When the Yale College Council held its first Senate meeting on Sept. 27, the losing YCC officer candidates diverged in their decisions on ongoing engagement with the group.
On Sept. 19, Aliesa Bahri ’22 and Reilly Johnson ’22 were elected YCC President and Vice President, respectively, beating Abey Philip ’22 and Matthew Murillo ’22, who ran for President and Vice President respectively on a joint ticket, and Carlos Brown ’23, who ran for Vice President alone. Brown is continuing to work with the YCC as an Associate Senator, while Philip and Murillo are no longer involved with the YCC in any official capacity.
“YCC wasn’t the end goal,” Murillo said. “The end goal is to bring some positive change to campus, and the YCC isn’t the only outlet to do that. So I’m really excited to keep working.”
While Murillo was not involved in the YCC prior to the election, Philip was a YCC Senator, the vice president of the Benjamin Franklin College Council and a sustainability liaison. But Philip told the News he will not take on an official position this year.
Philip and Murillo are both first-generation, low-income students, and ran on a platform based heavily on removing institutional barriers for FGLI students. They advocated for a complete revamp of Yale’s health care system, and prided themselves on what they deemed an “intersectional platform.”
“[The election was] definitely a learning experience in so many ways,” Philip said. “I am very grateful for everything throughout the process, and getting to know Matt more and getting to really get into the policies and see what we can do outside of the YCC and still on campus. It was definitely a great experience.”
Philip and Murillo told the News that they are most proud of the way they “changed the conversation” around healthcare. Their plan to shift Yale’s healthcare model from a “health maintenance organization” (HMO) model to a “preferred provider organization” (PPO) model was not widely discussed prior to this election, but the two told the News that now the idea seems to be more mainstream.
The two say they are continuing to advocate for their plans outside of the YCC. Philip, who pioneered the Student Green Innovation Fund during his time at the YCC, said the Fund was moving from the YCC over to the Office of Sustainability , where he said decisions regarding its allocation will be made through a “more democratised process.” Philip and Murillo also told the News that they plan to work more closely with student groups and activists to advocate for the causes on which they ran.
Unlike Philip and Murillo, Brown is continuing his work at the YCC as an Associate Senator and as a member of the YCC’s Black affinity group.
Brown ran on a platform of reforming the YCC Senate, and he told the News he met with Bahri after the election to discuss ways his ideas could be implemented in the new YCC administration. While he said that not all of his policies will be adopted, he believes that this administration will have a “more democratic and more representative” Senate.
“I think running as a sophomore for Vice President, it was always a long shot,” Brown said. “I think we outperformed expectations. We got to change the conversation in a lot of ways, bring importance to the role of vice president and start some important conversations about what the Senate should be, how it should look and how it can best serve students. And I’m already seeing that start to kind of impact the direction the YCC is going this year, and I’m really excited to hopefully continue being a part of that change.”
This election season was particularly contentious, with a heated officer candidates debate, and a last minute election violation by Bahri and Johnson that was reported and publicized by Philip and Murillo. Brown said the election process was “really, really rough,” and is excited to be starting up with the new administration and be done with elections for the time being.
Philip and Murillo both said that the election and their loss was difficult, but they are glad that they had the chance to run.
“I really enjoyed every second, whether it be learning more about school or being able to work more closely with other groups,” Murillo said “So like, in a way, as intense and contentious as it was, I still like got a lot out of it.”
Bahri and Johnson began their term as President and Vice President on Monday, Sept. 21.
Amelia Davidson | firstname.lastname@example.org