The Undergraduate Council passed legislation to issue a statement against Harvard’s decision to hold a class preview period instead of the traditional shopping week and establish an advocacy fund at its Sunday meeting.
The first bill provided for the publication of a statement against the course preview period announced by Harvard in a recent email. The UC said it will send a statement to University President Lawrence S. Bacow, Dean of Rakesh Khurana College, Dean of Undergraduate Education Amanda Claybaugh and the 50 Directors of Concentration Departments of undergraduate on November 1.
The statement criticizes Harvard’s decision to cancel shopping week – the tradition that students can browse classes in person before enrolling – for the fourth semester in a row and replace it with a virtual class preview period which will run from January 14 to 20 and conflict with Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Harvard Registrar Mike Burke announced in an October 13 email to undergraduates that the Faculty of Arts and Science will be running an early registration schedule for the spring semester instead of the shopping week. In the email, Burke cited the coronavirus and Harvard’s efforts to protect the health of affiliates, especially when students and faculty return to campus after winter break.
“Placing the course preview period on the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend is part of Harvard’s larger model of failing to deliver on its stated commitment to racial justice,” the statement said.
The statement also addresses Harvard’s failure to meet student demands despite an overwhelming majority of undergraduates voting to reinstate shopping week.
âHarvard actions suggest they would rather ignore the 96.5% of college students who voted for the Safe Restoration of Shopping Week in a referendum in September, rather than consulting with students on the enrolling in the courses in an open, public and meaningful process, “the statement said.
Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane wrote in an email that the college will not be hosting any events on Martin Luther King’s Day and maintained that undergraduates have given their thoughts on the preview period of the Classes.
âWith regard to concerns related to the registration process for the spring semester, the Order has gone through the [Standing Committee on Undergraduate Educational Policy], which represents the voices of students and is not a ‘hidden committee’, âDane wrote.
The statement calls into question Harvard’s decision to cancel shopping week in order to maintain Covid-19 guidelines because Harvard has “not yet identified a case of transmission of Covid-19 in a classroom.” It then offers alternative contact tracing solutions to ensure the safety of Harvard Affiliates during a period of in-person purchase.
Additionally, the statement calls on Harvard to cancel the course preview period to instead host public forums for students to voice their opinions and provide a timeline for the re-establishment of shopping week.
The legislation was sponsored by 13 UC representatives and passed by a 44-0-0 vote.
The second law – one of the first put in place by the new committee on diversity, equity and inclusion – establishes a fund for student advocacy efforts on campus.
âSupport students in their ability to protest, demonstrate and advocate for causes that they believe fall within the purview of the Undergraduate Student Council,â the legislation says.
The law sets aside a total of $ 3,000 to be given to individual students or groups of students in the form of grants of up to $ 300. These grants will aid advocacy efforts by subsidizing the cost of physical items, travel, food and the start of the project, the law says.
In the event that student requests exceed what UC can provide, their funding will be granted on a selective basis based on the “compelling interests” of financial need, necessity of articles, and student participation.
The legislation does not specify which standards will dictate the decision-making process. He indicated that the grant application will be supervised by the DCI committee.
The sponsors of the bill were UC President Noah A. Harris ’22, Vice President Jenny Y. Gan ’22, Treasurer Kimani E. Panthier ’24, Adams House Representative Tarina K. Ahuja ’24 and Maple Yard Rep Laila A. Nasher ’25.
– Editor Mayesha R. Soshi can be contacted at [email protected]
âEditor-in-Chief Lucas J. Walsh can be contacted at [email protected]