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Petition to Censure Liston Is Shot Down

After Signatory Removes His Name, U.C. Voids Move to Reprimand Its President

By Andrewa. Green

At last night's meeting the Undergraduate Council voted not to discuss the allegations of misconduct levied against council President Joshua D. Liston '95 for his role in organizing a protest against the administrations's stand on Gina Grant.

A petition to censure Liston was introduced on Thursday. It indicated that Liston implied that he was speaking for the council when he protested the Grant decision.

The petition said Liston misrepresented his authority because the council never took a stand on the issue.

According to council bylaws, a petition to censure must have at least 10 signers and be introduced to the vice president of the council three days before it can be debated and voted on.

Council Vice President Justin C. Label '97 said he received the petition late Thursday night and immediately informed Liston.

On Saturday morning, however, one of the petitions's signers, Macro B. Simons '97, asked to remove his name from the petition. Later that evening another signature was added.

Simons said he removed his name because he was worried about the motivations behind the petition.

"It is difficult for me to escape the impression that on the part of some, the primary motivation was political and not ethical," Simons said. "But on the whole, I think that council members were under the impression that Josh had used his name to gain media attention and had perhaps misrepresented the council."

Label said the council's rules are ambiguous to deal with signers wanting to remove their names, and some questions remained about whether or not names could be removed.

Label ruled that since the petition was in order when it was introduced, it was admissible as council business.

However, council member Philip R. Kaufman '98 introduced a motion to overrule Label's decision and terminate the debate on the petition.

"I want to get this over with as fast as I can so that we can get back to the real business of the U.C.," Kaufman said.

The council voted for Kaufman's resolution 30 to 15, deciding that if a petition for censure ever drops below ten signatures--as this one did for five hours on Saturday--it becomes void.

In a surprise move, the council voted not to allow Liston to give his presidential remarks about the issue after the debate.

Kaufman said he thought the censure movementdetracted from what the council is trying to dothis semester.

"Most of the council has been doing a reallygood job of keeping on track this semester,"Kaufman said. "I think this was political thingand just really getting away from what we want todo."

Randall A. Fine '96 chair of the council'sstudent affairs committee and one of the signersof the petition, said the ruling set a dangerousprecedent for future petitions.

"I don't agree that if there are ever less thanten signature a petition should be thrown out,"Fine said. "That gives three days for the accusedto badger, bribe or otherwise coerce people intotaking their names off."

"I think once you turn it in, it goes up onSunday," he added. "That way, people can't sign asa tactical move and pull their names off rightbefore the meeting to keep it from coming up."

N. Van Taylor '96-'95, another signer of thepetition, says he will try to bring the petitionup again next week.

"I'm disappointed with the way the vote wenttonight, but I'm sure we'll be able to continuethe process in the next meeting," Taylor said."I'm certain that Josh misused his position forhis personal campaign."

Kaufman said he will deal with another petitionattempt in the same way.

"I saw the vote tonight as 30 to 15 in favor ofpeople who thought this should never have beenbrought up," Kaufman said. "They may bring it up,but we'll deal with it again next week. We'll hopethere'll be another way to throw it out again justas fast."

Former council president David M. Hanselman'94-'95 introduced the petition last night, but hesaid he would not bring it up again.

"I personally think the council decided theydon't want to have any further discussion,particularly since they didn't allow Josh's normalpresidential remarks about it," Hanselman said. "Ithink the best thing now is for the council to geton with things, and if that requires taking myname off the petition, I'll do it."

Liston said he was surprised the council wouldnot let him discuss the issue after the petitionwas thrown out.

"If the council didn't want to hear about it,it's their right," Liston said. "I wanted to talkabout it because I assumed people wanted to hearabout it."

After the debate, the council got down tobusiness and passed five resolutions.

The council voted to ask the committee onUndergraduate Education to extend the dropdeadline for classes for two weeks and to extendthe withdraw option to the last business daybefore Reading Period begins.

The council also authorized a poll concerningrandomization of the housing lottery in hopes ofconvincing the administration not to eliminatechoice in the lottery.

Another poll was authorized which deals withissues including the viability of the council,cable TV and newspaper delivery.

Other resolutions passed included the approvalof a free comedy concert to be held on April 20 inEmerson Hall.

Finally, the council voted to show an outdoormovie beside Emerson Hall next weekend. Thecouncil decided in an overwhelming outpouring ofsupport to show "Star Wars.

Kaufman said he thought the censure movementdetracted from what the council is trying to dothis semester.

"Most of the council has been doing a reallygood job of keeping on track this semester,"Kaufman said. "I think this was political thingand just really getting away from what we want todo."

Randall A. Fine '96 chair of the council'sstudent affairs committee and one of the signersof the petition, said the ruling set a dangerousprecedent for future petitions.

"I don't agree that if there are ever less thanten signature a petition should be thrown out,"Fine said. "That gives three days for the accusedto badger, bribe or otherwise coerce people intotaking their names off."

"I think once you turn it in, it goes up onSunday," he added. "That way, people can't sign asa tactical move and pull their names off rightbefore the meeting to keep it from coming up."

N. Van Taylor '96-'95, another signer of thepetition, says he will try to bring the petitionup again next week.

"I'm disappointed with the way the vote wenttonight, but I'm sure we'll be able to continuethe process in the next meeting," Taylor said."I'm certain that Josh misused his position forhis personal campaign."

Kaufman said he will deal with another petitionattempt in the same way.

"I saw the vote tonight as 30 to 15 in favor ofpeople who thought this should never have beenbrought up," Kaufman said. "They may bring it up,but we'll deal with it again next week. We'll hopethere'll be another way to throw it out again justas fast."

Former council president David M. Hanselman'94-'95 introduced the petition last night, but hesaid he would not bring it up again.

"I personally think the council decided theydon't want to have any further discussion,particularly since they didn't allow Josh's normalpresidential remarks about it," Hanselman said. "Ithink the best thing now is for the council to geton with things, and if that requires taking myname off the petition, I'll do it."

Liston said he was surprised the council wouldnot let him discuss the issue after the petitionwas thrown out.

"If the council didn't want to hear about it,it's their right," Liston said. "I wanted to talkabout it because I assumed people wanted to hearabout it."

After the debate, the council got down tobusiness and passed five resolutions.

The council voted to ask the committee onUndergraduate Education to extend the dropdeadline for classes for two weeks and to extendthe withdraw option to the last business daybefore Reading Period begins.

The council also authorized a poll concerningrandomization of the housing lottery in hopes ofconvincing the administration not to eliminatechoice in the lottery.

Another poll was authorized which deals withissues including the viability of the council,cable TV and newspaper delivery.

Other resolutions passed included the approvalof a free comedy concert to be held on April 20 inEmerson Hall.

Finally, the council voted to show an outdoormovie beside Emerson Hall next weekend. Thecouncil decided in an overwhelming outpouring ofsupport to show "Star Wars.

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