News

Amid Boston Overdose Crisis, a Pair of Harvard Students Are Bringing Narcan to the Red Line

News

At First Cambridge City Council Election Forum, Candidates Clash Over Building Emissions

News

Harvard’s Updated Sustainability Plan Garners Optimistic Responses from Student Climate Activists

News

‘Sunroof’ Singer Nicky Youre Lights Up Harvard Yard at Crimson Jam

News

‘The Architect of the Whole Plan’: Harvard Law Graduate Ken Chesebro’s Path to Jan. 6

UC Votes Not To Fund Exclusive Groups

Representatives leave after multiple attempts to overrule Haddock fail

By Rachel L. Pollack, Crimson Staff Writer

Fifteen Undergraduate Council (UC) members stormed out of last night’s session after their attempt to change council rules to permit the funding of events sponsored by “discriminatory” student groups appeared to be bogged down in technicalities.

It was the second time in a month that there was an uproar at a UC meeting over the proposal. Currently, the council does not fund groups that limit their membership to a specific class of people, such as the all-male a capella group The Din & Tonics.

Ultimately, the bill failed to gain the two-thirds majority necessary to amend a UC bylaw. Twenty-six representatives voted for and 19 voted against the act.

The legislation received wide support from religious organizations, such as the Asian American Christian Fellowship, although the Black Students Association and the Harvard Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) came to speak out against it.

Former UC President Matthew J. Glazer ’06 and Vice-President Clay T. Capp ’06 came to cast votes against the proposal.

Although a simple majority was previously required to amend the UC’s bylaws, UC President John S. Haddock ’07 ruled that a constitutional amendment that had passed earlier in the evening raised the threshold to two-thirds.

Many council members attempted to overrule his interpretation, but Haddock refused to consider those motions, ruling them “dilatory,” made purely for the purpose of disrupting or delaying the meeting.

Angry UC members said Haddock was violating the UC’s constitution, which they said allows the council to overrule all decisions by the president.

They said they had not, in fact, changed the threshold and that another vote in the evening to keep the threshold for changing bylaws at a simple majority was evidence that the council did not mean to change the rules.

A group of upset council members, led by Matthew R. Greenfield ’08 and Ali A. Zaidi ’08, left the meeting in an attempt to block a vote on the change in the non-discrimination policy by ensuring that not enough representatives were in the room to permit a vote.

“We walked out because the decision was unfair of the chair, and he didn’t recognize a motion [to overrule him] that was clearly in order,” Zaidi said in an interview after the meeting.

The group returned to Emerson 105 after seeing they had not garnered enough support to stop the meeting.

But council member Tom Hadfield '08 said they haven’t given up their fight, and would challenge Haddock’s ruling.

By the end of the meeting, the dissenters seemed more upset with Haddock’s leadership than with the failure of their bill.

“Meetings like this is why everyone hates the UC,” Hadfield said. “They can descend into chaos very quickly.”

Former UC member and Haddock’s presidential campaign manager Josh Patashnik ’07 expressed disappointment with the way the meeting “kind of deteriorated into a free for all.”

“[Haddock] didn’t let them vote to challenge his interpretation, and I think that was wrong,” Patashnik said. “The constitution is pretty clear that any decision the president makes can be challenged by the UC.”

At the conclusion of last night’s session, the UC discussed three constitutional amendments that would change the council’s structure in response to the newly-created College Events Board.

Each proposal calls for the abolishment of the Campus Life Committee, which currently sponsors large-scale social events and organizes student services.

One proposal, which is supported by Haddock, would downsize the UC into two committees, from its current three. Another suggests dividing the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) into two separate committees for academic and House-life student advocacy.

Hadfield said that a consensus was emerging for an Outreach and Services Committee, which would meet with House Committees and send out e-mails over House lists.

“My sense is the majority of the Council favor creating a committee to improve communication with the student body,” Hadfield said.

In an informal poll conducted at the end of last night’s meeting, when asked to choose among the three options, 22 council members voted for the Outreach and Services Committee as their first choice, while nine wanted to downsize the UC to two committees, and seven hoped to divide the SAC in half, according to the Republican blog, redivy.org.

But in an interview Haddock insisted that the “straw poll” was aimed at gauging preliminary opinions, and that the preferences expressed at last night’s meeting would not determine the council’s final decision.

“Any sort of discussions that happened tonight, including straw polls, have no bearing on what the council will be deciding,” Haddock said.

—Staff writer Rachel L. Pollack can be reached at rpollack@fas.harvard.edu.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags