Many undergraduates, when reading the list of nominees for the Student Council published today, will indulge in some brief, quiescent wonder as to just what this organization is; others will know, and will cast the column of names aside after a glance. This lack of knowledge about the Council, and this indifference to its proceedings, are founded equally on just and reasonable grounds. During the last year, which may be taken as fairly representative, it has done little, and what it has performed has not been of a nature to attract the attention of the College. It has quashed the protest against the shortening of library hours; it has helped with the appointments to the Freshman smoker committee; and it has arranged the class elections. Of these accomplishments, the first was not revealed to the public, the second was a necessary but minor task, and the third is and has been so mismanaged as to draw endless criticism on the heads of those connected with it. The Council's annual report which is now being drawn up is its one real contribution, in most years, and even that is sometimes not made public.
The Student Council, then, far from being an active and powerful weapon of the student body, has degenerated into little more than a figurehead, which many know only through hearsay. One reason for this is to be found in the list of members. These individuals are selected, partly by vote of the undergraduates, and partly through appointment by the existing body. It is inevitable that those elected by the students be largely athletes; their names are most in the public eye, and they are, in general, the only ones about whom anything is known. The appointments, however, can be and should be made with a view to the capabilities of the men involved and to their knowledge of College affairs. If the six appointees were individuals with a genuine interest in the work required of them, and were able to do it well, they could form a nucleus which would coordinate and energize the entire Council.
If the Council were thus able to collect a useful group of members, it would be in a position to revise many of its old mistakes, and to become an efficient student organ. It should, in the first place, publish its findings, and the facts about its various activities, so that the students may know what is being done for them and may voice their opinions. Such a policy would arouse interest and invigorate the whole organization. In the second place, the sphere of activity of the Council should be widened, and more important, the many issues directly affecting the student body should be carefully taken up. To cite pertinent examples: The recent abolition of the position of Adviser in Religion should certainly have been considered; assistance and advice should have been given publicly in deciding on the policy of distributing Freshmen in the Houses; and finally, the Council ought definitely to take a stand on what it considers to be the most satisfactory method of balancing the H.A.A. budget for the coming year. By meeting these problems and many others the Council might approach a fulfillment of the ends for which it was created, but in order to do so, it must at once reorganize its mode of procedure, expand, and open its actions fully to the student view.