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Nichols Resigns Under Pressure

UC vice president's statement unexpected; new VP to be chosen at next meeting

By Liz C. Goodwin, Crimson Staff Writer

Undergraduate Council (UC) Vice President Ian W. Nichols ’06 resigned last night at the UC’s weekly meeting, and several friends said that he had been forced out of his position.

In a speech lasting less than a minute, Nichols told the UC—of which he has been a member since his freshman year—that he was resigning before walking out of the meeting.

“I don’t feel I’ve really made the UC my number one priority this semester and I don’t know if this whole split ticket thing is working out,” Nichols said at the meeting. “Take care guys, it’s been real.”

UC members have criticized Nichols recently for his absence from UC events.

The UC will elect a new vice president at its next meeting, which will take place by next Sunday.

Nichols’ announcement was met with surprised silence from UC members present at the meeting.

Joshua A. Barro ’05, a former UC member, said that Nichols told him he had been faced with the choice of being impeached or resigning shortly before the UC meeting.

“He told me that there was an ultimatum,” Barro said.

Nichols did not respond to repeated requests for comment last night.

Tracy “Ty” Moore II ’06, who unsuccessfully ran for president with Nichols, said Nichols told him that members of the Executive Board spoke with Nichols before the meeting about resigning.

“He was utterly surprised that they were disappointed in his level of dedication,” Moore said.

But UC President Matthew J. Glazer ’06 disagreed with the characterization that Nichols had been forced to resign.

“It’s a very hard situation because many members of the Council brought legitimate grievances to me and it’s my responsibility to bring those grievances to the council and I talked to Ian about them and he chose to resign,” Glazer said.

UC Communications Director Neeraj “Richie” Banerji ’06 said that Nichols had chosen to resign of his own volition.

“He was not forced out and he chose to resign instead of facing embarrassment, criticism, or other actions for what he called his own negligence,” Banerji said.

After Nichols’ announcement, Glazer told the UC that the resignation was positive for the UC.

“It seems like this will be the best thing for the council, the campus, and for him personally,” Glazer told the UC after Nichols’ departure.

UC representatives have criticized Nichols recently for his absence from the last two UC general meetings and the UC-sponsored Springfest. Nichols was one absence away from being expelled, based on UC attendance rules.

One of Nichols’ responsibilities as vice president was to keep track of members’ attendance at general and committee meetings.

UC secretary Matthew R. Greenfield ’08—who is acting vice president until the UC holds elections—said after the meeting that there had been “talk of a petition” among UC members that would begin the process of impeaching Nichols after his unexplained absences, but that he did not think that Nichols had been threatened with it to resign.

According to the UC bylaws, a petition with ten signatures and a vote of two-thirds of the UC is needed to impeach a member. Greenfield said that attaining a two-thirds majority would be nearly impossible in the case of most members, and in particular Nichols, who Greenfield said has a lot of friends on the UC.

“The idea of being forced out is really inconceivable,” Greenfield said.

Nichols was elected last December as part of a nearly unprecedented split ticket, raising questions about whether a leadership team that had run separately could be effective.

After Nichols’ resignation last night, the UC passed long-standing legislation mandating that the UC president and vice president run and be elected as a single ticket.

Moore, who ran with Nichols, said yesterday that Nichols said he had been alienated from the UC’s executive board since being elected vice president.

“I definitely think he felt forced out,” said Moore. “Throughout the semester, he’s been talking to me about the reluctance of the executive board to work with him.”

Greenfield also said that he did not think that Nichols was alienated from the executive board, and said that people gave Nichols “the benefit of the doubt” in working with him.

Not since 1992 has the second-in-command of the UC resigned, when vice chair Maya G. Prabhu ’94 was accused of tampering with ballots.

The vice-chair position was renamed vice president one year later.

—Evan H. Jacobs contributed to the reporting of this story.

—Staff writer Liz C. Goodwin can be reached at goodwin@fas.harvard.edu.

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