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The number of students who opted not to pay a $16.67 fee to fund the Undergraduate Council jumped nearly 7 percent this year, leaving the official student government with significantly less money to work with than it has in previous years.
A total of 1105 students--16.7 percent of Harvard's 6650 undergraduates--declined to give the council monetary support this year, according to Susan L. Schnare of the Student Billing Office. Council Secretary Evan B. Rauch '92 said that about 10 percent of undergraduates waived the council fees last year.
"That's high," Rauch said of the increase. "Actually, this is a little embarrassing."
All students automatically receive a charge for $20 for Undergraduate Council fees on their term bills, but have the option of waiving $16.67 by checking the appropriate line on the bill. The remaining $3.33 is refunded to students who send written requests to Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III.
The increase in waived fees means that the council will receive about $7300 less than it collected at the beginning of last year. Council leaders said the cuts may come out of grants to student organizations, social events and general operations funds.
"Obviously, the budget will be smaller," said Council Treasurer Christopher J. Borgen '91, who is serving as chair in the absence of Guhan Subramanian '91-'92. "I'm not sure how we'll reapportion.
"It might hurt grants. It's a shame because I don't think people realize the main thing our money is used for is grants back to student groups," Borgen said.
In past years, the council has had a $120,000budget, Rauch said.
Borgen said that there is a "very strongpossibility" that the council will simply cutexpenses evenly across the board. However, he saidthat the council is "inclined against hurtinggrants in any way."
Rauch said that the council's "general policyis not to touch the grant budget. We can not spendon miscellaneous items. Plan 'B' if we couldn'tsave money there is to sponsor less house partiesfrom the social budget."
Rauch speculated that the increase in feewaivers might be due to disappointment in thecouncil's actions last year, in part because ofthe body's inability to maintain a quorum at thefinal four meetings of the year.
But he said that he felt that students whoopted out of the term bill fee were taking unfairadvantage of their peers.
"There may be a few people who are totalrecluses who don't get anything from the term billfee," Rauch said. "Others are deliberately andrather obnoxiously riding on the rest of Harvardstudents. It strikes me as wrong for them to say,'Well, if I don't pay for them, somebody elsewill.'"
Students interviewed yesterday gave a range ofreasons for their decision to waive the fee,including a simple desire to keep some extra cashon hand.
But a number of students said they weredissatisfied with the way the council had beenallocating its funds in recent years.
"I think the Undergraduate Council is not veryskillful at allocating the money that studentscontribute," said Theo Cheng '91. "I don't have aparticular amount of trust in the UC.
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