Party Fund To Continue For Term

Citing the success of last term’s “Party Fund,” which funded up to 13 parties each weekend, the Undergraduate Council approved a bill last night that reauthorized a slightly modified version of the program for this semester.

While the core of the bill remains the same as that of last semester—undergraduates hosting weekend parties will be able to apply for up to $100 in funding—this semester’s bill prohibits Greek organizations, final clubs and House Committees (HoCos) from receiving council money and cuts a provision requiring that a minimum of 49 people attend funded parties.

An amendment to the new bill also requires the council to establish a mechanism awarding an additional $100 to the hosts of the party that receives the most positive feedback at the end of each weekend.

“It will encourage enough competitive spirit to improve parties on campus,” said Joshua A. Barro ’05, who introduced the amendment, and suggested a similar program as part of his presidential campaign platform last semester.

The amendment requires that the process for determining what Barro called the “most popular” party be established by the end of March.

In addition, the bill reduced the maximum number of parties funded by the council each weekend from 13 to eight, because the council never received more than eight applications per weekend during last semester’s trial period.

In a more contentious debate, the council agreed to fund the Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF) after holding over a discussion from last week over what some members said was the group’s discriminatory policy for selecting officers.

The AACF requires officers to subscribe to an oath of faith, which several members said violates the nondiscrimination clause in the council’s constitution.

“We simply can’t disregard our fundamental principles in regards to discrimination,” said E.E. Keenan ’07, a representative for the West Yard dorms.

The question of funding the AACF was separated from discussion of the rest of yesterday’s spring grants package, and eventually passed by the narrow margin of five votes. The rest of the grants passed 37 to 2.

The group will receive a total of $500.

Supporters said that the council had funded the group in the past and that the consequences of revoking funding would have a negative impact on the group, while continuing funding would not be immediately detrimental to any students.

“I can’t identify anyone who will be better off if we don’t fund this group,” said Barro, an Adams representative.

Council President Matthew W. Mahan ’05 said he thought the council’s dilemma over funding the AACF has been caused in large part by the Committee on College Life’s (CCL) handling of the issue.

Mahan said the CCL had first decided that the AACF policy was discriminatory and violated College policy, and then reversed itself last spring.

“The CCL kept it quiet and behind closed doors,” Mahan said. “They’ve done a disservice to the campus.”

AACF officials could not be reached for comment last night.

The council also voted to adopt a resolution urging the College to immediately implement Universal Keycard Access (UKA) for all undergraduates.

“UKA is an essential component to most effectively protect students,” Mahan said during debate over the resolution, which passed 35 to 3.

Mahan said that despite some House Masters’ concerns that UKA could lead to a rise in crime, the Harvard University Police Department has found “no increase in criminal activity” since Quincy House instituted Universal Keycard Access.

While the vast majority of the council supported of the resolution, some members raised doubts over whether safety rather than access was the primary motive of the council in supporting the bill.

“There are other meritable arguments we should be making,” said Aaron D. Chadbourne ’06, who voted against the resolution.

In response to the charges that the council was not being upfront about its motivations for pushing for UKA, Mahan said after the meeting that while “it’s definitely a convenience issue, the safety issue trumps all others.”

Mahan also said that he is planning to meet with Cambridge Mayor Michael Sullivan to discuss placing “blue-light” phones in Cambridge Common.

In other business, the council voted to approve its spring HoCo funding bill after rejecting an amendment that would have reduced the funding to Houses by $450 a piece. Vice president Michael R. Blickstead ’05 and secretary Jason L. Lurie ’05 said the $38,350 allocated to the HoCos was too large an amount.

“Personally, I’m worried it’s too much money,” said Blickstead.

But the amendment was rejected.

Another failed amendment to the bill, introduced by the first-year representatives, sought to grant $5,000 for capital improvements in the freshman dormitories. It will be reintroduced next week as a separate bill, according to the members who proposed it.

The council also was visited by members of the Ivy Council—composed of student councils from all of the Ivy League schools except Harvard—seeking to garner support to have Harvard rejoin the organization.

Harvard left in 2000, citing poor organization within the Ivy Council and misuse of funds by Ivy Council members.

The council’s Student Advisory Council will consider the possibility of rejoining within the next week, Mahan said.

—Staff writer Jeffrey C. Aguero can be reached at aguero@fas.harvard.edu.