Voith/Gadgil (Question 2)

Below is the Voith/Gadgil ticket’s response to question 2:

The UC must not spend its time debating political resolutions that have little relevance to the every day lives of students at Harvard. We must make the Council pertinent to life at Harvard and focus our attention on issues that have an immediate effect on the community in which we live. As to political involvement and the “exchange of ideas” on the UC, we feel that the words “Harvard Undergraduate Council” imply a limitation of the UC’s business to Harvard. We oppose wasting the Council’s time with pointless resolutions on the “cause-of-the-week,” and will limit the Council to business that concerns Harvard University and its interests.

There are, however, topics with political undertones that are relevant to student life at Harvard. The UC is in a position to address issues that directly affect the operations of the Harvard community. For instance, we supported the recent bill in support of custodial workers at Harvard because we agreed that sound labor-management relations are critical in maintaining the health of a business or a large university like Harvard. The workers play a vital role on the operation of the school, and therefore it is within the UC’s purview to address these problems. While the UC’s consideration of the worker’s bill was appropriate, the Council’s communication with the students was far from desirable. (more in expanded post)

As we have emphasized numerous times, the UC needs to consult the student body when making decisions. The UC should determine where the campus stands on issues before voting on resolutions. The UC should also help student groups voice their concerns to administrators. In seeking endorsements, we have consistently stated that the UC should do 3 things:

1. LISTEN TO YOU: When an issue with political undertones comes before the UC,
we must take the time to talk to as many students as possible about their thoughts. We will sponsor town hall meetings to discuss UC issues and will hold weekly Presidential and Vice Presidential office hours with students. We will make the UC website an easier medium for students to voice their ideas and opinions. Additionally, we will hold UC Representatives accountable. It has long been official UC policy that delegations must table weekly in their dining halls and prepare a weekly e-mail to their open list. Unfortunately, this policy has not been as rigorously enforced as it ought to be.

2. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: If students want to contact administrators about
political issues, the UC should provide the information and resources to allow them to find the right people. The UC can bridge the gap between students and the administration and make it easier for students to voice their concerns. We will appoint two people on the UC to serve as resources to student groups . We will listen to the issues of student groups and help them coordinate with the Dean’s Office to find the right administrators to address them. Our resources and connections with the administration should be used to provide student groups with contextual inside information.

3. FACILITATE DISCUSSION: It is important that the UC play a facilitating role
in bringing student groups together in campus wide forums to discuss important issues. While the UC should not spend its time debating political resolutions, it should work to bring students together to talk about issues ranging from race, politics, gender, etc.

While the UC should be focused solely on issues facing the undergraduate community, it should provide should “serve as a campus-wide forum for the expression and exchange of student ideas and opinions.” The UC is an inherently politically charged body, and it should actively limit its scope to issues that directly impact the operation of this community.

Please feel free to comment, question, discuss etc. Please limit your posts to 200 words each, though, and remember CC’s policy on anonymous comments related to the UC campaigns.


One response to “Voith/Gadgil (Question 2)

  1. I’m unclear about what seperates your votes for labor from, say, a vote calling on the administration to divest from PetroChina, or a bill calling on the administration to limit its impact on low-income communities while expanding into Allston, or a bill decrying Larry Summers from the disrespect he showed toward Harvard’s women…

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