With a new, politically clean slate of officers in charge, the council this fall won the public support of undergraduates who had been disillusioned by scandals of the recent past.
But on March 20, the council approved a $10 hike in student term bills. The next day, a controversy began that would overshadow what some council members call the most productive year in council history.
A former council member launched a campaign to block the fee hike by calling for a student referendum on the issue.
An initial referendum was invalidated after council members allegedly intimidated voters and left ballots unsecured.
Students rejected the fee hike in the second referendum, which was conducted by outside mediators. But council members said not enough students voted to bind council members to the outcome.
The council also suffered from internal dissent, as the vice president was censured and another council member resigned after secretly tape recording a conversation.
Finally, in the last meeting of the year, the council voted down the fee hike. And council members left for the summer hoping for a calmer fall.
A Crimson poll published the day after the fee hike was announced showed that only 18.6 percent of students supported the fee hike, while more than 55 percent opposed it. The poll's margin of error was five percent.
But the council defended its decision, even in light of the overwhelming public opposition.
President Carey W. Gabay '94 explained at the time that the council was "sort of stuck in a Catch-22."
"People want to see we're doing more before raising the term bill, but we need the increase in order to do more, Gabay said.
Meanwhile, former council member Anjalee C. Davis '96 was busy making plans to call for a campus wide referendum on the fee hike and four other controversial council issues.
The council itself had rejected a call for a student referendum to decide the issue on March 20.
"It's like the citizenry voting on NAFTA," Gabay had said. "You let the people involved in it, who know the issues, vote on it."