Kristina Kim and Gladys Fang

Eleven student organizations — including Dwight Hall, Unite Against Sexual Assault Yale and the Asian American Students Alliance — had officially endorsed candidates for Yale College Council president, vice president and events director, as of 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.

Shunhe Wang ’20, who is running for YCC president, received five of the 11 official endorsements, the most among any of the candidates. Voting will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning and continue until polls close at 9 p.m. on Friday night.

The Yale College Council told the News that all student organizations are welcome to endorse candidates but that only the endorsements of organizations whose representatives attended Tuesday’s YCC candidate debate will appear on the ballot. In addition to the 11 official endorsements, some other campus organizations, including the Yale College Republicans, made Facebook posts pledging their support for candidates.

“As a candidate who ran last year, where only maybe four or five organizations endorsed in total, I’m super happy that so many different organizations are paying attention to this election and are choosing to endorse a candidate,” said Matt Guido ’19, current YCC president. “I think that speaks to how well the candidates have done mobilizing campus.”

The Asian American Students Alliance and the Japanese American Students Union both endorsed Wang, who said he wanted to increase diversity on the council by introducing advisory positions or a student outreach team consisting of cultural center representatives. The Morse College Council and the Yale Undergraduate Science Olympiad also threw their support behind Wang, currently the secretary of the Morse College Council. Wang was also endorsed by the Taiwanese American Society — an organization he chairs.

The board of the AASA said it endorsed Wang for his “much-needed solutions that benefit PoC and low-income students” and his record of working with Asian American organizations as reasons for their endorsement. Wang is running against four other candidates in the race for YCC president — Sal Rao ’20, Chris Moeckel ’20, Aadit Vyas ’20 and Azaria King ’20.

King and Vyas did not receive any official endorsements.

In its endorsement, the AASA stressed Wang’s acknowledgment of the existence of institutional racism at Yale, which was the subject of a contentious question at the debate. While Rao and Moeckel denied the existence of institutional racism at Yale, Wang, Vyas and King all agreed that institutional racism does exist at the University.

“We believe that the YCC president should be a person that breaks down barriers for people of color on this campus, acknowledges that certain barriers, such as institutional racism, exist, and is willing to work with student groups to create much needed change,” the AASA board told the News. “We wanted to be somewhat fair to the candidates because they weren’t given a chance to explain their answers, but we still felt it important to endorse someone who affirmed the idea that Yale is institutionally racist.”

Wang said he was glad to receive the endorsements of the cultural organizations, saying that their support attests to his “dedication to cultural groups on campus” and to the fact that he can “effectively interface” with them.

Rao received three endorsements, the second-highest number among presidential candidates, from the News, Dwight Hall and Unite Against Sexual Assault Yale. 

“We’re really excited for the potential to work with her, because she really has thought about the New Haven community,” Dwight Hall co-coordinator Matthew Coffin ’19 said. “And I think when she says she wants to get something done, she gets it done, which is something we respect a lot.”

While candidates normally give speeches at Dwight Hall’s spring cabinet, this year they instead met with Dwight Hall’s student-run Executive Committee and submitted statements specific to community service and Dwight Hall due to timing conflicts, Coffin said. The statements were then forwarded to member group leaders, who along with Executive Committee members voted on a candidate to endorse.

According to Coffin, the Dwight Hall vote resulted in a “clear, but not overwhelming majority” for Rao.

Coffin said he believes the vote went in Rao’s favor because her submitted statement was tailored toward Dwight Hall specifically and because her plan was both “realistic” and “thoughtful.”

“It’s time for the YCC to invest and engage in bridging the Yale–New Haven divide,” Rao told the News.

She added that the YCC has yet to take “concrete steps” on the matter and that she wants to change that.

USAY Co-president Abby Leonard ’21 said the group endorsed Rao and running mate Heidi Dong ’20 because their missions as candidates allign with that of USAY.

“The emphasis on increasing both formal and informal sexual misconduct reporting options is particularly consistent with one of USAY’s main missions,” Leonard said. “Altogether, USAY hopes to see YCC address sexual climate issues including instituting an anonymous online reporting option, increased campus climate surveys and centralized resources for survivors of sexual misconduct. Given our conservations with several candidates and review of their platforms, USAY believes that Sal and Heidi will do the best job at implementing these objectives next year.”

Besides Dong, the other vice presidential candidates are Remy Dhingra ’20 and Casey Ramsey ’20.

Although Moeckel did not get as many official endorsements as did Wang or Rao, he was endorsed by the Arab Students Association and the Ivy Council, an organization with chapters across all eight Ivy League campuses.

Shady Qubaty ’20, treasurer of the Arab Students Association, said the Arab Students Association supported Moeckel and his running mate Dhingra, noting that the pair has made the creation of Middle Eastern and North African Cultural House the fourth pillar of their campaign platform.

“We really applaud the extensive efforts of Chris and Remy to support us, at the Arab Students Association, to raise awareness about our campaign to establish a Middle East and North African (MENA) Cultural House,” Qubaty said. “They have officially added this demand as the fourth main stance of their campaign.”

Moeckel and Dhingra said they did not intentionally seek any institutional endorsements, as they believe the choice “should be in the hands of the students” instead of “select organizations.” They did, however, seek the endorsement of the News. And in an April 6 email to at least one student organization, Moeckel’s campaign manager, Jacob Malinowski ’20, said the campaign had set a goal of 100 endorsements.

They were also unofficially endorsed by the Yale College Republicans, who posted their endorsement on Facebook.

Benjamin Zollinger ’19, president of the Yale College Republicans, said his organization supports Moeckel and Remy’s candidacies because of their “actionable plans.”

“We didn’t endorse Chris or Remy because of their political party affiliation,” Zollinger said. “In fact, we don’t even know whether they are conservative or not because that doesn’t matter. The YCC has become stagnant and we don’t want to wait 10 years for real change to be set in place. We need to #shakeupYCC.”

Aakshi Chaba | aakshi.chaba@yale.edu

Asha Prihar | asha.prihar@yale.edu

Clarification, April 13: In a round of rapid-fire, yes-or-no questioning at Tuesday’s debate, both Rao and Moeckel answered “no” in response to the question “Is Yale institutionally racist?”.

Correction, April 16: A previous version of this article said Rao was endorsed by Yale Squash. In fact, she was endorsed by an individual member of the women’s squash team.

AAKSHI CHABA
ASHA PRIHAR