UCS may abolish class reps

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Undergraduate Council of Students could be reformed through a student body referendum in next month’s election, Clay Wertheimer ’10, at-large representative and chair of the UCS Assessment Task Force, announced at the council’s general body meeting Wednesday evening.

The proposal, which came out of the task force’s final report, would abolish class representatives and allow any interested student to join UCS after obtaining between 50 and 200 signatures and attending two body meetings.

The task force was comprised of Wertheimer, At-Large Representative and Herald opinions columnist Tyler Rosenbaum ’11, Associate Member Jerry Cedrone ’11, Julie Soic ’08 and Ben Struhl ’09, who lost a September election to an at-large seat after running on a platform of reforming student government.

Including more people in UCS would allow more students who want to work to improve UCS and the University to participate, Wertheimer said.

“I think (the proposal) has a lot of potential” to make UCS more transparent and open, Wertheimer told The Herald, adding that it has broad support from UCS members.

The proposal would include a section to punish members who do not attend meetings by suspending voting rights after one unexcused absence and expelling members for the balance of the semester after three absences. It would also maintain the current elected structure of the executive board.

Treasurer Jose Vasconez ’10 suggested simply expanding UCS to include more at-large representatives if the task force wanted to allow increased participation. At-large representatives are chosen by UCS members. Rosenbaum responded that the proposed system would prevent UCS from “futilely searching” for members.

The proposal will be included as a question in next month’s UCS election, Student Activities Chair Drew Madden ’10 told The Herald.

The task force’s report includes other suggestions to improve UCS’ efficacy, such as requesting a written response from the University to UCS resolutions.

UCS also voted to create the Brown University Activities Council, a group that would allow Category III student groups to petition UCS, the Undergraduate Finance Board and the University for changes that affect all student groups.

Each Category III group will send a representative to a general meeting once per semester to elect an executive council that could meet weekly or biweekly, Madden said. The council could identify common problems between groups and recommend changes to the activities code, Madden added.

The council could appoint members to UFB as well, just as UCS does, Madden said.

The council would help give student activities an increased “voice” in student government, he added.

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