Students will go to the polls in less than two weeks to vote on a referendum that could force the Undergraduate Council to reverse a $10 hike in its term-bill fee and to alter its election process.
As of yesterday afternoon, a petition calling for the referendum had been signed by 820 students, well beyond the 663 needed to force a vote, said Anjalee C. Davis '96, a former council member who organized the effort.
The petition calls for a Collegewide referendum on April 19-21 to decide five questions about the council's future. The results of the referendum will be binding--unless threefourths of the council votes to overturn the students' decision.
"If the referendum goes through, we'll have a student government that truly represents the students, and that the administration won't be able to ignore," said Davis, who resigned from the council in February and is taking the semester off.
The referendum will allow students the opportunity to overturn last month's council vote to increase the fee undergraduates pay on their term bills to support the student government.
Students could also vote to reverse last year's decision to eliminate the check-box option on term bills, which allowed students to forego payment of the council fee.
Both of those council decisions still must be approved by the Faculty Council before taking effect.
In addition, the question of whether the council should call general elections at the beginning of both semesters will appear on the referendum ballot.
Voters will also be able to decide whether the council president, vice president, secretary and treasurer should be elected by the student body.
Presently, general elections for the council are held only at the beginning of the fall semester. And it is council members who select their president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.
Students will also be able to decide whether to rescind the council's March 13 vote to keep its extra funds at the end of the academic year.
Prior to last month's vote, the council was required to distribute any extra moneys to the house committees.
Davis' petition effort was supported by sevenhouse committees, which helped table for thereferendum in dining halls. Davis herself tabledin North House and the Freshman Union.
She said she was unsure whether the councilitself would oversee the referendum.
But Davis said she opposed allowing the councilto administer a vote on its own fate.
"It would be biased if the U.C. ran thereferendum," Davis said. "These are desperate,unpopular leaders clinging to power."
Davis suggested that the referendum be runjointly by the house committees.
Asked whether that scenario might pose aconflict of interest as well, Davis said she woulddiscuss the matter with Dean of Students Archie C.Epps III
Davis said yesterday afternoon that she isstill awaiting petitions from four housecommittees, which could possibly bring the numberof student signatures to more than 1,000.
"The response has been really enthusiastic,"Davis said. "About 80 percent of the students Iapproached eagerly signed.