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Undergraduate Council representatives detailed plans at their weekly meeting Sunday to meet with University President Drew G. Faust to request an additional $250,000 in funding.
Members also passed legislation regarding the group’s attendance policy, the University’s investment practices, and Operation Ghost Protocol, the Council’s new student outreach effort.
Budget concerns are not foreign to the UC. Despite sustained efforts in recent years to increase UC funding by raising the student fee on the term bill, the Council’s budget has not been augmented since 2006, said UC Vice President Sietse K. Goffard '15. Last year, in face of increased demand for funding and a stagnant budget, the UC made funding cuts that resulted in decreased funding for club sports.
The Council’s annual budget of less than $500,000 appears especially insufficient when compared to the multi-million dollar budgets of other colleges’ student governments, UC President Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15 said.
Mayopoulos announced at the meeting that UC leaders will meet with Faust Feb. 20 to seek funding to the sum of a quarter of a million dollars and discuss other UC objectives.
In an interview after the meeting, Mayopoulos said that an increase in UC funding will have a positive impact on student life.
"We're making it possible that you don't have to run a small business along with running a club," he said.
"Students deserve what they were promised when they applied to this school,” he said. “If you're not part of [an organization] that has its own endowment because it's been around for hundreds of years—if you're trying to do something...that you really care about and you can’t pay for it, that's insulting."
Mayopoulos said that he is confident that if students publicly convey their concerns, the undergraduate body would likely be able to acquire the funds, whether via a term bill increase or direct funding from the University.
Still, Goffard and Mayopoulos said that while they will request $250,000, they would be willing to accept a lower amount if necessary.
Following the budget discussion, the UC shifted focus to voting on two new laws and a revision to a bylaw.
The Ghost Protocol Act, which mandates that student representatives be in dining halls at certain times to answer questions and distribute surveys, passed with unanimous support.
UC members also voted in favor of an update to their attendance policy bylaws in an effort to increase the accountability of UC representatives. Previous rules decreed that a student would be expelled from the Council after three absences from general or committee meetings.
“Our old policy almost assumed people were guilty until proven innocent,” said Kevin H. Xiong ’17, Rules Committee chair.
Under the new provisions, a Council member who has accrued three or more absences from general or committee meetings, or Ghost Protocol meals, will be held under review instead of being automatically expelled.
The UC then passed legislation relating to the University’s investment practices.
The Responsible Ownership Policy Endorsement Act, presented and written in part by the Responsible Investment At Harvard Coalition, advocates that the University and the Harvard Management Company, which manages Harvard’s endowment, ensure that the companies in which they hold a controlling stake abide by specified fair labor regulations.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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