The Yale College Council will hold elections for all leadership positions this month, after it delayed administrative turnover last spring.
On Sept. 17, all Yale undergraduates — whether enrolled or on a leave of absence — will have the opportunity to vote for this year’s YCC officers: the president, vice president, events director and Sophomore and Junior Class Council presidents. All 28 YCC Senate seats will be open, as will seats on the First-Year Class Council. Typically, officer and senate elections are held in the spring, and fall elections fill senate vacancies and elect members to the First-Year Class Council. Last spring, the YCC Senate voted to push all elections to the fall, citing potential inequities in running a campaign from home.
“By the end of the election season, the YCC will be a brand new organization,” said YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21. “This refresh is only fitting because our unprecedented school year will require fresh ideas and a vibrant set of advocates full of passion and drive.”
In the past month, the Council Elections Commission — composed of four voting members, a secretary and a chair — has been revamping the election process and timeline to facilitate remote campaigns. Over the summer, YCC Vice President Grace Kang ’21, who chairs the CEC, collaborated with Greene and the broader YCC to rewrite the official election guidelines for this fall. The CEC then unanimously voted earlier this month to adopt those new guidelines.
The YCC will host a series of events via Zoom for people interested in running, including a mandatory information session on Sept. 5, a mentorship meeting on Sept. 7 and an orientation meeting for officer candidates on Sept. 8. There will also be a “pre-campaign” period for officer candidates from Sept. 9 to 10, when candidates can assemble their campaign team, followed by a week of open campaigning for all candidates beginning Sept. 11.
“We want to be as transparent, unbiased and supportive as possible of all the students that are considering running,” Kang said. “YCC prides itself on a lot of the diversity initiatives that we’ve been trying to do, and while a lot of them have been halted kind of due to COVID-19, we want to make sure that anyone who wants to run for these positions has the opportunity to do so.”
In the past, YCC campaigns have mostly consisted of in-person components, but this year the Council is encouraging candidates to make websites, run social media campaigns and submit official videos to be publicized by the YCC.
Karena Zhao ’21, a member of the CEC and the current YCC Residential College Director, said that she expects elections this year to look very different from in years past. But she and the rest of the CEC have been working to make sure they go as smoothly as possible.
“I think it’ll be really interesting to see, on one hand, just what the candidates come up with in terms of how they decide to campaign, especially because a lot of it will look different,” Zhao said. “But I really do hope to see a lot of activity and still a lot of engagement with the YCC in spite of the difficulties of the situation.”
Kang said that the YCC is trying to ensure that elections are just as accessible as in years past.
Still, she said that as a first-year counselor, she has already seen how difficult it is for first years to get involved on campus.
“We tried our best to make the fairest set of guidelines so that anyone who wants to run has an equal opportunity of winning. I think kind of moving forward, we’re very cognizant of the fact that things may not go as planned,” Kang said. “But we are pretty confident that we are well-equipped enough to make sure that if problems do arise, we have the necessary resources and manpower and brainpower to make sure that things don’t go completely haywire.”
Online voting will open on Sept. 17, and students will have until 9 p.m. on Sept. 18 to cast their votes.
Amelia Davidson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction, Sept. 2: A previous version of this article stated that the CEC was composed of four members, whereas it is composed of six members, four of whom are voting. The article has been updated to reflect this.