Nearly 30 years ago, the Harvard Student Assembly wrote to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences:
“Student participation in College governance needs to be better coordinated and more directed. Harvard undergraduates need a representative student government to help accomplish these goals and to speak as a voice for student concerns. These needs can only be satisfied if the current system of College governance is reformed and if the revised structure includes a representative student government.”
In 1980, Dean of Harvard College John B. Fox, Jr. appointed the Committee to Review College Governance, charged with determining both the strengths and weaknesses of College governance, and considering reforms that might improve the quality of College life. Professor of Biology John Dowling chaired this committee. The full report can be viewed here.
Faculty legislation created the Harvard-Radcliffe Undergraduate Council in 1982. Its Constitution was ratified by a student referendum. The first Council had about 80 members, a Chair, and a Vice Chair.
The Undergraduate Council funded organizations with the student fee proceeds, planned social events, and sent representatives to student-faculty committees.