The Harvard-Radcliffe Undergraduate Council is no longer.
At a meeting last night, the council announced that “Radcliffe” would be removed from the organization’s formal name after an e-mail vote of 44-2 ratified a constitutional amendment making the change official.
This proposal was raised in a similar form and voted down in 1999 by opponents who said keeping the Radcliffe name highlighted the neglect of women’s rights on campus.
But last night, the proposal, which required an amendment to the council’s constitution, was embraced overwhelmingly by the council—the first in history headed by an all-female ticket.
Council President Sujean S. Lee ’03 said the amendment was a symbol of Harvard’s advancement in gender relations.
“Harvard has changed,” Lee said. “Men and women are now equally incorporated.”
Council member Zachary L. Bercu ’04, one of the two who opposed the measure, said he wanted to keep the name as a reminder of the University’s history. Until Radcliffe’s merger with Harvard on Oct. 1, 1999, all female undergraduate were officially students of Radcliffe College.
But Lee said voting to keep Radcliffe in the council’s name would be “a remnant of days past.”
The proposed amendment to the council’s constitution was announced one week before the council’s March 17 debate on the issue. The vote took place between that date and last night’s council meeting.
The council spent much of last night’s meeting embroiled in debate over whether to endorse a private video rental business one council member plans to start. The bill was postponed indefinitely after a heated forty-five minute debate.
The council’s Campus Life Committee has long tried to open a campus video store, promoting it as an important student service.
But last night, many members raised objections to the council endorsing a for-profit student-run venture independent of the council.
“There are a number of student enterprises and we don’t touch any of them,” said council member Brian C. Grech ’03. “It’s not our job.”
Bercu said that if the council endorsed the DVD rental business, other student businesses would approach the council and also demand its endorsement.
Although Lee said she also worried that endorsing the proposal would “set some strange precedents,” she said the council could work out a mutually beneficial financial agreement.
Council member Rohit Chopra ’04 introduced an amendment, which was struck down, along those same lines to require the group to pay the council $250 in exchange for advertising on the council’s e-mail list.
“The general sentiment of the bill is in line with the bigger picture of the UC,” Lee said.
The bill’s sponsor, Jared S. Morgenstern ’03, said he and his partners would set up a website where students could request movies and easily deliverable food from the Pforzheimer House grill.
“The proceeds go to a charitable organization known as me and the people who work for me,” Morgenstern joked in response to a council member’s question about whether the council would benefit financially from the measure.
In other business, the council decided to rent a stage for the Battle of the Bands event, which will be held on April 12 at Lowell House.
—Staff writer William M. Rasmussen can be reached at email@example.com.