Crimson Articles Unfair To Council Secretary

Letters to the Editors

To the editors:

I am writing to express my frustration with recent reporting on the Harvard Undergraduate Council. In several instances, Crimson articles have unfairly mischaracterized my statements and behavior.

I am particularly disturbed by the coverage of last Monday’s meeting (News, “Fee Hike Moves Forward,” April 13). For example, it was not mentioned in the article that Council President Matt Mahan made an unprecedented motion to allow council members to leave before the end of the meeting without falling victim to the council’s strict attendance policy. This was a clear attempt to stifle debate on the Green Grants Bill by holding a meeting with as few council members present as possible.

The article also failed to note that Mahan counted a different number of council members in the room each time quorum was called, despite the fact that no one was entering or leaving the room. Given the fact that my own count led me to believe that there were not enough representatives in the room to reach quorum, my decision to make a quorum call three times in quick succession was at the very least justified.

Furthermore, the article’s characterization of my actions is severely lacking. It does not note, for example, that although I myself did jokingly call for my own censure, no “motion to censure” was made or seconded. The article also does not acknowledge that, far from attempting to “disrupt” the meeting, I gave a speech on Green Grants powerful enough to have its time doubled by a vote from the floor. My “disruptions” were limited to trying to ensure that the rules of procedure, particularly the protection of the rights of absentees, are followed.

JASON L. LURIE ’05

April 14, 2004

The writer is an Undergraduate Council representative from Cabot House and Undergraduate Council secretary.