May 25, 2001

College Council adds 10 members, changes election method

The College Council, in its last meeting of the year, voted last night to increase its size by 10 members. After much debate about whether representatives should be chosen by dorm or by class, the Council decided to modify the current system, in which the representatives are elected by class.

Currently, there are four first- and second-years, three third- and fourth-years, and one “nth" year students sitting on the 15-member body. The Council decided to keep this setup, but to also add ten more members voted for by the student body at-large.

John Cottrell, the Student Government webmaster, submitted a proposal to reform the College Council, which included maintaining the current 15 members but also adding 15 representatives, each chosen from a different dorm. The larger dorms, like Shoreland and Max Palevsky, would have more representatives proportional to the number of students living in the dorms.

“I think the biggest problem, besides the fact that people won with five votes, is that you don't have a clear constituency," Cottrell said.

He felt that his plan was a good compromise because it fused both representation by class and by dorm. The dorm representatives would be active College Council members and would be required to co-chair a committee specific to the College. These representatives would be closer to their constituencies. The class representatives would sit on the Assembly and would sit on Joint Council Committees with graduate students.

“I don't think we should throw this out after one year. To just say we don't identify with class and throw out this setup — I think that's a bit premature," Cottrell said.

All but one of the Council members agreed that the body needed to be enlarged, but they differed on the dorm or class representation.

“There are well-defined constituencies already built into the system. Houses are represented through IHC. There should be some assembly on campus that just represents College students," said Jen Bird, director of student activities.

The Council members asked president-elect Ben Aderson to pick Executive Committee members from among them. They felt that this year's Executive Committee chairs, which were appointed by the president, did not communicate sufficiently with them.

“If we draw ExCom members from the College Council, then it gives Council members something to do because it doesn't seem like we're doing anything now. The only stuff I've really done this year was through the Spirit Committee," said Abraham Drucker, a fifth-year representative.

Because of the lengthy debate over the issue, the Council members decided to leave it up to Aderson to work out the logistics, such as how to regulate the election of these new members.