A referendum on a controversial amendment to the Law School's charter was postponed Tuesday when 144 extra ballots turned up in the ballot box, invalidating this week's vote.
The amendment, proposed in October by the conservative Students' Alliance for Fairness (SAFF), would prevent the council from reserving seats for specific student groups on ad hoc committees. It was suggested after two seats on the student dean search committee were reserved for members of the Coalition for Diversity, an umbrella organization for minority students.
Law School Council members say the extra votes were probably cast when the ballot box was unattended, and students voted without having their names checked off a list. The referendum is slated to be return early next week.
Brain Melendez '86, president of the council and a second-year law student, said that although students on both sides of the amendment accuse the others of stuffing the ballot box, he did not believe there was foul play involved.
"Apparently, the ballot box was left unattended for a period of time. People probably just dropped their ballots in, not realizing that they were supposed to have their names checked off," Melendez said. He said that he would supervise the voting next week on Monday or Tuesday.
Sam J. Levy, president of SAFF and a 3d-year law student, said the council's voting process "is not much respected at the Law School. There is a fundamental mistrust involved." He said, however, that he believed Melendez would be "dependable and fair-minded" in his running of the ballot boxes.
Meanwhile, debate about the amendment is still dividing the campus.
In the past week, groups opposing the amendment have distributed literature to student mailboxes and hung posters around the Law School. The Women's Law Association and the Hispanic students' group La Alianza have both stuffed student mailboxes with letters urging them to vote against the amendment.
A letter from La Alianza called the amendment"far from harmless." Other letters signed byminority and civil liberties groups weredistributed.
The campaign has also yielded a complaint fromLevy that "hundreds of posters that I have put uphave been torn down or defaced." Dean of StudentsSarah Wald issued a notice Monday admonishingstudents for defacing posters put up by bothsides.
Maurice Hoo, one of two members of theCoalition for Diversity who were given reservedseats on the student dean search committee, saidthat the committee had been "distracted" by allthe controversy surrounding its membership.
"There has been little discussion about itwithin the committee," Hoo said. "We have beenbusy compiling the students' surveys. Besides,that's not what we are here for. We haven't beengiven any trouble.