The Phillips Brooks House Cabinet has decided that the organiation's membership is no longer to elect the PBH officers. From now on, the Cabinet itself will elect the officers from among its own body.
Phillips Brooks House is the largest of the University's extra-curricular organizations. Its contributions have been enormous, and largely due to its moral aura it is often looked to as a model undergraduate organization. Since the war, the officers have been elected by the full membership. This system is now to be reversed in favor of the pre-war Cabinet domination.
The Cabinet's basic argument in making its decision is that Brooks House has grown so much that the members cannot really be acquainted with the candidates. In the past, many people have not even voted. With the inclusion of the Radcliffe Volunteer Service Organization, PBH now has about 900 members. The Cabinet, consisting of the PBH officers and the heads and subheads of the committees, will now be doubled by the admission of Radcliffe representatives.
Until the Cabinet explains why they held no referendum, it will appear that they were afraid that a referendum would not succeed. Few undergraduates who have devoted enough of their time to earn membership would willingly resign such an important prerogative. Such a referendum could have easily been conducted simultaneously with the one that was held earlier this month concerning union with the Radcliffe group. PBH President William Freehling '58 now admits that there would have been no Radcliffe referendum had it not been for the request of PBH's faculty advisers.
The represent decree will complete the self-perpetuating system of control which already exists in Brooks House. The Cabinet already appoints itself, since the new committee heads are appointed by the outgoing ones. Since the war, on the other hand, the entire organization has elected the Brooks House officers from among the Cabinet nominees, and now the Cabinet has assumed even this function, declaring the membership unfit to vote.
This may be the first time that the traditional arguments against the democratic process, those of the unwieldy numbers and ignorance of the electorate, have been used in the name of Phillips Brooks and community service. The arbitrary decision of the Cabinet should not be overlooked, and if it will not reconsider of its own accord, either the faculty advisers or the members themselves should oblige it to do so.