As the Yale College Council Executive Board meets today to interview candidates vying to fill the vacancy left by departed YCC Treasurer Priya Kim Prasad ’08, candidates for the position and past YCC members have offered differing criteria for choosing the next treasurer.
The board has arranged interviews with the eight interested students, where members will ask the candidates specific questions about their previous student government experience and their plans should they be chosen as treasurer, YCC Secretary Zach Marks ’09 said. The board’s nominee must then be approved by a two-thirds vote of the full council at its meeting on Sunday, he said.
The eight candidates will be competing to fill a position that has often been a stepping stone for those seeking to become YCC president or vice president, several current and former YCC officials said.
But Marks said the Board will focus on the candidates’ ability to manage the Council’s various finance structures, rather than their suitability for higher offices in the future, when they deliberate.
“The criteria we’ll be looking at are experience and demonstrated competence,” Marks said. “The YCC treasurer is one of the most important positions in any student organization on Yale’s campus and plays a vital role in shaping the direction of the Council, whether by contributing to policy decisions or by setting the budget.”
Prasad resigned last month in order to devote more time to academics and other activities, she said.
Marissa Brittenham ’07, last year’s YCC vice president, said she thinks the Board should not actively search for a candidate who will make a good future president, but she said someone who fulfills the duties of treasurer well will be in a strong position to run for higher office.
“Someone who is going to be dedicated to that position and grow in that position will inevitably end up making a good presidential candidate,” Brittenham said. “He would evolve into a good candidate just by being on the Executive Board.”
But Danny Seifert ’09, a member of last year’s Freshmen Class Council and one of the candidates to fill the treasurer post, said he thinks students who hope to move to the top of the YCC often use lower offices such as treasurer as a springboard.
“Serving on the YCC [Executive] Board is a frequent step to becoming president or vice president,” he said. “And so a lot of people who are hoping to attain the two top leadership positions on the YCC start out as secretary or treasurer.”
Although he did not rule out seeking the YCC presidency if he is chosen as treasurer, Seifert said he does not currently intend to use the position as a stepping stone. He said he is seeking the post because of his interest in finance and student government.
Yale Student Activities Committee member Michael Chao ’10, who is also seeking to become the new treasurer, said he thinks the Executive Board should nominate an underclassman — as opposed to juniors or seniors — who can devote more time to the job.
“I think, as a freshman, that my classes are not as rigorous as those of some juniors or seniors,” he said. “I also don’t have a time commitment to applying for jobs, applying to [medical] school or law school.”
But treasurer candidate Bill Fishel ’08 — who is the current chair of the Committee for Campus-Wide Activities — said that although he does not intend to run for YCC president or vice president for next year because he wants more free time as a senior, he thinks upperclassmen can serve well as treasurer as long as they are sufficiently dedicated.
“I’m not going to say that no senior should have the job,” he said. “My personal hope is that they pick someone who is excited about it and can put in the necessary amount of time.”
Brittenham said the amount of time someone is likely to contribute to the YCC is a function of his or her personality, not class year. There have been both sophomores and seniors who dedicated significant amounts of time to the YCC in the past, she said.
The candidates’ grade level will not be a consideration when the Executive Board is coming to its decision, Marks said.
In addition to Fishel, Seifert and Chao, the candidates for treasurer include Emily Schofield ’09, David Roosth ’09, Daniel Bleiberg ’09, Nathan Segal ’09 and Jennifer Bolton ’08.