Courtesy of Leleda Beraki

In her time at Yale, Leleda Beraki ’24 has acted as a  champion of expanded Credit/D/Fail opportunities, president of her class both first and sophomore year and a popular creator on TikTok and YouTube. Now, as the first Black woman to be president of the Yale College Council, Beraki is gearing up to advocate for a range of policies boosting administrative accountability working towards “redefining Yale.”

With Beraki’s extensive experience and concrete policy proposals, YCC members are looking forward to following her lead in converting those ideas into reality. Beraki’s campaign with YCC Vice President Iris Li ’24 focused on increasing accountability on various fronts. Their platform advocates for policy changes to reflect stronger accountability in academic, financial, health, campus and YCC-related realms. When Beraki and Li won an uncontested election in April, YCC members expressed support for many of these policies. 

“For me, this is a really empowering opportunity to enact the vision that Leleda and I have,” Li told the News following the election this spring. Li said she and Beraki plan to reshape the YCC as an “empowering” student space. 

Some of this empowerment may come in the form of greater advocacy for other student groups on campus. Beraki told the News in an interview in early April that she would like the YCC to become more “student-work facing.” To do so, Beraki and Li have proposed creating a role for a new Student Organizations Liaison on the YCC. They also have introduced the idea of reinstating a forum for student organization representatives called the Council of Representatives, a body which has been inactive in recent years.

“In short,” Li explained in a recent interview with the News, ”we’re looking to listen to perspectives outside of YCC in our work.”

In addition to her work on the YCC, Beraki is involved with a handful of student groups on campus. She serves as the Leading Ladies director at the Women’s Leadership Initiative, and a student assistant and a member of the new student outreach and programming team for the African American Cultural House.

Meanwhile, as the Credit/D/Fail policy hits its 30th anniversary this year, Beraki has been advocating to expand it further. 

In February, Beraki told the News that she was, from her own experience, skeptical about the policy’s effectiveness in encouraging students to explore new subjects. She also mentioned inconsistencies in the policy that allow only some majors to offer Credit/D/Fail options and lamented the tense guesswork that trails the end of each semester as students cannot view grades before deciding on Credit/D/Fail options. 

“I think that academic stress is everywhere,” Beraki told the News in February. “Yale owes it to its students and the burden of proof is on them to show us that we’re here to actually learn and not to be tested consistently.”

According to Beraki’s campaign platform, she plans to continue advocating for expanded Credit/D/Fail policy options this year. 

Branford College Senator Raymond Jin ’25 told the News after the election that his platform values aligned well with those outlined in Beraki and Li’s platform. Pierson College Senator Viktor Kagan ’24 too told the News he was “excited” to continue working with Beraki and Li this year. 

Kagan and Beraki have both stressed the importance of improving communication between the YCC and students. Kagan suggested measures such as ensuring the YCC is regularly publishing minutes, posting in-progress YCC policy work and revamping the body’s website.

“One of my priorities in ensuring that not only is the YCC more in tune with the student body, but that the student body is aware of YCC work too,” Beraki told the News this week. 

Beraki told the News she thinks that once the YCC can work together “cohesively” and the student body feels heard and “believes in the work,” substantial progress on these issues may be possible. 

Sophie Sonnenfeld is Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News. She previously served as City Editor and covered cops and courts as a beat reporter. She is a junior in Branford College double majoring in political science and anthropology.