Dozens of newly-elected students will join the Yale College Council Senate and First-Year Class Council, marking the end of an election season that ranged from uncontested to bitterly competitive races.
The YCC is made up of four branches: policy, student services, operations and events. The YCC Senate, which falls under the policy branch, includes two students from each residential college. The FCC, one of the four class councils, valls under the events branch and is comprised of two representatives per college from a given class year. Aside from the President, Vice President, Events Director, Spring Fling Chair and heads of the class councils, these are the only elected positions within the YCC.
Thursday night’s election results included nine new senators were elected from seven residential colleges as well as 27 first-year representatives. All YCC Senate positions are now filled, and there is only one vacancy for the Grace Hopper representative in the FCC. According to YCC Vice President Grace Kang ’21, another Grace Hopper first year will later serve as an associate representative. An associate representative must attend three meetings to officially become a member of YCC.
Three of the four contested Senate races drew at least 100 votes. The remaining three races were uncontested, with two drawing around 50 votes, while the other drew exactly 100. Among the FCC races, nine of the fourteen were contested, and four of those nine drew at least 100 votes.
In 2018, there were five contested Senate races, four of which drew at least 100 votes, and eight contested FCC races. The number of total candidates running FCC increased by 14 percent this year, from 37 to 42, according to YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21. Voter turnout for the FCC races also increased overall, increasing by 5 percent from 1060 to 1109, according to Greene.
“The results of this election are extremely exciting! Interest in the YCC has visibly sky-rocketed within the First-year class,” Greene said. “This increase in involvement can be attributed to the new and impactful means of First-year engagement the YCC instituted this year. Often, students, especially ones from underrepresented backgrounds, don’t join the YCC because of the perceived exclusivity of student government.”
This year, 55 percent of the newly elected Senators are first-years compared to last year’s election where none of the first years running for Senate positions won.
According to Greene, this increase can be attributed to YCC’s expanded involvement in Camp Yale and opening days, which was greater “than any YCC administration in the past.” He noted that he was the first YCC President to introduce the YCC at one of the opening days events in Woolsey Hall or speak during Yale Up, another event for first years during their first few weeks on campus.
“It was so great to see so many people interested in running for the YCC,” Kang said. “Especially for first years, it’s really difficult to juggle transitioning to Yale while still running a full-on campaign, so really props to them for winning their representative elections.”
Kang said that the YCC Senators will be working on policy issues for the rest of the year, ranging from discussions about the opening of the Schwarzman Center to “expanding and diversifying” mental health resources. She cited discussions about extensions of the move out date for students and subsidized summer storage options as other “popular” issues they will work on.
In years past, the Sophomore Class Council and Junior Class Council also held elections around this time of year. But low interest in these elections led the YCC to amend its constitution two years ago to allow the sophomore and junior class presidents to fill these positions based on written applications.
SOCO President Reilly Johnson ’22 said that voting in YCC elections is important because it is “one of the best ways [the YCC can] gauge what students care about.” She added that by voting, students can “[make] the administration more likely to listen when the YCC lobbies on the students’ behalf” by demonstrating their engagement and passion about campus issues.
Newly-elected FCC Morse representative Larissa Jimenez Grateraux ’23 said that she chose to run because she believes that as an FCC representative, she can “directly impact” students and “empower them to make every day count at Yale.”
“I’m excited to work with the other FCC members to organize events like First-Year Formal, go door to door asking about student concerns, and make real solutions come to life,” Jimenez Gratereaux said.
The first YCC Senate meeting with newly-elected representatives will take place this Saturday, Sept. 21.
Alayna Lee | firstname.lastname@example.org .
Correction, Sept. 16: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that nine of the twelve FCC races were contested. In fact, there were fourteen FCC races, and nine of those were contested.