Several members of the Undergraduate Council criticized UC President Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18 for her remarks opposing a ban on single-gender final clubs and Greek organizations at last week’s Faculty meeting, contending that her views did not reflect those of the entire UC.
At the Faculty meeting on Oct. 3, Sachee urged professors to vote against any proposals that would enforce an outright ban on social groups. “It would be imprudent to pretend that their elimination would solve the current problem,” Sachee, a member of the Bee Club, said. “Students must be allowed to make choices, as they have been thus far.”
At Monday’s UC general meeting, though, several representatives said they were frustrated that they were not consulted about Sachee’s remarks.
Among them was UC representative Evan M. Bonsall ’19, who introduced legislation to prevent the UC president and vice president from sending official campus-wide emails that would ask undergraduates to take a particular action, like filling out a survey. The proposal did not pass because it failed to garner a two-thirds vote.
Bonsall said his amendment was spurred by his concerns over transparency issues between the UC executive committee and the other Council members.
“The main reason why we introduced this legislation was to start a conversation on the UC about how the UC functions, and about whether the way it currently functions is the most fair and democratic,” Bonsall said. “I, personally, and many other members of the Council who I talked to, are frustrated that we were not consulted at all before that statement was made.”
In an interview Thursday, Sachee said that she has done her best to be as transparent as possible in communication with other UC members and that she intends to keep that as a priority for the rest of her tenure.
Wyatt M. Robertson ’18, a UC member who voted against the email restriction, expressed his personal confidence in Sachee and Khansarinia. He said that the pair’s selection by the student body gives them the “right” to express opinions on undergraduates’ behalf.
“That’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s what they were voted to do,” Robertson said. “One of the advantages of having a president and vice president that can send these kinds of emails is that they can react and respond quickly to things.”
But Nicholas P. Whittaker ’19 said he was concerned about the ability of the UC president and vice president to communicate quickly with the entire student body: “The president and vice president have so much power,” said Whittaker, who supported the email restriction.
Whittaker said that while a “separation of powers” exists between UC representatives and the UC president and vice president, he said he thinks that not all students are represented in discussions about the sanctions on off-campus social groups.
On Thursday, Sachee reiterated her opposition to a ban on unrecognized single gender social organizations.
“I don’t believe that a ban on social organizations would be good for student life at the College,” Sachee said. “I will come back to the Faculty, and hope to be able to have the opportunity to present what the student opinion believes, with regards to the different options that were presented.”
Sachee acknowledged that students have differing perspectives on the social club penalties, and she plans on releasing more information in the “coming days” about how the UC will solicit student opinions.
Robertson said that he supported Sachee’s address at the Faculty meeting because it elevates the voice of students to Faculty members.
“It shows we do have a stake in it, we do have opinions, and we want to be heard,” Robertson said. “It set the precedent for people to actually now listen.”
—Staff writers Joshua J. Florence and Mia C. Karr contributed reporting to this story.—Staff writer Kenton K. Shimozaki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @KentonShimozaki
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