U.C. Considers Direct Elections

Students Could Vote for Council Pres., V.P. if May Referendum Passes

The Undergraduate Council voted last night to hold a campuswide referendum during the week of May 1 on whether students should directly elect the council president and vice president.

The council itself will vote on direct elections at next week's meeting. If members fail to pass the bill calling for direct elections, the question will be put to the students along with a referendum on a new school mascot.

Council President Joshua D. Liston '95 proposed the bill in accordance with his campaign promise to make the council more representative of students.

"If the council won't pass the bill for popular elections," Liston said, "the students should be able to."

David L. Hanselman '94-'95, last semester's council president, said he supports the resolution because direct elections would give the council more clout in dealing with the administration.


"It's hard to go in to the administration and say what the students feel when you're not popularly elected," Hanselman said.

Chair of the student affairs committee Randall A. Fine '96 said he opposes the resolution because he feels that popular elections may not produce the desired effect of making students more interested in the council.

"At the University of Kentucky, for example, they have popular elections for student government officers," Fine said. "Candidates there spend upwards of $10,000 to get elected, and only 10 percent of the student body votes in the elections."

Christopher R. McFadden '97, who is a Crimson editor, moved to amend the resolution so that a cap of $200 would be placed on campaign spending in a popular election.

"I think it's dangerous to allow students to spend as much money on an election as they want," McFadden said. "This is Harvard. Somebody's going to spend $12,000. Somebody's going to spend $12,000,000."

The amendment, which passed last night, will be up for vote along with the popular elections issue next week.

The bill originally called for students to vote on direct elections for the council treasurer and secretary as well, but Hanselman amended the bill to deal with elections of only the president and vice-president.

"The president and vice-president set the tone for the council," Hanselman said. "Students should vote for that, not the more technical jobs."

Details of the bill to be considered next week have not yet been set and could be different form those in the referendum, Liston said.

If the council passes the bill next week, Liston said, the May referendum will not take place. If the referendum does take place and passes, he said, the council will make the necessary changes to its bylaws at its meeting on May 7.

To be binding, half of the student body has to vote and at least 75 percent of the votes must be in favor of the referendum.

In other business, the council decided to delayawarding grants to student organizations for aweek in deference to council members who cannotattend the meeting on Easter Sunday.

Finance committee Chair Robert C. Hyman '98said the delay is necessary because the councilwould be irresponsible to vote on the grantspackage at a time when many of its members will beabsent due to the holiday.

"This is the most important thing the councildoes," Hyman said, referring to the awarding ofgrants to student groups. "Should we be voting ona $32,000 package with the bare minimum of peoplehere?"

The council also voted to again attempt tobring comedian Chris Rock to Harvard. The councilpreviously tried to hold a comedy concert withRock this month, but plans fell through due to aconflict with Rock's schedule.

Co-chair of the council's campus life committeeJonathan P. Feeney '97 said the council will tryto schedule the concert for the week of the May 4.

"There is a group practicing in Sanders Theatrethat week," Feeney said. "But we're trying to worksomething out with them, bribe them with freetickets, whatever."

The council also passed a bill to match housecommittee funds up to $500 for a joint party ofEliot, Kirkland and Winthrop houses.

This bill takes advantage of two newpolicies--the council's commitment to supporthouse committee events that benefit a largeportion of the College and the administration'snew policy allowing houses to cohost parties wherealcohol is served