Ellie Park, Photography Editor

The Yale College Council has announced its election of four undergraduate students —  Sanya Abbasey ’25, Leo Greenberg ’26, Miranda Rublaitus ’25 and Zahra Yarali ’24 — to the Student Advisory Council, a group that will solicit student input for the University’s search for its 24th president.

The Presidential Search Committee announced the creation of the SAC on Oct. 2, after students demanded greater representation in the search process for Yale’s next president. The YCC’s 28 senators voted on the four students from a pool of 38 nominations. The SAC’s role, as laid out in the announcement, will be to gather information from across the University about the qualities and attributes that students would like to see in Yale’s next president.

The SAC is composed of 12 students in total: four undergraduate, four graduate and four professional school students. 

“We’re elated that [the presidential search committee] has committed to the formal and direct inclusion of student voices in this process,” YCC president Julian Suh-Toma ’25 wrote in an email to the News. “The YCC urges students to engage with the Student Advisory Council and reflect on the values they’d like the incoming President to prioritize.”

Rublaitus, a transfer and Eli Whitney student who was involved in a presidential search at her previous institution, told the News that she ran for SAC for two reasons: to apply her past experiences to Yale’s search process and to vouch for students like herself. 

She added that she plans on using her existing network of non-traditional students to solicit input by discussing student concerns over a meal, in a classroom or on a walk through campus. 

“As a non-traditional student, sometimes we feel a little left out in the decision making and or some of the activities that happen on campus, so I was really interested in making sure that the voices of non-traditional and transfer students were heard during the process,” Rublaitus said. “We volunteered for this and wanted to do this so that we could represent the students, so have no fear to engage with us.”

Greenberg told the News that he nominated himself to the SAC as a way to transmit “up the ladder” the ideas that have come up in his informal conversations with other students about Yale’s presidential search.

He also said that although the SAC has yet to discuss how it will formally solicit student input, he anticipates that members of the committee will host both formal and informal events to do so.

“This is something that can genuinely get people thinking about what a college experience should be like and what direction they want to see Yale go in,” Greenberg said. “The goal of the project is getting as broad a swath of student insights and thought as possible and then effectively filtering that into something that the adults who are doing this and are on the actual search committee can make use of and can help inform their process.”

Yarali said that she looks forward to working with other students on the committee to solicit input from undergraduate students.

She added that she believes the SAC will be a useful tool to “embody” what Yale’s diverse student body seeks in its next president.

“This is going to be the most direct avenue for being able to convey who you want representing Yale,” she said. “For me, this was an avenue to get involved in a tangible way to influence who represents Yale.”

In an email to the News, Abbasey wrote that she encourages any student to engage with her to discuss how she can best represent them.

She also wrote that she believes it is “imperative” that members of the SAC prioritize the perspectives of the undergraduate student population, “not personal agendas,” and that she hopes to be as committed to this role as she has been to her position as Cultural and Religious Policy Director for the YCC. 

“I plan to advocate for the demands of minority students of color, and undergraduates overall to select a president whose aim is not one of governance over students, but dedicated to fostering and championing student ideas, all in the spirit of mutual benefit,” Abbasey wrote.

University President Peter Salovey plans to step down in June.

Benjamin Hernandez covers Woodbridge Hall, the President's Office. He previously reported on international affairs at Yale. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, he is a sophomore in Trumbull College majoring in Global Affairs.