In its inaugural meeting of the school year, the Undergraduate Council voted yesterday to establish a Budget Cuts Task Force, which the Council hopes will serve as a “centralized mechanism” for communication between students and the administration regarding budget cuts.
The ad hoc task force is charged with “coordinating all of the UC’s work as it relates to the budget cuts,” including advocacy for revisions to proposed cuts, recommendations for future cuts, solicitation of student feedback, and expression of student ideas and concerns, according to the legislation.
The task force is expected to work closely with the student life and College academics ad hoc working groups, which were commissioned in May by Dean of the Faculty Michael D. Smith to make recommendations on budget cuts to the administration.
“It’s really important that we have centralized mechanisms for us to communicate with the working groups,” Andrea R. Flores ’10, UC president and one of the co-sponsors of the legislation, said during the meeting.
“[Budget cut discussions] are going on in all dining rooms, all dorm rooms, in all UC committees,” said Mather representative and legislation co-sponsor Eric N. Hysen ’11. “The task force’s role is making sure all of those conversations are going towards a productive end.”
The ad hoc task force will be comprised of at least 5 UC members, who will be selected in an application process at the discretion of the UC Executive Board, though meetings will be open to all students.
Flores and Vice President Kia J. McLeod ’10 emphasized that student commitment and proper representation of all the UC committees would be important factors in selecting the members.
Although specifics of the task force’s operations have yet to be decided, Hysen said it is likely to be one of the most active divisions of the UC this semester.
“Our goal is to have [the task force] up and running very quickly,” he said.
The Council also passed legislation supporting the administration’s decision to consider reforms to the Administrative Board.
Based on the recommendations of a faculty review committee of the Ad Board, commissioned last year at the suggestion of the UC, Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds announced several major Ad Board reforms at a Faculty meeting in May.
One reform reduced the size of the audience that students face in Ad Board hearings from 35 administration and faculty members to a smaller sub-committee. Students will also have greater flexibility if they wish to select an advisor other than their resident dean.
Another reform that will be considered by the Faculty this semester will broaden the range of possible sanctions for first-time academic dishonesty.
“The Ad Board hasn’t been changed in over a century,” said Hysen, who co-sponsored the legislation. “This is one of the more significant things the administration has done.”
“We should commend the administration when it does really good things for student life,” Flores said.
—Staff writer Melody Y. Hu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.