UC To Partially Fund Yardfest Tailgates

UC Meeting
Undergraduate Council members Neel Mehta ’18 and Henry S. Atkins ’20 speak about sexual assault prevention legislation at Sunday evening’s UC meeting.
The Undergraduate Council voted to partially fund tailgates before Yardfest at its general meeting Sunday, though some members said they were disappointed that the Office of Student Life asked the UC help foot the bill.

Last year, the Council partnered with the OSL to fund “block parties” in each neighborhood of upperclassmen Houses, pulling monies from its Grant for an Open Harvard College, which is geared towards funding one-time events. This year, funding for the events—which provides students free food and drinks before the College’s annual outdoor concert— is not funded entirely by the OSL, as Council representatives originally anticipated.

The Council voted at its general meeting Sunday to contribute $3000 to supplement the OSL funds. Dunster House representative Alex Popovski ’19 said after weeks of back-and-forth between the OSL and the UC, the OSL reached out on Friday to request partial funding for the tailgates.

At the meeting, representatives said they originally thought the OSL would fund the block parties in full, since it is typically responsible for paying for events after their debut with GOHC funding.

“I think there has been just a little bit of miscommunication on this whole thing, because last year when we funded this, we funded this through GOHC,” said UC President Yasmin Z. Sachee ’18. “GOHC is specifically only for first time events. We thought that the OSL would pick up the tab, because I think the point of GOHC is when there are successful events, the College will then hopefully in following years pick up the full amount.”

UC Treasurer Nicholas D. Boucher ’19 said he opposed providing the $3000 to fund Friday’s tailgates, as he said GOHC funding is meant for “institutionalizing things.”

“They should be the ones who take the fall on this, not us,” he said. “We shouldn’t be the ones who have to bend over backwards to try to make sure everything happens in the way that they want to.”

Despite his objections to the legislation to allocate the funding, Boucher proposed an amendment, which passed unanimously, to fund the tailgates from the “emergency fund” instead of the “discretionary fund.” Boucher said after the meeting that the emergency fund is used for “high-pressure situations,” while the discretionary fund is more flexible.

Adams House representative Anna T. Wechsler ’18 said students’ tailgates should not suffer from internal deliberations between the OSL and the UC.

“I think the Yardfest tailgates are really important events,” she said. “It’s a really great way for students who aren’t maybe always in the party scene feel more included, because everyone can go, it’s with your neighborhood.”

She added: “I think it’s important to recognize it’s not the students who are at fault here, so they shouldn’t necessarily be the ones to like lose out.”

Eliot House representative Taylor D. Marquis '18 agreed and said it was not the time for the UC to deny funding.

“I don’t think that this is a time for us to flex our muscles and show the OSL,” he said. “They’ll be funding most of it, actually.”

Ultimately, the legislation passed by a hand vote of 28-13-1.

—Staff writer Andrew J. Zucker can be reached at andrew.zucker@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @andrewjzucker.

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