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Council Wants Notes From All Absentees

By Jeffrey C. Wu

In the wake of Sunday's Undergraduate Council meeting--which ended prematurely because council members could not maintain a quorum--the council's executive board has passed a resolution calling on representatives to submit written explanations of their absences.

"I realize people have other things to do than UC," Council Chair Guhan Subramanian '91-'92 said yesterday. "But when people miss meetings just because they don't want to show up, that's what I want to see eliminated. Basically any excuse will do. If your grandmother was in town that's fine. But I don't think that was the case for 45 people Sunday night."

Subramanian ended Sunday's semiannual grants meeting early after the dwindling number of members present prompted finance committee members to request a roll call. The roll call showed that only 41 of the council's 87 members were present, three short of a quorum.

Council members' reactions to the procedural resolution yesterday were mixed. While some said the policy will encourage more consistent attendance, many said the policy was unfair and inappropriate.

"It's ridiculous to force people to go," said representative Caley M. Castelein '93, who said he was absent from Sunday's meeting because he was working on a paper.

"Submitting written statements would be ineffective. [It] seems like a high school thing to do," said council member Andy F. Chao '92, who said he was absent for personal reasons. Chao called the proposal "a good idea in theory, worthless in practicality."

Most council members agreed that the policy might be difficult to enforce.

"If you miss one meeting and say you were washing your hair, we're just going to have to deal with it," said Evan B. Rauch '92, the council's secretary.

But members of the executive board yesterday stressed the importance of attendance, especially at the grants meeting, in which the council doles out funds to various undergraduate organizations.

"A lot of the grants are geographicallyspecific," said Rauch. "You're really failing as arepresentative if you don't show up for yourconstituency."

But council member Seth D. Tapper '91 said thatthe "council doesn't represent any particularpeople. If they don't show up, it doesn't hurtanyone."

And even Subramanian said that the grantsmeeting has historically attracted poorattendance.

"I don't think that it's been any worse thisyear than past years," said Subramanian. "We'rejust trying to improve attendance, that's all.It's the first step towards getting involved."

Subramanian said the proposal is in line withprevious promises to support more widespreadparticipation in the council. Yet he said theproposal's specific details were not set in stone,adding that "I'm not willing to go to the wall onthis one.

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