Council Confirms Elections Change

U.C. Members Say Campus-Wide Ballot Will Give Executives Greater Credibility

Members of the Undergraduate Council confirmed yesterday that they have voted to institute popular elections for the organization's president and vice president--a decision which may have profound implications for the way the Council is viewed by students and administrators alike.

The Council voted, 51-14, with one abstention, to amend its constitution to read: "The executive officers shall be a President and a Vice-President who shall be elected by the student body; and a Secretary and Treasurer who shall be elected by the Council."

Until now, these offices were determined by a vote of the Council's members only.

The bill to alter the election process was sponsored by council President Joshua D. Liston '95, former president David L. Hanselman '94-95 and Campus Life Committee Co-chair Rudd W. Coffey '97.

"I'm very excited," Vice President Justin C. Label '97 said Tuesday. "Hopefully this will lead to Council members having better relations with the student body."


In the past, student leaders and administrators have criticized the Council, saying that without direct elections, it lacked a mandate from the student body.

Label predicted the Council's relationship to the student body and College administration would improve under the new system.

"[Direct elections] will change a lot of the way we do business, and the relationship we have with both students and the administration," he said.

According to a recent poll taken by the Council, 68 percent of students favor direct elections. Twenty-two percent oppose such a measure.

"I think it's absolutely great," said David V. Bonfili '96, a former Council memberand one of the organizers of the Movement toReform the Undergraduate Council (MRUC).

"It will encourage those people who are mostactive on the Council to shift gears a little interms of the issues they pursue, and to make surethat the issues that they do follow reflect theconcerns of students," he added.

But opponents of the amendment argued thatalthough they support measures for reform, thebill remains vague about important details.

"Reform always has unintended consequences,"said Student Affairs Committee Chair Randall A.Fine '96. "We passed popular elections as just aconcept. The devil is in the details, and most ofthem haven't been worked out."

One of the concerns raised during the April 30Council meeting centered on the amendment's lackof detail.

Finance Chair Robert M. Hyman '98 and TreasurerBrain R. Blais '96 said they hoped to make thebill more specific by proposing three amendments,all of which passed: to require a spending cap forcampaigns, to stipulate the candidates must becouncil members, and to establish year-long termsfor the president and vice president.

The officers' terms would begin in February andwould continue over the summer.