Referenda attempting to restrict undergraduate participation in all-male final clubs and looking to ban student breakfast meetings failed to make the ballot for the Undergraduate Council elections next week.
Only one of this year’s three non-UC sponsored referenda, asking students if Harvard should open up meetings of its sexual assault policy task force to all interested students, gathered more than the required 670 signatures to be placed on the ballot.
The question was submitted by Julia R. Geiger ’16 on behalf of advocacy group Our Harvard Can Do Better. In a previous interview with The Crimson, Geiger said that currently, very few students have a role in the activity of the policy task force, and that entirely student task forces are given little agency to change policy.
The final club referendum gathered 283 signatures, while the breakfast meeting question gathered only 115.
Alongside Our Harvard Can Do Better’s referendum question, a proposal asking students whether or not Pusey Library should be turned into a freshman-oriented social space will also be voted on next week. At the UC’s general meeting on Nov. 1, representatives voted with over two-thirds in favor to support the referendum, therefore bypassing the signature requirement.
According to the Council’s Rules Committee Chair Brett M. Biebelberg ’16, the signature requirement for referenda, which equals roughly 10 percent of the student body, is high because ample student interest in a proposal needs to be demonstrated before it is brought before the student body at large during the presidential election.
During last year’s election, only one signature-requiring referendum made it to the ballot. The proposal, which attempted to limit section sizes to twelve students, was brought before the UC to eliminate the need to gather signatures, only to be voted down by the Council.
—Staff writer Jalin P. Cunningham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @JalinCunningham.
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Voting on the 2017 Undergraduate Council ReferendaStudents must think critically in contemplating the merits of the four referenda that received the necessary 650 signatures to be voted on.