UC Launches New Grant for 'House-Centered' Parties

The Undergraduate Council will fund $1,000 worth of non-alcoholic “house-centered parties” this semester, due to a new Student Initiatives Committee policy.

This new “Everything But Alcohol” initiative is part of the Council’s effort to promote inclusive social spaces and House life, according to Student Initiatives Committee Chair Madeleine H. Stern ’18. Under the legislation, students will be able to apply for grants of up to $100 for food, decor, music, and other funding requests.

Some representatives raised concerns that $1,000 would be inadequate to provide sufficient funding to all Houses. Stern said that, if the grant works as the committee hopes, it may receive more funding in the future.

“We're allocating $1,000 for this semester only,” Stern said. “If this proves successful, SIC could take more money from its budget next semester or next year and make this a far larger thing.”

The legislation passed unanimously at the UC’s Sunday meeting. Stern also said a freshman-oriented version of the policy, spearheaded by the Freshman Class Committee, is in the works.

Also during the meeting, UC President Shaiba Rather ’17 said she and UC Vice President Daniel V. Banks ’17 will present to the Faculty Committee regarding the College’s policy that will penalize members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations beginning next fall. On Tuesday, they will give a two-minute speech to the Faculty Committee as part of the committee’s discussion over a motion against the sanctions. Earlier this month, Rather and Banks spoke to the Faculty Council on the issue.

During the UC’s Sunday meeting, the Council considered a piece of legislation which would have formally established a new agency within the UC to integrate Harvard’s branch of the Ivy Council—an organization consisting of student leaders across multiple Ivy League campuses—into the UC.

UC Finance Committee Chair William A. Greenlaw ’17, who endorsed the legislation, pointed to several examples of UC policy initiatives and proposals that were inspired by other schools’ student governments—including sexual assault prevention efforts and initiatives to provide feminine hygiene products.

Several representatives said working with the Ivy Council could help the UC with future policy.

“It's so important for the UC to have ties with what's going on,” Crimson Yard representative Nadine Khoury ’20 said. “We need to see how other student governments are functioning so we can improve ours.”

Due to concerns over both funding and the additional bureaucracy of adding another institution to the UC, the Council chose to table the legislation. The UC will consider the proposal again later next month, according to Rather.

While considering the UC’s weekly grants pack, Finance Committee Vice Chair of Policy Nicholas D. Boucher ’19 took issue with a $3,000 grant to fund an event by the Society of Arab Students. The group requested food funding for an estimated 500 undergraduates.

Boucher said it seemed statistically unlikely that 500 undergraduates would attend the event, and proposed an amendment to cut the group’s grant by 80 percent to match the number of students likely to attend. Boucher’s amendment ultimately passed, as did the grants pack as a whole.

At the start of the meeting, the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ President Kathleen C. Zhou ’17 spoke to the Council about the recent controversy surrounding the group’s production of “The Mikado.”

Zhou expressed concern about a letter, currently being drafted by some UC representatives, that she worried was unfair to her organization. The authors may release the letter—which will not be endorsed by the Council as a whole—as early as this week, after soliciting information from both sides of the controversy.

—Staff writer Brian P. Yu can be reached at brian.yu@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianyu28.

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