UC Expels Two Members

UPDATED: Nov. 8, 2012, at 1:53 a.m.

After expelling two members, the Undergraduate Council will hold two special elections concurrent with the general presidential race, Election Commission Chair Elston He ’13 announced at Sunday’s meeting.

Michelle E. Matsuba ’14 and Phillip Z. Yao ’13, both Winthrop House residents, were expelled from their seats due to unexcused absences from committee or general meetings, said UC Secretary Christopher A. Smiles ’15.

Matsuba could not be reached for comment, and Yao said that he had independently decided to step down.

“I have been on the UC since my freshman year and have really enjoyed my time,” he said. “As a first semester senior, it can be hectic, and I have had less time to dedicate to the UC. I’m continuing to go to all the Education Committee meetings because that is still something that is really important to me.”

Candidate declarations for the special election are due Friday evening.

After He made his annoucement, Council members pressured him to clarify the EC’s policy banning campaigns from using mail merges. Mail merges, which make mass e-mail blasts look “personalized” by using the recipient’s name, violate a rule which specifies that candidates may not send unsolicited messages online.

Earlier this year UC candidate Samuel F. Wohns ’14 received a campaign suspension.

“How are you going to draw the line ultimately?” asked UC Student Initiatives Committee Chair Nicholas W. Galat ’13. “What is the definition of knowing someone?”

Election Commission Chair He clarified that all e-mails need to be “individually personalized.”

UC President Danny P. Bicknell ’13 said if these questions had arisen sooner, the Council would have been in a better position to act.

The UC did not ultimately decide to propose changes to the rule.

The Council also moved to pass a resolution to support Hurricane Sandy disaster victims by sponsoring a disaster relief fundraiser and soliciting donations for the American Red Cross.

The UC also formalized the referendum process by clarifying the timeline, rules, and format for student-initiated UC petitions. Referendums are student-initiated petitions, which, once they earn enough signatures, are put up for a College-wide vote.

Bicknell also touted the Council’s soon-to-be-launched “We The Crimson” web tool, which will allow students to create petitions, organize them by category, and vote for those that they support.

—Staff writer Quinn D. Hatoff can be reached at quinnhatoff@college.harvard.edu.

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