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Harvard College students voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum on shopping week and elected 48 students to the Undergraduate Council with high voter turnout, the UC Election Commission announced Friday afternoon.
Out of a total of 3,167 votes on a referendum to “save shopping week,” 96.46 percent of students voted in favor, with the remaining 3.54 percent voting against it. The referendum comes as more than 1,300 people have signed a petition urging Harvard to restore the tradition after three semesters of virtual early course registration, while an FAS panel also voted this week on a proposal to eliminate spring 2022 shopping week over public health concerns.
FAS spokesperson Rachael Dane declined to comment on the referendum. She wrote in an emailed statement, however, that the UC’s characterization of the FAS panel’s shopping week vote as a “faculty” vote is incorrect.
“First, it is important to know that students were part of the discussion and part of the vote by the EPC. The UC’s characterization of this as a faculty vote is incorrect,” Dane said. “Second, preparing for course registration takes roughly four months. The vote and action is needed now to plan.”
In addition to the referendum, students also cast votes for their respective UC representatives, filling 48 seats on the 40th Council. The UC added three seats this year with the addition of the fifth freshmen yard, Maple Yard, to accommodate the largest freshman class in College history.
This year's election saw high voter participation; about twice as many students voted this year compared to last year, when the UC's election saw just over 1,500 students cast ballots — roughly a quarter of the student body.
A total of 117 undergraduates ran for election, marking an increase from last year’s 88 candidates. Freshmen made up more than half of the candidates at 75 while 42 upperclassmen entered the race, matching trends from previous years.
Freshmen also had the highest voter turnout, with roughly 42 percent of all votes coming from the freshman class and roughly 58 percent coming from the three other classes. Historically, freshmen have always had the highest turnout rate in UC elections.
Elm Yard had the most competitive election this year with 20 students running for three seats, followed by Crimson Yard’s 19 candidates.
Eliot, Cabot, Winthrop, and Lowell Houses had the least competitive elections; candidates from those Houses ran in uncontested elections.
The full list of newly elected representatives is as follows:
Sheila De La Cruz
Sam (Sam'aan) Saba
Travis Allen Johnson
Sebastian Ramírez Fuene
—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Mayesha R. Soshi can be reached at email@example.com.
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