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UC Establishes New Caucuses, Pilots “Dean’s Dinners” Program

The Harvard Undergraduate Council meets in the Isaacson Room of the Smith Campus Center.
The Harvard Undergraduate Council meets in the Isaacson Room of the Smith Campus Center. By Aiyana G. White
By Mayesha R. Soshi and Lucas J. Walsh, Crimson Staff Writers

The Harvard Undergraduate Council voted to establish caucuses for Afro-Latinx and Indigeneous students and to pilot a new “Dean’s Dinners” program with Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair.

The initiative to create the two new caucuses consists of two separate pieces of legislation, one per caucus. The caucus system aims to strengthen the UC’s connections with affinity groups on campus.

The two new caucuses will join existing Black, Latinx, Asian-American, and First-Generation Low-Income Caucuses and represent groups that have been underrepresented in society, both within and outside Harvard, according to the legislation.

Caucuses can propose legislation regarding event publicity or UC issue statements.

“As the inheritors and torchbearers of deep-rooted and vulnerable ways of life, the Afro-Latinx community possesses a compelling interest in enhanced representation,” one of the UC acts reads. Another act contains the same statement for Indigeneous students.

The legislation also states that recognizing Afro-Latinx and Indigeneous students on campus is important, as the UC aims to recognize diverse voices.

The act to establish an Afro-Latinx caucus was sponsored by Maple Yard Representative Jada Pierre ’25. The act to create an Indigeneous caucus was sponsored by Dunster House Representative Samuel H. Taylor ’24, Ivy Yard Representative Sebastian Ramírez Feune ’25, and Cabot House Representative Damien Z. Chang ’24. Both were passed by unanimous consent.

The initiative to pilot a “Dean’s Dinner” program will allow a randomly selected group of undergraduates to dine at O’Dair’s house this fall.

“Bringing together a randomly selected group of undergraduates for dinner could foster unexpected, diverse conversations and friendships,” the legislation reads.

The program is inspired by Amherst College’s Pindar Field dinner series, which stimulates “academic and cultural dialogue beyond the classroom environment” by inviting students from various majors to converse and dine together.

The UC allocated $1,200 to fund the pilot series of dinners this fall. The allocation allows five groups of 12 undergraduate students to participate in the program. The program will ask students who are selected for the program to confirm their attendance at the dinner.

The first dinner is projected to occur between Oct. 18 and Oct. 29, and others are planned for later in the semester.

The legislation was sponsored by Quincy House Representative Michael Y. Cheng ’22 and was adopted by unanimous consent.

If this program proves successful, the Dean of Students Office may attempt to institutionalize the program and provide funding for it in the future, according to the UC.

—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at lucas.walsh@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Mayesha R. Soshi can be reached at mayesha.soshi@thecrimson.com.

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