A few Undergraduate Council (UC) representatives spent their nights hitting up the Harvard party scene on official Council business this weekend.
Under legislation passed last month, the UC tightened oversight of its party fund, whereby Council representatives check up on parties receiving grant money.
These “party investigators” would inspect specifically assigned parties funded by the UC to determine whether or not they are sufficiently publicized and accessible to the entire undergraduate body, UC Party Fund Director Samson F. Ayele ’09 wrote in an e-mail to the UC open list.
“If you find that there was not a party, please give as much supporting evidence as you can (digital cameras become useful here),” he wrote.
Ayele could not be reached for comment for this article.
The UC plans to put party investigators on the prowl each weekend, said Secretary-Treasurer of the Finance Committee Jon T. Staff V ’10, who inspected two parties Saturday night.
“It is a trial period,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes in the next few weeks.”
Finance Committee member and Cabot House UC representative Vivien G. Wu ’08 said that there is no set protocol to notify hosts that their party will undergo inspection.
Hosts could easily check UC open or others might be notified ahead of time by the investigators themselves, she said.
Staff said that the UC wasn’t trying to be “Big Brother.”
“I think it’s important that there’s some accountability in the party fund,” he said.
“Students’ money should be used in a way that benefits students and the social scene at Harvard.”
The new legislation largely results from an incident in Cabot House, where students showed up to a UC-funded party only to find no party, according to UC Cabot House representative Brian S. Gillis ’07-’08.
Gillis said the residents of Cabot N-33, who had received a party grant of $100, went to great lengths to keep away potential partygoers.
They “intentionally mislabeled their room,” Gillis wrote in an e-mail to the UC open list last month.
Zachary M. Puchtel ’07, listed as the host of the party, could not be reached for comment.
“The UC is really good at taking situations and making them much more serious than they need to be,” said Currier House UC representative Joseph K. Cooper ’07, who inspected a party in Currier House this weekend.
“Had I not been assigned investigator, I’m sure I would have shown up anyway,” Cooper said of the legislation’s potential strain on his social life—and of the hours spent checking in on a particular party.
UC Treasurer Ben W. Milder ’08, who checked in on several shindigs in Mather House this weekend, compared the experience to that of a “restaurant critic.”
“The host of one party expected me,” he said.
“They asked me to give their event a good review.”