The decision to endorse Heidi Dong ’20 for Yale College Council vice president was not a difficult one to make. Her experience with policymaking is impressive, and her plans to reform the internal structure of the YCC along with her proposals for revamping mental health policy and the sexual and social climates are actionable.
Although Casey Ramsey ’20 and Remy Dhingra ’20 both presented plans to improve mental health counseling services and diminish the student income contribution, we felt that both candidates’ qualifications pale in comparison to Dong’s. While Ramsey has worked with the YCC as a representative, he has not spearheaded policy proposals as Dong has. And Dhingra has no experience working with the YCC, nor has she attended a single YCC meeting, which is concerning.
All of the candidates have presented policy aimed at reforming the internal structure of the YCC; however, the News feels Dong has the most targeted plan for addressing the issue. She plans to use the YCC’s internal endowment to fund projects, encourage grassroots policy proposals and push to hold the YCC more accountable. Ramsey has also discussed making internal changes to the YCC, but his only concrete plan for doing so was to include representatives from each cultural center. Dhingra, in contrast, has supported her running mate’s idea of cutting the amount of representatives in the YCC in half — although wavered on this point when pressed in a meeting with the News. We are skeptical that this solution will not impede many of the proposals in Dhingra’s own platform. Initiatives such as drastically reducing the student income contribution will need more manpower than a reduced Council could supply.
Dong currently serves on the Executive Board of the YCC as the University services director. As University services director, Dong was able to successfully kickstart a number of policy proposals. She has helped pioneer a pilot program for providing menstrual hygiene products in residential colleges and add an additional shuttle route, the Yellow Line, which in part underpins service from central campus to Science Hill. A Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology major, Dong provides a much-needed voice for STEM students, who are often underrepresented on the Council. These accomplishments reinforce our confidence in Dong’s abilities to navigate the bureaucracy of the YCC in order to achieve results.
The vice president of the YCC must have experience, fortitude and drive to rein in and reform the Council. Over the years, many candidates have broken promises to reform mental health policy and hold the YCC accountable to the student body. Dong’s stellar track record leads us to believe that she will execute her policy proposals, and we endorse her for vice president.
Members of the managing board with personal ties to candidates in the race recused themselves from the conception and execution of this endorsement. The News considered each candidate in each race individually, irrespective of those running on tickets.