Currier Looks at Amendments
Residents Propose Changes After House Buys Suite TV
The Currier house committee is not representative of house residents according to a group trying to revise committee procedure as specified by the house constitution.
Petitioners request that a recall provision be installed to insure that house committee votes represent residents' interests--if one third of Currier objects to a decision then the vote should be nullified. They also argue that meetings are not posted far enough in advance for house residents to be aware of agendas for upcoming meetings.
Residents began calling for the reforms after the house committee decided recently to purchase a $400 color television for a 10-man suite located above the Currier dining hall and separate from all other Currier entryways.
"I opposed the purchase on ethical grounds. Any spot that is private shouldn't be made better by House Committee funds," said Chuck W. Henebry '89, who circulated a petition against the purchase and is working to amend the constitution. "But the most important issue here is prevention--to insure that something like this never happens again."
In order to approve any purchase over $50, the house committee must hold votes at two consecutive weekly meetings. Any house member can attend meetings and vote, but residents said attendance rarely exceeds 25. Both votes for the new television set were unanimous.
"It is a problem that the turnout is low, but that doesn't give people a right to pass measures that would be objectionable to many others," said Julie Novkov '89, one of the authors of the proposed amendments. One of the amendments calls for agendas to be posted 48 hours before meetings, or for the decisions made at the meeting to be declared invalid.
If the group trying to amend the constitution receives 75 signatures for their petition, the house will have to hold a referendum on whether there should be revisions made.
The funding for the television, which was intended to be a permanent fixture for the room, came from two sources: $150 came from house funds and $250 came from "milk and cookie money"--a yearly allowance alloted to each entryway.
The 10-man suite and the house committee explain that all entryways in the house have televisions in their common rooms and the 10-man is separated from all other wings.
And Dave A. Grout '89, a resident in the 10-man suite, said, "This suite is only semi-private. Anyone who rings up and wants to watch television is let in. We don't know who is coming up."
Henebry disagreed. "The suite is not public property because it has a locked door," he said. He added that the suite is lotteried as a block.
Residents of the 10-man suite said they have guests for major television events, such as Monday Night Football and the presidential debates. They said they decided to ask for the television because the house committee voted last year to buy one for the Currier's overflow housing in Coggeshall.
The suite contributed a two year warranty worth $50 in order to emphasize that "the television is something that will be enjoyed in the future," according to Grout.