Yale College Council presidential candidate Leah Motzkin ’16 has specific characteristics in mind for the next YCC president.
“[The president] should be someone who is approachable, someone who anyone on campus is comfortable sitting down with [to share their concerns],” she said. “I believe that is something my skill set is very good for.”
Motzkin said that ideally, any student with an idea or concern would immediately think of going to YCC — but right now that idea is “laughable” to many. Still, she said, she wants to take at least a few significant steps in that direction.
Motzkin’s main idea for improving YCC communication with students is the establishment of secondary constituencies. Motzkin said she would like to assign the YCC representatives that already exist in the residential colleges a secondary constituency based on “interest group”, such as a cultural house, athletic community or publication. Thus each of these representatives, she said, would establish a line of contact between the interest group and the Council.
Representatives would establish direct lines of contact with interest groups, which would strengthen YCC’s support role in different communities, she said.
But Motzkin added that YCC must also implement other mechanisms to increase the Council’s credibility with the student body. She plans to launch an online platform similar to the “Yale Ideas” Facebook page, she said, allowing people to post ideas that the YCC would then discuss as a group.
Students should also have more freedom to explore academically, she said, adding that she is in favor of allowing courses taken on the Credit/D/Fail scale to be counted for distributional requirements.
Motzkin said that implementing minors, advocating for gender neutral housing and pushing for tangible reforms in mental health, are also important parts of her platform.
The infrastructure of YCC has the potential for making lots of effective change, Motzkin said, but what is lacking is student buy-in.
“As a student body, if we don’t utilize [YCC] directly, we lose a lot of power, because administrators take the YCC seriously,” she said.
Rafi Bildner ’16, who has worked with Motzkin on the Freshman Class Council, said Motzkin’s ability to connect with both students and administrators is unrivaled. She is effective and well-respected in the council because of her flexibility and openness, he said.
Khalid Attalla ’16 said Motzkin’s greatest attributes are her willingness to compromise and listen to students’ ideas.
“Student politics tends to get petty, and she is someone who thinks about the bigger picture,” said Ethan Karetsky ’14. “That is something I think is incredibly special about her.”
Correction: April 1
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that in addition to the YCC representatives that already exist in the residential colleges, Motzkin said she would add representatives for “interest groups.” It also incorrectly referred to the Freshman College Council, rather than the Freshman Class Council.