UC To Examine Social Spaces

The Undergraduate Council voted yesterday to create a task force examining alternative social spaces on campus, while raising the possibility that the UC might pay for property to give students recreational opportunities in the future.

The new task force will be staffed by six Council representatives, including UC President Andrea R. Flores ’10, and will hold meetings open to all interested students in anticipation of presenting its findings to the Council on April 12.

“We are going to employ every option that we have to secure an alternative social space,” said Flores, adding that the purchase of property was on the table.

Forty-five Mt. Auburn Street, a property currently housing the Democracy Center, an activist support organization, was mentioned by name in the legislation. The property is now for sale and has been used as a student meeting space in the past.

Yesterday’s legislation requested that the owners of the property take it off the market for the time being to “give time for students to develop viable proposals.”

Before beginning its legislative work, the Council hosted a Town Hall meeting on social spaces that featured a five-member panel moderated by UC Treasurer Anthony R. Britt ’10, and included Flores as well as the presidents of the Harvard College Democrats, the Black Students Association, and the Chinese Students Association.

Panelists discussed issues such as strategies they employed to get rooms for socializing, current spaces they relied on, and what they would like to see in an ideal social space.

Yesterday’s work on social spaces came in a meeting that lasted just under three hours and spurred debate over whether UC business could be conducted more efficiently.

The meeting, which included the Town Hall meeting, six pieces of legislation, and an update on the status of a cable TV project, was also punctuated by lectures from the chairs of the Council’s two major sub-committees, who scolded representatives for complaining about the two-hour duration of last week’s meeting.

“I understand that the meetings have been longer,” said Student Affairs Committee Chair Tamar Holoshitz ’10. “Quite frankly, it’s because we’re doing more things this semester.”

UC Representative Sonia S. Dara ’12 suggested that perhaps meetings could be shortened if “people kept clapping to a minimum.” Representatives typically clap to celebrate the passage of legislation or to mark major speeches.

This week’s grants package proved contentious, with the debate centering on two separate allocations—one for a $2,000 allocation for movable lights for house theaters, and another for an $1,850 grant for the restoration of Quad Sound Studios, a student-run recording studio.

The house theaters grant passed, but the vote on Quad Sounds Studios funding was pushed back to next week after Josh J. Nuni ’10, who said he had experience with the organization, called some of the group’s practices into question.

—Staff writer Eric P. Newcomer can be reached at newcomer@fas.harvard.edu.