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UC Announces Budget for 2020-21 Academic Year, Passes Legislation Calling for University Holiday on Election Day

Before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered in-person operations, Harvard's Undergraduate Council met in the Smith Campus Center's Isaacson Room.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered in-person operations, Harvard's Undergraduate Council met in the Smith Campus Center's Isaacson Room. By Aiyana G. White
By Hannah J. Martinez, Crimson Staff Writer

The Undergraduate Council announced its budget for the 2020-21 academic year, totaling $500,000, in a general meeting Sunday.

The money will go to funding club events and activities throughout the year as well as the individual initiatives run by the Council.

“It was a very good week for the treasury,” Council Treasurer and Adams House representative Noah A. Harris ’22 said during the meeting. “We got our budget and it is 500,000 dollars, when we expected it to be about half that.”

The Crimson previously reported that an internal email from the UC Finance Committee warned the Council’s budget may be potentially cut in half this year due to an unprecedented number of College students who waived the Student Activities Fee.

The fee, which is $200, pays for multiple student organizations, including the Council.

“That’s huge for us going forward, to be able to function at full capacity — that’s going to be great,” Harris said.

The Council also considered legislation to try to encourage students to vote in this year’s presidential election by making Election Day a University holiday.

The legislation is sponsored by Currier House representative Jack M. Swanson ’22, Adams House representative Esther J. Xiang ’23, Leverett House representative John E. “Jake” Leary III ’22, Kirkland House representative Angus W. Woods ’21, Cabot House representative Brooke L. Livingston ’23, and Elm Yard representative Emily M. “Emmy” Cho ’24, a Crimson News comper.

The legislation called for the passing of an official UC statement and petition asking that Election Day be made a University holiday and publicizing the statement throughout the student body.

“The 2020 election is one of unprecedented importance. Yet, folks all across the United States report difficulty voting, volunteering and getting engaged because of their jobs or school. Young people in particular vote at alarmingly low rates,” the legislation read.

The legislation also cited peer institutions, such as Brown University, that have designated Election Day as a University holiday.

In 2016, Harvard College had a 57.8 percent voter turnout rate. In recent months, organizations such as the Harvard Votes Challenge have aimed to get turnout rate to 100 percent.

“As citizens, no single action is more important than exercising our right to vote,” the legislation read. “We call on Harvard to live up to their mission and let its students, faculty and staff participate in this critical election.”

It was passed by a vote of 37-0-0.

“This is essentially calling for the UC to publicize via tier 1 that we sign a petition to make election a Harvard University holiday,” Cho said.

— Staff Writer Hannah J. Martinez can be contacted at hannah.martinez@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @martinezhannahj.

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