Lee Promises Political Bent
“I want involvement of the UC in issues that are political or controversial,” Lee said.
While no council members took issue with Lee’s vision for a more approachable council, some expressed concern that Lee seeks to expand the role of the council beyond the realm of tangible student services.
Lee served as vice president of the council under the tenure of Paul A. Gusmorino ’02, who focused his term as council president on improving various aspects of student life at Harvard.
Gusmorino’s council succeeded in convincing the College’s administration to extend weekend party curfews until 2 a.m. for official House events like the Leverett ’80s Dance and the Adams Masquerade. It also negotiated universal keycard access in all of Harvard’s Houses until 2:30—up from 1 a.m. in previous semesters—and organized the first Fallfest to complement the College’s annual springtime festival.
Lee said she will largely follow in Gusmorino’s footsteps.
During her first speech as president, Lee said she will negotiate with College administrators for more student social space. She said she also hopes to create a video store in Loker Commons.
Lee, and her vice presidential running-mate Anne M. Fernandez ’03 were elected on a platform that also included increasing the size and visibility of concerts at Harvard and providing students with weekend shuttles to New York City.
But, departing from Gusmorino’s strict focus on student services, Lee said she wants the council to serve as the voice of Harvard’s students before its administration.
Lee said she was recently approached by a reporter from ABC News who asked her about Harvard students’ opinions on the recent controversy involving University President Lawrence H. Summers and Fletcher University Professor Cornel West ’74.
“I couldn’t really verbalize a sweeping statement of how the student body felt about the issue,” she said.
“We could facilitate discussion about issues like that.”
Some council members, however, are wary of what they see as a potential shift in the focus of the council, after a year marked with a focus on student services.
“I am kind of worried about the new slant of politicization,” said council member Pankaj K. Agarwalla ’04.
In past years, the council’s most divisive votes have come over bills that attempted to suggest major policy changes to University officials—like a bill urging Harvard toward environmentally friendly investing.
Moving to internal council issues, Lee also promised a more lively council atmosphere, with a social time before each meeting and refreshments.
She jokingly mentioned the headline the Crimson used to introduce her campaign, “Social Clubbers Preach Girl Power,” to announce “a departure from the stereotype the UC has been buried beneath.”
Lee explained that the council is perceived as “uncool and unconnected to the student body,” and that she will strive to change this image.
Lee also proposed specific steps towards improving the efficacy and efficiency of the council. She plans to cap meeting lengths and make sure that each member is working on a council project.
“I want each representative to dedicate themselves to a project that he or she is passionate about so that there are 50 projects by the end of the semester,” she said.
Recognizing the lack of dialogue among student groups on campus, Lee said she will establish a student groups liaison who will “communicate with all the student groups on campus on campus to publicize our own efforts and get input from student groups.”
In her speech, Fernandez called the council the “best resource on campus,” and promised make it live up to its potential.
“As vice president I see it as my duty to make sure the UC is a well-oiled machine,” she said.
“We want to achieve real and broad changes to improve the lives of the students of Harvard College,” said Fernandez at the conclusion of her speech.
After Lee and Fernandez’s speeches, the council held elections for the positions of treasurer and secretary, electing Eric J. Powell ’04 as treasurer and Tamara Klajn ’05 as secretary.
—Staff writer Claire A. Pasternack can be reached at email@example.com.