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UCS votes to delay first year representatives’ election

Council also voted not to additional institute representatives roles for each class year

The Undergraduate Council of Students voted on two constitutional amendments related to elections code updates and grade representatives at its general body meeting Wednesday. The Council also proposed an additional amendment to be voted on at its next general body meeting.

The first amendment changes the Council’s election code to accommodate challenges imposed by the pandemic, and the second creates elected class year UCS representative positions, modeled after the existing first year representative roles. Both amendments were originally proposed at the Council’s Sept. 30 meeting.

Election Chair Ophelia Duchesne-Malone ’22 presented the election code amendment for voting, which amended the UCS constitution to allow for the delay of first year representative elections due to the extenuating circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the amendment text. Additionally, the amendment waives the 200 signature requirement for first year representative candidates.

First years “are not really on campus, so there's not a lot of opportunities for them to meet a lot of people and to collect signatures, and we don't want that to be a barrier of entry to UCS or the first year rep position,” Duchesne-Malone said.

The election code amendment passed unanimously when put to a virtual vote via Google form.

Chief of Staff Sam Caplan ’22 presented the class representatives amendment, which called for the establishment of six new positions on the Council, with two representatives each assigned to the sophomore, junior and senior classes. 

“The intention of these positions is to enable UCS to better represent each individual class year, recognizing that each class year has different problems, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, where one’s class year significantly impacts the relationship they have with the university in a given semester,” according to the amendment text.

“Advocacy requires a lot more outreach than UCS is typically outfitted for, and we're hoping that these roles will supplement our ability to do outreach,” Caplan said, detailing the shift from UCS’ historical role communicating mostly with the University’s administration toward more student advocacy-oriented goals.

Additionally, the Council is mostly made up of “a lot of first years and a lot of sophomores,” Caplan said.

When discussing the amendment, some general body members questioned the need for additional representatives and the difference between the roles of the proposed positions and existing general body members. Caplan said that the positions could help UCS’ recent troubles with retention of general body members throughout the academic year and ensure that the number of members on the council remains high enough to effectively engage with the administration and advocate for student needs.

The class representatives amendment did not pass when put to a vote via Google form.

Student Activities Chair Claire Brown ’22 presented a proposed amendment, which would require all student groups to include an anti-discrimination statement in their bylaws, as well as mandating an anti-discrimination clause in UCS’ own bylaws.

The student group portion of the amendment compels groups to “be committed to fostering an inclusive, anti-discriminatory environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity, regardless of any identities they may hold,” according to the amendment text.

Brown said she hopes the clause requirement will “educate student groups on what to do if they have instances of racism or discrimination” occur. The Council will vote on the amendment Wednesday, Oct. 14.


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