristo Liautaud ’14 took 29.47 percent.
The YCC interpreted the clause to mean that the candidate needed to win by a margin of 10 percentage points, though the constitution’s wording is in terms of “percent [of] votes.” While elections for three YCC positions did not meet this condition in 2007, 2008 and 2010, the YCC did not hold runoff elections in those cases.
“Although this election rule of the YCC constitution has been neglected in years past, we feel it is our responsibility to uphold the YCC constitution,” the Election Committee wrote in a statement Sunday.
Voting for the YCC runoff elections ran from 9 a.m. Monday to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.