UA Heads Tout Variety of SuccessesBy Hyun Soo Kim
associate news editor
At the halfway point of their administration, Undergraduate Association President Shally Bansal '93 and Vice President David J. Kessler '94 have made some progress on their February campaign promises.
Bansal and Kessler feel they have made the most progress on three issues: the creation of science minors, the installation of lights along Memorial Drive and in Killian Court, and the clearing of snow on the Harvard Bridge. These three will be mostly complete by next term.
Seven other issues were prominent in their February campaign: installing recitation representatives in all classes by the beginning of the spring term, easing dormitory overcrowding, converting the Burton House dining hall into a student lounge, creating a forum to address the quality of life for minority students, initiating a follow-up to last year's harassment report, holding a carnival during Homecoming, and addressing academic honesty. Most of these issues remain in the proposal stage, they said.
"Students will be able to minor in all [science and engineering] departments next term, provided that the department puts a minor together," Bansal said. The minors will consist of an average of six classes, she added.
The faculty will vote on this addition during the next faculty meeting, Bansal said. The vote will probably be unanimous in favor of the proposal since there were no objections at the October faculty meeting, she added.
Campus safety has been on the forefront of the UA agenda, especially due to recent events. The MIT administration has taken the preliminary steps to add more lights.
In response to complaints about the dangerous walking conditions on the Harvard Bridge in the winter, Kessler has requested city authorities to shovel snow and ice from the sidewalks. "The city has promised they would shovel the snow this winter," Kessler said.
Many of the plans seem difficult to accomplish immediately. "We are in the process of getting things started. We've started committees and a lot of ideas have been proposed," Bansal said.
"There have been no significant UA-sponsored projects so far this year," said Hans C. Godfrey '93, chairman of the review board which interprets the UA Constitution and handles grievances from students.
"Things are in progress, although there haven't been many things that have come to completion. It's still quite early," UA Council Floor Leader Raajnish A. Chitaley '95 added.
Many issues still being discussed
The UA is currently involved in negotiations with the Burton management concerning the renovation of the Burton dining hall into a student lounge. According to Bansal, the lounge is necessary because the Student Center does not have enough lounge space.
"It's hard to say [the proposal] will be passed soon, but the consensus is that students need more gathering space on this side of campus," Bansal said. "We are meeting with architects to see the plans and cost estimates. There's a substantial amount of renovation that needs to be done. It's not something you can do overnight," she added.
Bansal and Kessler have also proposed a system where representatives from each recitation meet with the professor every few weeks to discuss the pace and progress of the class. They are working to implement this for most classes by next term.
"It's something that we would like to see happen to a large extent next term, but not every professor might want it," Bansal said.
Bansal and Kessler have also been working on the dormitory overcrowding problem. "The overcrowding problem in the dormitories absolutely needs to be addressed," Bansal said. She added that the UA's Housing Committee is currently examining possible solutions to the problem.
"Many things are solved with the administration just by discussion. The UAP or VP goes to the administration and recommends a certain action, and in this way the administration receives input. Students can then get the perception that the UA did not do anything, but actually they did," Godfrey said.