I feel obligated to blog about the debate about whether to raise the Activities Fee and make it mandatory. I am personally going to vote 'no' to both questions (although I doubt that my endorsement means anything to those Harvard students reading). The burden of proof is on those who seek to increase the size of the fee, and I feel that they have not met it (it was impossible to even consider the concept of making it mandatory, as the main argument for that position seemed to be, "Some people are not paying!" The fact that 92%, the vast majority, do pay, is never noted).
One of the major questions that the opposition to the increase was whether the Undergraduate Council (UC) would be able to properly manage their increased funds responsibly. Regardless of the fact that the majority (if not all) of the members of the UC are aspiring politicians (and this is Harvard, where ambition runs high), and therefore inherently inept at handling money of any kind, I have decided to look at an unlikely indicator of the UC's fiscal responsibility -- their website.
While it is laudable that the UC keeps to what should be a necessary governmental obligation by keeping minutes of their meetings, the two latest meetings, April 18 and April 25, have not been uploaded, keeping the populace ignorant of the UC's latest doings.
However, the doings of the UC do not lend themselves to an increase in the budget. While the money may go to fund the effects of resolutions like the Keg Return Service Act and the Boxes Act of 2004, the actual minutes show a council divided (cue dramatic music). From the April 7 meeting, which was supposed to end at 9:30:
EE moved to reconsider the vote to change the time at which to adjourn to 9:50. The motion to reconsider the time at which to adjourn passed by a vote of 23-14.
PK, noting that it was after 9:30, called for the orders of the day.
Matt set back his watch by 10 minutes to continue with the proceedings.
President's Business - Matt Mahan
1) Matt introduced his youngest sister.
2) Matt spoke about his spring break trip to Alabama to rebuild a black church through "Alternative Spring Breaks" at PBH.
3) Flowers will be sent to the student with meningitis on behalf of the Council.
4) Good job with Russell "Russ" Anello's email amendment. Good research was done. We could use a large increase, but baby steps good. Tonight's vote if amended as Russ wants, would send the smaller increase to referendum as Josh argued a few weeks ago.
5) Introduction of Rep. Pauline "Polly" Klyce, Lowell '06, a Social Studies concentrator from Tennessee.