A SCRAP OF PAPER
In the columns of yesterday's issue appeared the Club Agreement which was drawn up in 1914 to define and restrict the canvassing and election of underclassmen to nearly all of the Harvard undergraduate clubs. The CRIMSON has published the same agreement annually since 1914 and has a rule allowed it to pass without editorial comment. Again this year it would be left unnoticed were it not obviously necessary to point out that the agreement is regarded by a large number of the more prominent clubs as a mere scrap of paper.
The Harvard club system, though receiving its due share of criticism from those who have never seen a Harvard club, has certain unique attributes, certain characteristics called by some blessings, by others evils. Happily, the system lacks qualities which are the cause of the almost universal criticism of the general fraternal organization rampant in this country. To be more specific, the local clubs are not end alls in themselves, nor are their membership traditions founded upon a uniform standard of extra-curricular activities so that one type is admitted to the exclusion of all others. Fortunately at Harvard nearly every individual may find in some club a congenial group. Consequently, and to the advantage of the system, no very large number of students regard any particular set of clubs with awe. What is suitable for one man is not so for another.
Were the club agreement lived up to, the benefits just described would be less theoretical. To the fact that it does not permit Freshmen to be molested is due most of its value. To the fact that at present Freshmen are frequently approached is due a large part of its failure. A healthy indifference to clubs cannot be maintained unless the individual is allowed for at least one year to orient and balance his life uninfluenced by organized factions or types. The underhand advantage of canvassing students before the opening of their sophomore year practiced by a number of clubs, usually final clubs, tends toward the destruction of the club agreement and the less of the main advantage of the Harvard club system.