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The Undergraduate Council last night voted down a bill to change its process for disciplining its members.
The bill would have forced signatories of a petition to censure or impeach a council member to make their names public, allowed them to remove their names from such a petition at any time for any reason and required the petition to contain ten signatures at all times.
The bill was originally proposed by Marco B. Simons '97 in the wake of a failed attempt to bring to the council floor a petition to censure council President Joshua D. Liston '95 several weeks ago.
Simons' original bill would have allowed a petition to be debated by the council so long as it contained ten signatures when submitted and when brought up in the council, regardless of how many signatures it contained in the interim.
Liston, however, successfully introduced an amendment to change the bill so that any disciplinary petition would have to contain ten signatures at all times.
The central issue of debate on the bill was the claim by opponents that it would encourage the accused to try to pressure the signatories to remove their names during the 72 hours between the time a petition is filed and it is discussed, thereby killing the petition.
"This bill makes the censure process a tool of the powerful against the weak," said council member John E. Stafford '96. "This invites executives and committee chairs to abuse their influence when they want to."
"Issues should not be settled by phone calls and backroom deals. They should be settled in front of the full council," Stafford added.
Campus Life Committee Co-chair Jonathan P. Feeney '97 said that the accused should have the right of knowing the names of the accusers.
"I think you should be forced to stand up and say 'I think you may have done something wrong and we should debate it,'" Feeney said. "If you want to accuse somebody of something so serious, you should be able to take the heat for 72 hours."
The bill would have been a change to the council's by-laws, requiring a two-thirds majority to pass. The final vote of 21 to 11 was one vote short of the necessary supermajority.
After the lengthy debate on this disciplinary reform, the council decided to postpone until next week debate on another proposed by-laws package spelling out the specifics for the direct elections of the council president and vice-president approved last week.
In other council action, a bill was approved to show a movie in the Freshman Union on Thursday, May 11. The bill was sponsored by Philip R. Kaufman '98 and Clay M. West '96 as a replacement for the Yard movie that felt through two weeks ago.
The bill involves an expenditure of $1,550. Two movies will be shown starting at 5:30 p.m. on a screen to be hung from the second floor balcony inside the Union.
Kaufman said that he hoped to be able to show The Godfather in conjunction with the Italian theme of the dinner menu that night.
The council also approved a grant of $3,000 to the house committees of the three Quad houses to help them put on a Quad carnival next September.
The council made its support contingent on the event being advertised in all houses and the council being given credit as a co-sponsor.
The carnival is planned for the day after registration next fall.
Liston successfully introduced a $3,077 expenditure to donate an additional Stairmaster for the Malkin Athletic Center and $577 to the Quad Recreational Athletic Center.
The council also passed a bill to ask the Faculty Council to allow students to receive a full refund of the council fee when they exercise their term-bill check off option, sponsored by Campus Life Committee Co-chair Rudd W. Coffey '97.
Three measures to reform the council's constitution were introduced and inconclusively brought to vote with little debate.
The first would extend the deadline for the Select Committee on Undergraduate Requirements to submit its report on reform of the Core curriculum so that it can make a more through study.
The second would allow a committee co-chair to exercise a full vote in executive board meetings if the other co-chair is not in attendance. It would also give a committee vice-chair the right to participate in meetings as if he or she were the chair if the chair is not in attendance.
The third would allow more council members to participate on the finance committee if they so desire.
All three reform measures were voted on but will not be decided until next week's meeting because barely half of council members were in attendance last night.
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