Editor’s note: Led by two co-presidents, Publius is an independent, member-led body of the Yale Daily News, separate from the newsroom and News editorials. Publius is composed of eight undergraduate students who represent a variety of backgrounds, interests and perspectives. 

This endorsement does not reflect the views of the News or any representative body thereof.

To prepare this endorsement, before interviewing the candidates, Publius internally disclosed conflicts of interest within its membership in order to approach the endorsement process in an unbiased manner. Publius then conducted 25-minute interviews for each ticket. After each set of interviews, members deliberated each ticket and candidate independently, without reference to other tickets or candidates. From there, members also attended the annual YCC x YDN debate. The final endorsement passed with a two-thirds majority of the members present.


Last week, we argued that the titles of Yale College Council President and Vice President are misleading. Understandably, students expect leaders who will swiftly turn ambitious visions into sweeping reform, but in reality these positions are fundamentally those of liaisons with special access to university officials and administrators. YCC leadership can enact meaningful change, but it takes compromise and concerted maneuvering with non-student stakeholders in the university. Most of all, it takes time. 

An effective president and vice president have to work in concert with the Senate, build on the work of past administrations and skillfully navigate Yale’s bureaucracy. Given widespread student apathy, it is equally important that these leaders engage with students so that they may better represent the whole student body. Beyond work ethic and general organizational skills, then, we should look above all for leaders with a genuine passion for connecting with students and hands-on experience with driving change. Whether or not you agree with our endorsement, we hope that our careful consideration of each candidate will prove valuable. 

Celene Bennett ’26 and Juan Borrego ’26: Connecting Yale

Publius is pleased to endorse Celene Bennett ’26 for YCC president and Juan Borrego ’26 for YCC vice president. Though their track record in the YCC and passion for student advocacy is very impressive, what puts them above other candidates is a genuine desire to engage with students and a keen awareness of what their respective roles demand of them. We are confident that, if elected, their experience, earnestness and rapport will ensure a fruitful presidency and vice presidency. 

Bennett and Borrego have extensive experience in the YCC, both in the Senate and the Executive Board, in areas ranging from financial policy to academics and student healthcare. They are well-prepared to continue with the policies they have been advocating for, among them financial aid transparency, Cr/D/Fail reform and healthcare transportation reimbursements, as well as to spearhead other key priorities of their platform, such as expanding the role and responsibilities of the New Haven engagement chair and making the YCC a more readily-available resource to student organizations. Their own experience outside the YCC, such as Bennett’s with the UOFC funding process for Kasama, the Filipino Club at Yale, convinced us of their empathetic approach to YCC decision-making. They also underscored the role of YCC leadership in facilitating student advocacy through their proposals to match YCC Policy Directors to their respective Deans and involve student organizations in policy-making. Institutional memory was a recurring theme in our conversation with them, and their experience working with administrators and revival of policies from past YCC administrations, such as the YCC incubator, lent credence to their message. 

Beyond their policies and experience, a major strength of their ticket is how they fit their roles and complement one another. Borrego’s history of spearheading student welfare initiatives equips him for the more internal-facing role of vice president, while Bennett’s work as a bridge between administrators and the student body places her well for the external-facing presidential duties. Their chemistry and shared history was evident when we spoke with them; They have known each other before even stepping foot on campus, and we are confident that they will prove to be effective as a pair. 

Finally, Bennett and Borrego’s positive attitude and eagerness to serve shone through in our conversation. They expressed how much they enjoyed meeting Yalies in residential college butteries on the campaign trail, and we expect that they will continue to put themselves out there and meet individual students. They also had insightful ideas for increasing student engagement — in particular better leveraging of the YCC Instagram, publishing the Senate agenda a week in advance and allowing students to sign up to speak at Senate meetings via a guest form. We were particularly impressed by the no-nonsense presentation of their policies and their recognition of the dangers of overpromising, which we believe is an indication that theirs will be a transparent YCC administration. But most of all it was their interpersonal dynamic and earnestness that made them stand out. Bennett claimed she would “genuinely enjoy every second of the YCC presidency.” We believe her. 

Mimi Papathanasopoulos ’26 and Esha Garg ’26: Together Yale

Both Papathanasopoulos and Garg are truly invested in the welfare of the student body, and it shows. Their warmth, enthusiasm and kindness were evident during our conversation with them and will undoubtedly serve them and the student body well if they are elected. As seasoned YCC senators, Papathanasopoulos and Garg are prepared to combine their experience in the YCC with their innate optimism in order to succeed. 

At the heart of their platform is student engagement, health and accessibility and FGLI support. In particular, they emphasized their idea of adding a student engagement branch to the YCC, with the aim of strengthening the YCC’s relationship with student organizations, and their commitment to meet with at least five students each month. Papathanasopoulos and Garg also focused on their ideas for reforming the YCC, such as creating handbooks for YCC positions to help streamline YCC transition periods and introducing a Senate mentorship program that would partner new senators with senior members, increase engagement and ensure accountability. Although they do bring together skill sets from different parts of the YCC, we felt more confident in Bennett and Borrego’s ability to carry out the specialized responsibilities of their respective offices. However, we are confident that the student body would benefit both from Papathanasopoulos and Garg’s experience in the YCC and their bright and upbeat attitudes.

Brian Zhang ’25: Opening for the Gates of Yale for You

The only solo candidate, Brian Zhang, is ready to put his all into the position of YCC president. He conveyed to us his deep personal resolve to forge genuine, emotional connections with his fellow Yalies and “take care of every student.” Put simply, Zhang “loves Yale.” This passion and devotion permeated through every element of his campaign: his decision to run solo — out of loyalty to his preferred running mate who opted not to run —  his repeated emphasis on keeping “everyone happy and healthy,” and his policies. His main priorities include providing FGLI students with accessible professional development resources, expanding Yale’s available mental health services and collaborating with Yale Hospitality to provide EpiPens at all Yale dining halls. 

With a track record of success, having kept all of his Junior Class Council promises, we are confident that Zhang will bring a refreshing energy to the YCC as President or Events Director. His run is unorthodox but passionate, his visions grand but meaningful and his self-admitted awkwardness — although the YDN debate showed him to be a confident speaker — only makes him more endearing. However, though he emphasized his experience as JCC President, we believe his unfamiliarity with the policy side of the YCC will make it difficult for him to effectively serve the student body, and some of his more ambitious goals may distract from achievable reform. 


All five candidates would do well if they were to serve in the YCC’s highest offices. But after speaking with each candidate, attending the YDN debate and deliberating at length, Bennett and Borrego stood out for their experience, earnestness and rapport. We are confident they will make excellent advocates for the student body. In any case, we wish the best to whomever is elected come Friday, and we hope our new YCC leadership will bear in mind their roles as liaisons to the administration and the importance of engaging with the whole student body. 

This piece was written by a two-thirds majority of Publius, excepting two members who recused themselves because of conflicts of interest. Members of the body include:


Violet Barnett, Grace Hopper ’25

Miami, FL

Edos Herwegh Vonk, Davenport ’26

London, United Kingdom


Justin Crosby, Silliman ’25

Middleton, MA

Hannah Figueroa Velazquez, Berkeley ’26

Portland, OR

Ami Gillon, Saybrook ‘27

New York, NY

Miles Kirkpatrick, Saybrook ‘27

Whitsett, NC

Adam Tufts, Berkeley ’26

Livermore, CA

Arrow Zhang, Benjamin Franklin ‘26

Anchorage, AK