With elections just around the corner, the Yale College Council has decided that some executive board positions will no longer require a background in the YCC.
Passed Sunday afternoon alongside two other amendments, the resolution had to be revised after the original proposal did not receive the necessary support from the YCC. While the original amendment, written by YCC President Michael Herbert ’16, called for all executive board positions to no longer require any past YCC experience, the revised edition stipulates that only the positions of chief of staff, student organizations director and communications director will no longer require previous YCC experience. Herbert said he believes the most qualified students should fill these positions and that past YCC involvement should not be a hindrance to that.
“To create this artificial separation between the YCC and student body is not good,” Herbert said. “It’s a good motion overall, but we took only one step forward instead of two.”
The background experience requirements for the positions of academics director, University services director and student life director will remain the same: Applicants must have served as a member of YCC or its affiliated groups, such as the Freshman Class Council or the Undergraduate Organizations Committee. While Herbert said this is not ideal, and he would have preferred eliminating the requirement across the board, he said the change would still promote increased student involvement in the YCC. He added that he believes that future YCC presidents and vice presidents, who make the ultimate decisions on these three appointments, will be capable of determining the most qualified candidate even if they are outside of the YCC.
YCC members interviewed gave mixed reviews on the amendment. YCC Vice President Maia Eliscovich Sigal ’16 said all of the positions still requiring previous YCC experience are those that oversee YCC projects. Eliscovich Sigal, who supported the final resolution, said previous YCC involvement is necessary for those positions for which the requirements have remained unchanged. Background in the YCC, she said, would benefit the students chosen because they would already know how to actively run and manage a project.
But YCC representative Benjamin Martin ’17 said he thinks the original amendment should have passed.
“I still disagree though because if the president agrees that YCC experience is something that important, he can still decide that,” Martin said. “I think [the YCC] was hesitant to give the president that much discretion and wanted to encourage preparation for the roles.”
Herbert himself also did not have any prior engagement with the YCC before beginning his term, YCC Academics Director David Lawrence ’15 said. His lack of experience before beginning the term did not have any detrimental effects on his candidacy, Lawrence said, or on his ability to carry out his duties.
Lawrence also said the new policy, regardless of how many positions it affects, will make the YCC more accessible to students, adding that newly elected officials would have the summer to prepare for their new positions.
Still, all YCC representatives interviewed agreed that the amendment would have little effect on the candidates chosen in future years. YCC University Services Director Madeline Bauer ’17 said interested students would most likely already have been involved with the YCC, adding that this only ensured qualified candidates outside of YCC would not be excluded.
“The [changed positions] speak to the many ways that student life is affected by the decisions of the YCC,” Eliscovich Sigal said. “As the person who chose [executive board positions] last year, I can tell you that this new amendment gives elected positions a lot more freedom and gives students a lot more possibilities of being involved.”
YCC Student Organizations Director Tina Yuan ’16 said she does not think the requirement of YCC experience played an influential role because it is up to both the president and vice president how necessary prior familiarity with a role will be. While she said it is possible for someone who does not have any past experience to quickly acclimate to the council environment, her own background in the YCC made it much easier.
Although Ginger Li ’18 said she thinks the requirement for experience varies depending on the role, she agreed that the changed positions should not require a background with the YCC. However, Chad Small ’16 said it would be ideal for board members to have past YCC experience, though he noted in some cases new perspectives would be beneficial.
But Herbert said the amended resolution, as opposed to the original one he proposed, still poses significant challenges. In the past, executive board applications were only sent to students already involved in the council — so verifying past experience was not necessary. Now that past experience will be required only for some members, creating and reviewing applications from the student body will become more complicated.
“Soliciting these applications now will be a logistical nightmare,” Herbert said. “Are we going to send out two emails to the entire student body, telling them they can only apply to these positions and not the other positions?”