Undergraduate Council To Hold Special Elections for Open Seats

UPDATED: February 6, 2013, at 5:30 a.m.

Residents of nine of Harvard’s undergraduate Houses can start voting at noon Wednesday to fill 13 open seats on the Harvard Undergraduate Council.

The UC holds a special election at the beginning of every spring semester for members of the UC’s Executive Board, whose terms expire in December. This particular year, however, is notable for the high number of departures by representatives choosing to pursue internships or other extracurricular activities. Voters last February only had to choose seven new representatives.

Two representatives from Quincy and one each from Mather and Kirkland chose to run for re-election after a term on the Executive Board.

Residents of Dunster and Eliot Houses will vote for two new representatives, while voters in Adams, Cabot, and Winthrop House will elect a single new representative each. All of these positions were vacated by former representatives who resigned or declined to run for re-election.

Finally, last November’s election of Tara Raghuveer ’14 and Jen Q. Zhu ’14 as president and vice president left positions open in Currier House and Quincy House.

The special elections in Kirkland, Currier, Adams, and Cabot are uncontested.

Despite having all three of their seats up for a vote, residents of Quincy were generally apathetic about the election, with many admitting they did not know there was going to be one. Residents of Winthrop House, which held a special election last November after two of its representatives were expelled from the UC, were similarly in the dark about the election.

“I feel like [the UC] doesn’t have a direct impact on my activities,” said Benjamin Lopez ’15, a resident of Winthrop House who said he did not know about the special election or the names of his current House representatives.

Former Dunster representative Delara Z. Alameddine ’14 and Eliot representative Terah E. Lyons ’14, both of whom declined to give phone interviews, wrote in emails to The Crimson that they decided not to continue with the UC because they did not feel comfortable splitting their attention between the organization and their other commitments.

“I thought it would be less than fair to my housemates and fellow volunteers to take on a position in the UC once again,” said Alameddine, who is the co-director of the Strong Women Strong Girls volunteer organization and was recently elected as Dunster House Committee co-chair.

“I just simply didn’t have enough time to dedicate to the administrative duties of my position and wanted to give it to someone who would be able to dedicate the time and attention that it deserved this semester,” Lyons said. “I decided to step away from the UC because the break between semesters made for a more graceful, timely exit.”

Voting closes at noon on Friday.

—Staff writer Steven S. Lee can be reached at Follow Steven on Twitter at @StevenSJLee.