Yale College Council presidential candidate Michael Herbert ’16 tries to avoid taking himself too seriously.
His sense of humor makes him approachable, Herbert said. But he added that having a sense of humor does not mean he is not ready to take on serious issues.
“Running a campaign for YCC election and having fun are not mutually exclusive. You’re able to do both,” said Chris Moates ’16, a candidate running for YCC vice president on the same slate at Herbert. “You’re able to reach students by having the sense of humor that Michael does.”
Herbert — who is a member of the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, as well as the founder of the Yale chapter of the Chi Psi fraternity — is not the prototypical YCC presidential candidate, as he has never served on the council before. But his lack of involvement in YCC has allowed him to get to know more of Yale, he argued.
Herbert said his work in founding a fraternity “translates a lot” to the role of YCC president.
“That was an example where I went in and I had to communicate a vision,” he said.
If elected, Herbert said he would concentrate on reforming the YCC’s image to increase student engagement.
Additionally, Herbert said, one of students’ biggest grievances with the YCC is that it “fails to address important issues in a meaningful way and dithers on small ones.”
“If elected, we’ll end the dithering, but we’ll also address problems we perceive as being of broader importance to the community,” Herbert wrote on his website.
First among those issues, Herbert said, is sexual assault. Herbert faulted the current council for not taking a public stance on Yale’s sexual assault policy, which he called “unacceptable.” He would work with Students Against Sexual Violence at Yale to close loopholes that allow those found guilty of sexual assault to return to campus after only missing a few weeks of class, he said.
Herbert also differs from the other presidential candidates in his campaign strategy. Rather than running individually, Herbert has assembled a slate of candidates for spots on the Yale College Council.
Among those is Ari Zimmet ’16, who said he is supporting Herbert because of how relatable he is.
“What I’ve seen from other candidates has reminded me of self-important politicians looking to appeal to everyone, and no one in specific by remaining vague and focusing on over-talked points without specific plans of action,” Zimmet said.
Herbert founded the Yale chapter of Chi Psi last year as a freshman.