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UC Establishes New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Creates BlueBikes Subsidies

The Undergraduate Council met for the first time this semester Sunday.
The Undergraduate Council met for the first time this semester Sunday. By Lucas J. Walsh
By Mayesha R. Soshi and Lucas J. Walsh, Crimson Staff Writers

The 40th Harvard College Undergraduate Council convened for the first time Sunday to pass legislation to establish a new Select Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, fund a partnership with BlueBikes, and reintroduce its book fund.

The first legislative goal — establishing the Select Committee — involved two votes: one to introduce a constitutional amendment and the other to adjust the UC bylaws to make way for the new committee.

“There is a need for institutionalized equity and inclusion focuses in all committees considering the massive social action focus of student organizations across campus,” the amendment reads.

The amendment will add a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chair to the executive board, while the bylaws will grant voting power to the new role on the executive board.

Each standing committee will select a delegate to serve on the new committee alongside one to three additional nominated members from the UC. Like other UC committees, the new committee will rely on majority rule to determine actions it takes.

“The Committee shall spearhead initiatives to assess and further belonging and inclusion on Harvard’s campus and within the Council,” the amended bylaws read.

The constitutional amendment, which passed by a vote of 41-0-5, was sponsored by President Noah A. Harris ’22, Secretary Nicholas J. Brennan ’23, and Director of Belonging and Inclusion Tarina K. Ahuja ’24. Those UC members also sponsored the bylaws amendment.

The second legislation provides funding for undergraduates to obtain memberships to BlueBikes to ease commuting between the new Science and Engineering Complex, the Quad, and other parts of the campus.

The legislation has two main components: “Free BlueBike Day” and an annual membership. For the Free BlueBike Day, the UC has allocated $1,500 to provide free bikes to 300 students on October 9. As part of the initiative, the Harvard Transportation and Parking Department is covering half of the funding for the bikes.

The second part of the legislation is the annual subsidized BlueBikes membership that the UC is offering to 100 students. For this program, the UC has allocated $4,000 and will award the membership through a lottery system, giving priority to students who live relatively far from the Yard.

Students interested in either of these initiatives need to submit a form to be considered.

This legislation was sponsored by Harris and Vice President Jenny Y. Gan ’22.

The third piece of legislation establishes a book fund to reimburse students who have spent their own money to buy textbooks and other academic materials.

The book fund was first introduced last spring and received more than 1,000 applications from students.

The legislation will reimburse 100 students for up to $50 with a total allocation of $5,000 for the fund. If interest for the fund does not exceed the total allocated amount, students who have spent more than $50 on school materials will be reimbursed for that sum.

Students who are on financial aid will receive priority for the disbursement of the fund.

The legislation was also sponsored by Harris and Gan.

—Staff writer Mayesha R. Soshi can be reached at mayesha.soshi@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at lucas.walsh@thecrimson.com.

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