URC elections ongoing, thanks to a maverick

Thursday, April 3, 2008

While his colleagues were talking, Ryan Lester ’11 was doing.

The appointments chair for the Undergraduate Council of Students took council members by surprise last night at the UCS general body meeting when he announced that elections for the vacant student seat on the University Resources Committee had begun Wednesday morning.

“I was just tired of hearing every side of the debate” over whether to hold an election for the seat, Lester told the visibly surprised council members.

Lester told The Herald that members should not have been surprised by an election – they had been talking about elections for a while.

“Their surprised looks weren’t because they didn’t know about it – it’s because they wanted to debate it more,” Lester said.

“They were just surprised that I actually sat down and did it.”

UCS President Michael Glassman ’09, the candidates and “all the people necessary for running the election” knew about this election already, Lester added.

“We’re very prepared,” he said.

Lester also told the council that he is beginning the process of filling student seats on University committees that will become vacant at the end of the year.

At the meeting, the council also decided to add a referendum for students to decide whether to abolish the Undergraduate Council of Students’ class representative position and ease the requirements to join the body.

The referendum, to be added to the ballot for the April 15 to 17 election, would alter the council’s constitution to eliminate class representatives, who are currently elected by the student body.

It would allow any undergraduate to become an at-large member by gathering signatures and attending two meetings.

The change was proposed by the UCS Assessment Task Force as part of its final report, which will be posted on the UCS Web site shortly, said At-Large Representative Clay Wertheimer ’10, the task force chair.

The council approved the referendum after debating whether to include parts of the proposal as a constitutional change or a change to the UCS code of operations, which is more easily changed, requiring only a council vote rather than a referendum to the student body.

UCS had to suspend its normal rules, which require the council to postpone voting on a proposal until the meeting after the proposal’s introduction, so that it could vote on approving the referendum well before this month’s election.

Wertheimer said he is optimistic the referendum will pass, adding that most students he talks to support opening UCS to more members.

“I’m pretty optimistic that we’re setting a really good foundation,” for next year’s UCS, he said.

Campaigning for the upcoming UCS election will begin Friday evening after a mandatory candidates’ meeting, Rakim Brooks ’09, Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee chair, announced at the meeting.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the Upper Blue Room.

At-Large Representative Michael MacCombie ’11 and Gregory Anderson ’10, a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, introduced a resolution to request that the University permit kegs at Class F parties.

Voting on the resolution was postponed.

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