UC Votes On Student Center

A bill calling for an undergraduate student center in Allston passed by a vote of 24-3-3 in the Undergraduate Council’s meeting last night.

The council’s vision for a future student center at Allston includes space for student groups, an auditorium, a food court, computer clusters, a fitness center and quiet study space. In addition to these generic features, the bill also addressed the need for a state-of-the-art transportation system “far superior to the shuttle system currently in place,” to meet the needs of Allston’s geography.

The bill further asserts that the student center must not detract from, but instead compliment house life.

Adams representative Joshua Patashnik ’07 introduced the legislation last Sunday, but the bill was sent back to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) for revision after council members voted to incorporate legislation about a women’s center.

Patashnik reiterated last night that the council did not endorse development of a Harvard undergraduate campus in Allston. By accepting this as an inevitability, he said, the council made the student center legislation “as strong as possible.”

Although the current student center bill recognizes the need for a space for women’s groups at Harvard, council members emphasized that they would draft separate legislation focused on a women’s center.

“Women’s center legislation will be a specific bill, with tailored goals,” SAC Chair Matthew J. Glazer ’06 said.

Glazer, who is the incoming council president, said the impending decision of the Allston commitee hastened the passage of this bill but would not preclude further examination of the need for a space for women’s groups on campus.

Patashnik said the student center bill would be immediately sent to the Allston Committee, and council President Matthew W. Mahan ’05 said he would take the bill to University President Lawrence H. Summers tomorrow.

In other council business, self-billed “R-rated” hypnotist Frank Santos will return to Harvard sometime in Februrary or March. The council will charge $5 per student and accept a burden of $2,500 for the event.

Dunster representative E.E. Keenan ’07 worried that bringing back the same act might hurt turnout, but council Vice President Michael R. Blickstead ’05, who sponsored the bill, said he thought the event would be successful, citing the influx of freshmen and Santos’ sold-out performance last March.

The council also passed the tenth grants package of the semester last night, which will give $14,980.40 in cash awards and $726.07 in dining hall vouchers to 60 student projects. These totals include $2,000 each to Currier and Mather House Committees (HoCos). Under the House Committee Funding Allocation Program, HoCos can apply for grants of up to $2,000, in addition to $1,500 from the Committee Fund.

In internal council matters, Matt R. Greenfield ’08, Neeraj “Richie” Banerji ’06 and Mahan led the passage of a bill, 29-4, that amends council bylaws concerning bill sponsorship.

According to the new legislation, only council members can be named as sponsors on a bill, though outsiders may be listed as co-sponsors.

The bill also stipulates that once a piece of legislation has been introduced to the council, no council members may be added as sponsors. In the middle of the debate—before this stipulation had passed into law—Quincy House representative Teddy E. Chestnut ’06 jumped on the bill as a sponsor.

Banerji said Chestnut’s contribution during this week’s SAC meeting merited the entitlement.

—Staff writer Elena P. Sorokin can be reached at sorokin@fas.harvard.edu.