UC May Skirt College Policy

Leaders consider using One Ring, CrimsonReading profits for alcohol grants

Undergraduate Council representatives have been debating whether to resume the UC’s reimbursement of alcohol purchases for student dormitory parties, in a move that would circumvent a new College policy prohibiting such refunds.

To subsidize the reimbursements, according to the UC’s Student Affairs Committee Chair Michael R. Ragalie ’09, the Council would use money outside of its standard funding source—which is subject to control by College administrators.

Money employed for the alcohol refunds would likely be that garnered from the UC’s own ventures, including its partnership with Harvard Student Agencies and the student-run textbook Web site CrimsonReading.org.

According to the minutes from last night’s Executive Board meeting, Ragalie made a motion to state that the UC’s agreement with the College did not prohibit the UC from using non-termbill money to reimburse students for alcohol expenditures.

The move would exploit what amounts to a funding loophole to resurrect the Council’s ability to fund student drinking.

“Non-termbill funds are a separate entity, and it is unclear under the existing laws and agreements and decisions that have come out where exactly they fit in,” UC Communications Director Daniel V. Kroop ’10 said last night.

One source of non-termbill funds could be the “One Ring” program—a partnership between the UC and Harvard Student Agencies that gives undergraduates an opportunity to buy class rings. The contract for the program was renewed at last week’s meeting of the full UC, with the provision that “funds generated through the contract shall be placed into an account which shall be opened independently by the President of the Undergraduate Council.”

The UC also has assets to its name acquired through its involvement with CrimsonReading.org, the price-comparison Web site co-founded by a former UC representative.

The Executive Board voted last night to keep discussion of the status of the non-termbill fees off the agenda for Monday’s full meeting of the UC.

In an interview after last night’s meeting, Ragalie called the decision “criminal,” casting it as the product of “political intrigue” by Executive Board members.

“I want the agreement discussed and refined until we’re exactly sure what it means,” Ragalie said.

Ragalie and UC President Ryan A. Petersen ’08 both said they expected the Council to consider the non-termbill option on Monday, even though it is not formally included on the docket.

“I’ve done my part, and now it’s time for me to help the Council to refine and formalize the agreement,” Petersen said about the UC’s most recent compromise with the College.

Dean of the College David R. Pilbeam did not respond to a request for comment yesterday. He did, however, forward The Crimson’s e-mailed interview queries—including a question about his potential response to the UC’s non-termbill strategy—to Petersen and UC Vice President Matthew L. Sundquist ’09, expressing discontent with the new motion, the two said last night.

—Staff writer Christian B. Flow can be reached at cflow@fas.harvard.edu.