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Sparks Fly at Council Presidential Debate

Candidates Fine, Gregoire Trade Blows

In last night's Undergraduate Council presidential debate, Brandon C. Gregoire '95 accused candidate Randall A. Fine '96 and last semester's president David L. Hanselman '94-'95 of violating the council's constitution and bylaws.

And that was just the opening statement.

Gregoire continued to accuse Fine of wrongdoing throughout the debate.

Gregoire said that Hanselman and Fine had conspired together to stack the council's vote on a constitutional reform package two years ago.

He said the pair decided which council members with excessive absences to expel and which to forgive based on how they were expected to vote.

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Furthermore, Gregoire said the two had created a list that separated these members into categories of "Yes, No, and Maybe" based on their expected votes, and that they "coerced and intimidated" these members to vote for the package. Fine addressed these accusations only briefly during the debate. Instead, he focused mainly on the planks of his position paper.

After the debate, an emotional Hanselman categorically denied the truth of these allegations and lambasted Gregoire for his attacks.

"I cannot believe the gall of," Hanselman said. "He is someone I worked closely with, had daily contact with over the last semester, someone I considered to be a friend. I can't believe that he could stab me in the back over an office that, quite simply, won't mean that much after we leave Harvard this spring."

While these accusations pervaded many of Gregoire's responses and some of those of fellow candidate Joshua D. Liston '95 as well, the debate settled down for the most part to a discussion of the issues.

The debate centered on the legitimacy of the council as a student government and the perceived lack of impact of the council on student life.

Candidate Rudd W. Coffey '97 said the "old fashioned machinery" of the council was the problem and advocated a new role for the president.

"As president I would like to be more of a facilitator than one who sets the agenda," Coffey said. "What the council needs is a president to facilitate the good foundation of initiative that has been established in the council this semester."

Liston said that major changes in the attitude of the council's leadership needed to take place to lessen the gap between the council and students.

Liston pointed to his effort to personallydistribute his position paper to everyundergraduate as a possible model for futurecouncil action.

"If I am elected president, I will make surethat a council executive visits everyundergraduate room on campus," Liston said.

Gregoire said that the Council does represent asignificant mandate of the student body, butadvocated direct election of council officers toincrease the link.

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