DSO Appoints HUA Electoral Commission, Drawing Criticism from Former UC Leaders | News

The Office of the Dean of Students appointed an interim election commission to conduct the first Harvard Undergraduate Association elections in a selection process that some former UC members have called unconstitutional.

Although HUA’s constitution requires members of the electoral commission to be appointed by a majority vote of the incumbent UC executive council, some UC leaders say they were not consulted.

The HUA constitution outlines two procedural paths to form an interim election commission before the April 6 deadline.

The first path requires a majority vote of the incumbent UC officers – a group consisting of the President, Secretary, Treasurer and UC Committee Chairs.

In the event of a stalemate, the HUA constitution directs the Dean of the Student Council to select the committee.

It is this second option that the Dean of the Student Council, as well as UC President Emmett E. de Kanter ’24 and Vice President Christopher T. Cantwell ’22, relied on to justify their process.

“The Commission was chosen by myself and my colleague, JR Bagley, as representatives of the DSO, not the president and vice president,” said assistant dean of student engagement and leadership Kate T Colleran. “As the board is no longer operating at the capacity necessary to conduct a full vote on a tight deadline, we opted for the DSO option.”

de Kanter ’24 said the office of the Dean of Students made the selection in the interest of time.

“No specific emails were sent seeking comment,” de Kanter wrote in a statement to The Crimson. “Based on the tenor of Sunday’s meeting, we didn’t feel there was much interest in getting involved in non-UC related projects.”

Still, some UC leaders said they felt neglected and challenged the constitutionality of the selection process.

“We had never been contacted about this,” UC communications president Ethan C. Kelly ’25 said. “I just feel very left out, and I wish that had been included or kept up to date because there was no communication.”

UC rules chairman Samuel H. Taylor ’24 called the move an “arrogant approach.”

“It’s a constitution that the student body just signed, and they’re already doing whatever they want and totally ignoring what the rules say,” Taylor said in a written statement.

Former UC Kirkland House Rep. Ivor K. Zimmerman ’23 lamented what he saw as a disregard for constitutional process.

“This government that doesn’t even exist yet and we’ve already made a big dump in this whole constitution,” Zimmerman said.

In a written statement, de Kanter conceded he could have consulted more with UC members, but pointed to the time constraint.

“In retrospect, we could have been more responsive to feedback, but we made the assumption under time pressure and had to act quickly to get things done,” de Kanter wrote in a text message.

The newly appointed election commission is made up of seven college students: April D. Chen ’23, Ethan Lee ’23, Katerina V. Corr ’25, Madison Eagan ’24, Neil K. Khurana ’22, Ekene Chukwueke ’25, and Simeon I. “Moni” Radev ’22. None of the selected members has previously served on the UC.

The HUA constitution calls for the election schedule to be announced by April 11 and for elections to be held by April 30. As of Tuesday evening, no schedule had been publicly announced.

—Editor J. Sellers Hill can be reached at sellers.hill@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @SellersHill.

—Writer Mert Geyiktepe can be contacted at mert.geyiktepe@thecrimson.com.

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