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Students will have the opportunity to vote on eight proposed amendments to the Harvard Undergraduate Association’s constitution during the body’s elections this weekend.
The eight amendments include proposals to push back the election timeline, rename the co-presidency, and restructure the body’s teams. The spring election will mark the first time undergraduates have voted on amendments to the constitution of the newly-formed HUA.
Because the Association is not a legislative body, amendments should be “initiated rarely,” according to the HUA’s constitution. Amendment processes can start with a petition signed by at least 5 percent of College students or by a unanimous vote of the HUA executive team.
Over winter break, the HUA convened a working group that developed recommendations for the constitutional amendments, according to documents sent to undergraduates this month.
A proposed amendment can only be approved by a two-thirds majority of voters, according to the HUA’s constitution.
Voting on HUA officers, co-presidents, and constitutional amendments is set to commence on Feb. 17 and conclude at midnight on Feb. 19.
Here is The Crimson’s guide to the HUA’s proposed amendments to its constitution:
The first change proposes adding a new clause that formally recognizes that the HUA is run in accordance with the bylaws, which support the constitution and operations of the body.
“The Bylaws may not contradict the Constitution, only supplement it,” a description of the first proposal reads. “The Bylaws may be updated with a vote of the Executive team, requiring all but one member voting in favor.”
The second proposal which students will vote on would divide the Well-Being Team into two separate teams, the Well-Being Team and the Inclusion Team.
The Well-Being Team would be responsible for “helping students navigate resources on Harvard’s campus regarding emotional, mental, and physical health,” including working with Counseling and Mental Health Services and Harvard University Health Services.
Several of this year’s HUA presidential candidates have supported improving mental health resources for students.
The Inclusion Team would focus on identity-related resources, working with the Office for Gender Equity; the Office for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; the Harvard Foundation; and the Accessible Education Office.
The HUA allowed candidates to run for the inclusion officer position this election, noting that if the proposal is not passed, the role will not be instated.
Next, students will have the chance to vote on the creation of a First-Year Team led by the next pair of co-presidents.
The team would be composed entirely of freshmen — except for the co-presidents — and gather information on topics including freshman seminars, pre-orientation programs, and comp processes for joining extracurricular clubs. The group would also aim to educate freshmen about the HUA and its resources.
The fourth proposal would modify the HUA constitution to add a co-treasurer to the Finance Team, which administers funding for student organizations.
Co-treasurers would not be permitted to run on the same ticket, and the winners would be the two candidates who receive the most votes.
Another proposal would push back the timing of the HUA’s spring elections for officer and co-presidency positions. In the proposed timeline, voting will be held two weeks after the end of spring break. Under the current constitution, elections are held in the third week of the spring semester.
In addition, officer terms would begin and end on April 20, with a shadowing period for incoming officers to learn from their predecessors.
The sixth proposed amendment would specify that a referendum can only occur in the middle of the fall semester. The language would clarify that a constitutional referendum process can only occur once per semester.
The HUA solicited votes in the fall for what would have been its first-ever referendum — which included three provisions to change the Association’s bylaws and constitution — but the results were voided after a misunderstanding with the Dean of Students Office.
The next amendment would remove language that provisions for special event grants and explains the timeline for grants.
For semesterly budget requests, the amendment would remove language around when requests are due and approved, and for monthly processes, it would remove language indicating that applications are reviewed by the end of each month.
The amendment would also completely remove the section on post-grant evaluation for special event grants.
The final amendment would rename the current title for the body’s leaders, replacing every occurrence of “co-president” with “co-coordinator” in the HUA’s constitution.
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