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Candidates for Council President Hold Debate

By Peggy S. Chen

The two candidates for Undergraduate Council president debated the structure of council meetings and the future of popular elections before an audience of 17 at the Institute of Politics last night.

Robert M. Hyman '98-'97, who is seeking his second term as council president and three-term council veteran Wesley B. Gilchrist '98 met in an informal debate prior to the Sunday council election.

Gilchrist criticized Hyman for poorly managing lengthy council meetings and failing to promote popular election of the council's top officers.

"My number one priority is the election of the president by the entire student body," said Gilchrist of the popular elections which are scheduled for April. "It should have already happened. Let's do it right and finish it now."

But Hyman said that the council has had several successes under his leadership this past term.

"The council has made a tectonic shift this year. There's been a new openness...a real engagement of the student body," Hyman said during his opening remarks. "A vote for me this Sunday will continue this trend."

Hyman pointed to the decision last semester to back Phillips Brooks House and the push for universal key-card access as the council's most significant achievements.

But Gilchrist emphasized the need for reform in the structure of council meetings, saying he would like to see the council "become more efficient in its procedure."

"We can be as successful with shorter meetings," Gilchrist said. "The president can set a time limit on debate. I will do that."

Hyman, however, said the length of the meetings is not the council's most important concern.

"You've got to balance hearing the talented voices on the council with time constraints," he said. "We've tackled more issues than we ever have before. [The long meetings] are a sign of hard work that people have been putting in."

Hyman and Gilchrist also touched on issues such as council-administration relations and the direction of council funds.

"We have to assert ourselves and sometimes take positions the administration doesn't really want us to take," said Hyman. "The council isn't afraid to do that."

Gilchrist agreed with Hyman, but added that the council's dealings with the administration would be more meaningful once popular elections were implemented.

The two also discussed how council funds should be distributed and, specifically, how an anticipated $10,000 windfall from Harvard Dining Services and Pepsi should be doled out.

Both candidates proposed using the funds to sponsor a large event, such as a concert or spring festival. They also considered giving the money to small committees.

The debate was moderated by William Zerhouni '97-'98, president of the Harvard-Republican Republican Alliance.

Each candidate gave short opening speeches, which were then followed by a question and answer session

"We can be as successful with shorter meetings," Gilchrist said. "The president can set a time limit on debate. I will do that."

Hyman, however, said the length of the meetings is not the council's most important concern.

"You've got to balance hearing the talented voices on the council with time constraints," he said. "We've tackled more issues than we ever have before. [The long meetings] are a sign of hard work that people have been putting in."

Hyman and Gilchrist also touched on issues such as council-administration relations and the direction of council funds.

"We have to assert ourselves and sometimes take positions the administration doesn't really want us to take," said Hyman. "The council isn't afraid to do that."

Gilchrist agreed with Hyman, but added that the council's dealings with the administration would be more meaningful once popular elections were implemented.

The two also discussed how council funds should be distributed and, specifically, how an anticipated $10,000 windfall from Harvard Dining Services and Pepsi should be doled out.

Both candidates proposed using the funds to sponsor a large event, such as a concert or spring festival. They also considered giving the money to small committees.

The debate was moderated by William Zerhouni '97-'98, president of the Harvard-Republican Republican Alliance.

Each candidate gave short opening speeches, which were then followed by a question and answer session

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