Constitutional Dissension

Plans for Undergraduate Council Questioned

The constitution proposal for the Undergraduate Council received its first official reaction this week from Faculty and students, and much of the response seemed unfavorable.

In a meeting Wednesday with the committee charged with implementing the constitution, members of the Faculty Council said they were troubled by several planks in the proposed document, most notably a controversial provision for assured minority seating on the council's administrative committee.

The plank calls for seven minority groups to share a total of two votes on the administrative committee, and several Faculty members at the meeting questioned why other minority groups had not been included.

Faculty members also questioned the system proposed in the constitution for disposing of funds, saying they considered the constitution "far too specific." One professor reportedly said at the meeting, "This thing is longer than the United States Constitution."

Several professors said after the meeting that they consider the current constitution proposal "at best a bare outline" of the final constitution.

Most Faculty members said they favor holding a "constitutional convention"--proposed earlier in the week by the implementation committee--to discuss and finalize a proposal.

Later in the week, chairmen of the various House Committees raised questions about the constitution proposal at a meeting with the implementation committee.

While House representatives generally seemed less vehemently opposed to the present constitutional proposal than did the Faculty Council, several expressed similar disagreements with some of the proposal's planks.

Alan Khazei '83, chairman of the Currier House Committee, said that although most of the chairmen agreed with the "intent" of the proposal, many had complaints with the manner in which the provisions--most notably the one providing for minority representation--were worded.

But Khazei said that after the implementation committee "explained the history of the [minority] plank--why and how it was put in--people were pretty receptive."

At least one House chairman, however, Evan Powell '82 of Winthrop, said that he had "major philosophical quibbles" with the minority representation clause. Powell added that he thought there was "no way" the constitution would pass in Winthrop House if the minority provision were included.

The constitution committee that drafted the proposal had hoped that the constitution would be ratified with only minor changes and that the new council would begin functioning during the upcoming spring term. But several members of the Faculty Council said after their meeting with the implementation committee that they doubted whether that timetable would hold.