After serving on all three branches of the Yale College Council as a freshman, as well as chief of staff for the Executive Board as a sophomore, Joe English ’17 said his extensive experience on the council sets him apart from the other two candidates for YCC president.
English said one of the primary components of his platform is a continuation of ongoing initiatives, such as the eventual reduction or elimination of the student effort portion of financial aid packages. Additionally, English said he hopes to tackle issues such as sexual misconduct and mental health policy reform, in addition to the expansion of resources for the cultural houses.
“I’m in a very unique position where I know how the YCC functions, and how it functions best when trying to advocate student concerns to the administration,” English said. “The nice thing about being on council and e-board for the last two years is that I will know from day one where to pick up the fights that are going on right now.”
English described the YCC as the link between the administration and the student body. He added that the purpose of the YCC is to act as a microphone that collects student voices and amplifies them to the administration. As a result, English said, it is extremely important that the people running the YCC know how to communicate those voices intelligently, in the right places at the right times.
Grant Fergusson ’16, Branford YCC representative, said English’s know-how and existing rapport with administrators make him the ideal candidate.
“He knows all the inner workings of how the council works, and he’s already been in communication with all of the administrators,” Fergusson said. “The fact that he already has concrete ways of pushing things forward really sets him apart from the other people running.”
For example, English said, he and the current president and vice president of the YCC met with Paul Genecin, director of Yale Health, and Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway last week to discuss mental health and counseling.
“I think we’re in a good place to keep pushing for key reforms, and I think again that it’s very important to pick up from day one and make sure we’re pushing in the right way to these doctors and to the heads of Mental Health and Counseling and to the Yale College administration,” English said. “So that’s the first aspect of my campaign — to make sure that these ongoing issues are picked up in the right way from the very start.”
Further, English’s plans include a comprehensive evaluation of Yale Dining, looking at reforms such as the expiration of the Durfee’s swipe at midnight instead of 5 p.m. and keeping one dining hall open for extended hours each day. English said he also wants to strengthen student relations with alumni, referring to alumni as “one of the best resources available” for Yale students.
English said that although current YCC President Michael Herbert ’16 has done a fantastic job this year, there are many things that he would change and improve on — the first being outreach to students who are affected by unfair policies.
“For example, members of cultural centers have never been looped into YCC initiatives, yet they have very real, very important concerns that need to be addressed,” English said. “So building these bridges to students groups and student leaders, and as president, making this effort to hear them and to make sure that they know the YCC is here to serve their needs, is something I would really prioritize next year.”
Adriana Embus ’17 said English is more than prepared for taking on the role of YCC president.
“He took a lot of initiative after the Unite Yale student rally by reaching out to all of the student leaders of it,” Embus said. “He’s committed to letting those student voices be heard, especially students voices that haven’t been heard or have been ignored in the past.”
During his freshman year, English served on the YCC Events Committee, the Undergraduate Organizations Committee and the YCC.