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UC Votes to Provide Stipend to Future Council Leaders

Undergraduate Council President Shaiba Rather ’17 and Vice President Danny V. Banks ’17 preside over Monday night’s general meeting in Harvard Hall. A proposal to establish a $1,500 yearly stipend for both positions is currently being explored.
Undergraduate Council President Shaiba Rather ’17 and Vice President Danny V. Banks ’17 preside over Monday night’s general meeting in Harvard Hall. A proposal to establish a $1,500 yearly stipend for both positions is currently being explored.
By Brian P. Yu, Crimson Staff Writer

Future Undergraduate Council presidents and vice presidents may be eligible to receive a stipend of up to $1,500, thanks to a new program designed to lower financial barriers for students seeking leadership positions on the Council.

Undergraduate Council President Shaiba Rather ’17 and Vice President Danny V. Banks ’17 preside over Monday night’s general meeting in Harvard Hall. A proposal to establish a $1,500 yearly stipend for both positions is currently being explored.
Undergraduate Council President Shaiba Rather ’17 and Vice President Danny V. Banks ’17 preside over Monday night’s general meeting in Harvard Hall. A proposal to establish a $1,500 yearly stipend for both positions is currently being explored. By Thomas W. Franck

The UC-sponsored pilot program, which received overwhelming support at the UC’s Monday meeting, will allocate $6,000 from last academic year’s unused student term bill funds. The program will offer the UC president and vice president $1,000 per year if they are on financial aid and $1,500 each if they are in the College’s “high financial aid bracket”— defined as those who pay between 0 and 10 percent of annual tuition.

The stipend will apply beginning with next year’s UC leaders, if they meet the financial aid requirements of the program. Students interested in running for UC president and vice president have until the end of October to declare their candidacy.

UC President Shaiba Rather ’17, Vice President Daniel V. Banks ’17, and Treasurer Samarth Gupta ’18 introduced the initiative, called “The Undergraduate Council Presidential and Vice Presidential Stipend Program,” before the Council Monday.

Rather and Banks have been working on the initiative since at least the beginning of the semester, and presented the idea in their semesterly meeting with University President Drew G. Faust last week.

“The intent of this program is… to make sure that students from all socioeconomic backgrounds have a chance to be in these leadership roles and not have to worry about having a term-time job,” Rather said.

“We feel that compensation should be offered so that these two positions can be offered to people of greater socioeconomic diversity,” she added.

Quincy House representative Olu Oisaghie ’19 proposed an amendment that would eliminate the financial aid condition from the program and provide a $1,500 stipend to all UC leaders regardless of their financial aid status. The Council debated the amendment extensively, but ultimately voted against it.

Eliot House representative Taylor D. Marquis ’18 proposed another amendment to the program that would recommend future Councils replenish the fund to the original $6,000 every two years. The Council voted in favor of the amendment.

Many representatives praised the legislation.

“This is meant to be an equalizing mechanism,” UC Education Committee Vice Chair Eduardo A. Gonzalez ’18 said. “Right now running for UC president requires a lot of thought. One thing it shouldn't require thinking about is whether or not you can do it financially.”

The legislation passed with all but two representatives voting in favor. UC Education Committee Chair Scott Ely ’18 abstained from voting, and Lowell House representative Benjamin F. Molin ’18 voted against the policy.

Molin objected to the use of student funds to finance the program. The UC’s money comes from a $75 Student Activities Fee that most students pay at the beginning of the academic year.

“This is being funded through money that should be allocated to all students, and should be for events that every student can go to,” Molin said.

—Staff writer Brian P. Yu can be reached at brian.yu@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianyu28.

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