Only four candidates are running for the Yale College Council’s three major elected positions this year. All four of these candidates are male. The Politic cannot endorse this. As an organization that prioritizes inclusion and empowerment, we are troubled by the lack of non-male candidates in this year’s race and even more troubled by the glaring lack of non-male individuals to have held the YCC’s highest office in years past. Regardless of who is elected to lead the YCC in two days, our student council must stop paying lip service to diversity and actively seek institutional reform.
Going into the YCC debate on Tuesday, our most urgent question was: Why does student government matter? At last night’s debate in LC 102—an auditorium that seats 170—only 25 seats were filled. Perhaps this disengagement comes after a year of focusing on national politics, but we are also aware that the YCC has not successfully engaged the student body and garnered our trust. They have failed to prove to us their efficiency.
We think Matt Guido is most prepared for this uphill battle as YCC president. We went into this endorsement process searching for a candidate with vision, realistic policies, and a focus on the community. We are confident Guido is that candidate. He understands that YCC must be more than a research institution, and will seek to restructure the policy-making process in a way that presents a clear vision and action plan to administrators who will have more work than ever before with an expanded freshman class.
Guido’s plans for transforming YCC from a policy-heavy “think tank” structure into an advocacy organization is encouraging: Students need to see a shift from research for the sake of research to sensible proposals that can become action. Guido’s platform, if implemented, has the potential to inspire concrete policy change. But we have serious reservations about his intent to eliminate certain Director positions. While bureaucratic streamlining is important in the policy-making process, we find that Guido’s intention can still be accomplished with empowered and effective Directors. We hope that the Vice President will serve as a force of moderation should restructuring become too severe.
As Guido said in our interview, “[The YCC] budget is an agent of change.” We hope he will follow through on his promise to hold the YCC accountable for its spending. The $25,000 from their endowment, allocated by a donor for “internal YCC” affairs, has undermined student confidence in the organization. Guido himself pointed this out. The Politic hopes that instead of spending this money on open bars or extravagant galas exclusive to YCC members, Guido can encourage events that include larger parts of the Yale community.
We are optimistic that Guido will find new ways for how the YCC’s deep budget should further policy and community goals. His work in the Undergraduate Organizations Committee this year demonstrates he is serious about these goals and engaging student groups. His experience in all branches of YCC also gives us confidence in his ability to mobilize Yale students.
In an uncontested race, The Politic endorses Nick Girard for YCC Vice President. After working as a UOC coordinator, Girard is prepared to control the YCC’s spending and its community outreach. We are struck by how he understands the Vice President’s role as one focused on making the YCC more efficient, transparent, and accountable. In our interview, he acknowledged that the YCC will need to accommodate the new residential colleges and larger freshman class. If voters elect Guido, we hope that Girard will work closely with him to fix how the YCC creates policy. If Michalowski is elected, we hope that Girard will work with him to inject YCC with more energy. Regardless of who is elected president, we feel Girard will take his position seriously and work thoughtfully with the YCC, students, and administrators.
The Politic endorses Tyler Bleuel for YCC Events Director, who is running unopposed. Bleuel understands the position well from his close work on the Events Committee since his freshman year. He has also demonstrated his commitment, seeking advice from former Events Directors long before launching his campaign. He has also raised the possibility of using his position to coordinate and fund not only YCC events, but also events for other student groups. While many candidates have promised to make the YCC more accessible to students, Bleuel’s ideas seem fresh. We especially like his idea of “office hours,” during which he will help student groups plan and fund their events. The Politic wishes him the best of luck with his position next year, and looks forward to the Events Committee’s increased emphasis on student outreach.
If this year has shown us anything, it’s how our decisions as citizens and voters can affect our community. The presidential election in November proved this, but our voice in this student council election is also crucial. The empty debate room on Tuesday night confirmed not only YCC’s failure to engage students, but also our own apathy toward our most immediate body for institutional reform. We applaud all of this year’s candidates for their energy and commitment to students—and we hope that students return the favor.
Correction 4/12: The Politic has updated the first paragraph of this editorial to better reflect our strong belief that the YCC’s leadership should be accessible to and representative of individuals with all gender identities.