Student Council referendums are dull affairs at best, involving a hasty scrawl on a mimeographed ballot before one settles down to supper; and today's promises to be no more exciting. But with as important a measure as the Re-evaluation Report coming before the College, the Council would have done well to dispel the cloud of apathy surrounding its proposed revamping. For it will take two-thirds of the ballots cast to get an improved Student Council.
The proposed re-evaluation fulfills, to a considerable degree, the Council's promise to raise itself by its own bootstraps. The proposal to enlarge the Council is, in itself, admirable, since the group's most valuable work is done in committee and through reports--many of which have been prepared by non-Council members. With a thirty or thirty-three member organization, the Council will have better informed individual members, even though debate may be difficult because of increased numbers.
While debate may be hampered by more speakers, Council business will not be delayed as much as formerly, since the report proposes changing the vote needed to pass measures from a two-thirds total to a simple majority. In the past, the two-thirds rule has resulted in long and fruitless debate at Council meetings.
But the most important changes which adoption of the report would establish lie in the composition of the Council's membership. The Council's existence has rested on the democratic but unrealistic belief that it is the spearhead of student opinion. Elections affording an ambitious, personally motivated politician the opportunity to capitalize on undergraduate apathy do not result in true representation. With elections under the new House and Class constituency proposal, students may still have to elect politicians-but they will know their politicians better.
Most encouraging is the plan by which the Master of each House appoints one House member to the Council. While such members do not fulfill the classic notions of representatives, they will probably be among the more able and articulate members of the body. Hopefully, Masters will appoint students other than House Committee members to the posts, and thus make the jobs even less politically oriented.
Even if the project changes on tomorrow's referendum are passed, the Council will have still further to go to establish itself as a reliable instrument of student ideas. But enacting the new proposal is a necessary preliminary.