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UC Pushes For FAS Free Speech Rules Review, Funds Late-Night Transportation Program

The Undergraduate Council meets on the 10th floor of the Smith Campus Center.
The Undergraduate Council meets on the 10th floor of the Smith Campus Center. By Lucas J. Walsh
By Mayesha R. Soshi and Lucas J. Walsh, Crimson Staff Writers

The Undergraduate Council passed legislation to establish a social inclusion grant for College students, propose that faculty review Harvard’s guidelines on free speech, and to fund a late-night transportation program at a meeting on Sunday evening.

The first act revives a fund made available by the UC twice in the past, which students can use to host social events.

According to the resolution, the initiative was popular in its past iterations.

“The Social Inclusion Grant idea was already run twice, built off of desires voiced by groups of students looking for support to throw social events” the act reads. “There are huge gaps on campus for students to engage in social life and open spaces are far and too few, especially following COVID-19.”

The program puts aside $6,000 from UC funds to be dispersed over the course of eight weeks, with each week having up to $750 set aside for events.

The grants will be accessible to all students at the College. Each week, the UC will fund one small event of fewer than 50 people and one large event of greater than 50 people, per the legislation.

Application cycles for the grant will close each Sunday at 6 p.m., with priority given to events that would not have occurred without the funding, the guidelines read.

The legislation was sponsored by UC President Noah A. Harris ’22, Vice President Jenny Y. Gan ’22, Pforzheimer House Representative Lisa R. Mathew ’24, and Lowell House Representative David Y. Zhang, and was passed by unanimous consent.

The second act proposes that the Faculty of Arts and Sciences review and update the FAS’s Free Speech Guidelines, which were established in 1990.

“The Free Speech Guidelines are a critical component of creating what Dean Gay described in Harvard’s new, anti-racist agenda as an ‘inclusive scholarly community,’” the act reads.

According to the act, there have been numerous instances in the past year that involved the Free Speech Guidelines, and it is likely that Harvard will continue to encounter such situations.

The UC recommended that the faculty establish a review committee that is equally split between undergraduates and faculty members.

“The Undergraduate Council will not advocate for specific changes to the Freedom of Speech Guidelines without direct input from the student body,” the legislation reads.

The Council would communicate the opinions of the student body to the review committee through future referendums and policy recommendations, the UC act added.

The act was sponsored by Lowell House Representative LyLena D. Estabine ’24 and was passed by unanimous consent.

The UC also passed a third piece of legislation to fund a late-night transportation program in partnership with Lyft.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public transportation closes early, is potentially COVID-19 unsafe, and the importance of efficient travel (i.e. from the Quad to the River, to the SEC, etc.), especially as it gets colder, cannot be understated,” the legislation reads.

The program will lottery up to 500 students to receive up to $15 in ride credits, with priority going to those who are Student Events Fund-eligible.

The legislation was also sponsored by Harris and Gan, and passed by unanimous consent.

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

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

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