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Driskell Wins Landslide; Fee Hike Fails

Council Cut to 50; Term Bill Stays $20

By Parker R. Conrad, Crimson Staff Writer

Netting more than twice as many votes as any other candidate, Fentrice D. Driskell '01 won the Undergraduate Council's top spot early this morning.

Driskell's running mate John A. Burton '01 won the vice presidential position by nearly 400 votes.

Despite Driskell's landslide victory, the election help a mixed bag for the council as a whole. The two winners will preside over a council slashed to nearly half its current size and still largely underfunded.

But last night Driskell was too overwhelmed by her victory for such thoughts. When the election commission called her Mather House suite with the news, Driskell threw the phone into the air and started screaming.

"It's an amazing mixture of excitement and humility," she said. "There's never a way to gauge these things. There were these moments of extreme confidence as well as moments of uncertainty."

Results from a referendum on the council's size, which appeared on the election ballots, showed overwhelming student support for reducing council membership to about 50 representatives from its current 90.

In the first round of voting, 1,259 undergraduates chose 50 as the council's optimal size. In comparison, 60 council members, the next most popular option, drew only 499 votes.

Outgoing council president Noah Z. Seton '00 had endorsed reducing the council's size to 60 members.

The referendum to increase the council's term-bill fee--from $20 to $50--failed by only 139 votes, despite having the support of every presidential candidate and almost the entire council. 1,583 students voted yes on the increase, while 1,434 voted no.

The failure of the term-bill referendum will likely leave the council strapped for cash next year.

"It's been a disappointing night," said outgoing Vice President Kamil E. Redmond '00, even though Driskell and Burton, whom she endorsed, carried the election.

"We have an operating budget that is drastically small," Redmond said.

More students--3,017--voted in this year's election than in last year's, which drew only 2,706 people to the polls. In 1997, 3,084 voted in the council presidential and vice presidential elections.

After having lost in last year's race as a vice presidential candidate, Driskell now possesses a broad mandate to pursue the platform of community-building that she first proposed with T. Christopher King '01, her former presidential running mate.

Driskell has said that her yearlong tenure as president will focus on fostering a single Harvard community from what she says are fractured and isolated individual ones.

Among other campaign planks, Driskell and Burton say they will put response cards in the dining halls for students to submit comments and complaints to the council. Driskell has also vigorously endorsed the Harvard Census 2000 project, a campus-wide survey which she says will reveal what students would like to change about their undergraduate experiences.

This morning's announcement ends over two weeks of nearly non-stop campaigning by the candidates, who said the process has brought them to near exhaustion.

"I've never been more weary than I am right now," Plants said before he heard the final results.

The mood was somber at gatherings put together by many of the losing candidates.

Frank X. Leonard '01 said he doubted that he and his running mate Katie E. Tenney '01 would remain on council.

"To be honest, it's in question at this point," he said.

Leonard nevertheless declared a Pyrrhic victory.

"Our goal from the outset was to get more students involved in U.C. politics, and tonight we have 50 people at a campaign party, none of whom are in the U.C.--mission accomplished," Leonard said.

Sterling P. A. Darling '01 said he was at a private party and refused to comment.

The release of the election results came only hours after the council's election commission met to decide whether a series of spending violations would disqualify Driskell and Burton from the election.

Driskell and Burton each exceeded their spending limit of $100 "by a matter of dollars," said commission member David L. Levy '00. Their overspending, Levy said, occurred by accumulating too many in-kind donations.

Levy said the two candidates returned enough in-kind donations--such as unused paper and campaign posters--to the commission last night to pull them back within the spending limits.

"It would be really stupid to penalize people who have worked hard and put a lot of effort into their campaign because there was a misunderstanding," Levy said.

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