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(The Crimson invites all men in the University to submit signed communications of timely interest. It assumes no responsibility, however, for sentiments expressed under this head and reserves the right to exclude any whose publication would be palpably inappropriate.)
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:--
Many words have been wasted about the "deplorable lack of interest" on the part of the undergraduates in their class elections. At last the class constitutions have been amended so that an election will not be valid unless 60 percent of the members of the class vote. But, although this will insure future elections being representative, it will no more do away with indifference than would an amendment saying that undergraduates "must" become interested.
Indifference as to the outcome of class elections will continue as long as the candidates are unknown to the voters, and as long as the class offices remain in the average student's eyes only honorary positions for athletic heroes.
Where the classes are as large as they are at Harvard, and where no campaigning is done because there are no issues to be settled by the elections, many of the voters are entirely ignorant of the character of the candidates. If any of their personal friends are on the ticket, they go to the polls to vote. But what difference does it make to them whether Smith or Jones is elected, when they know neither of them? It shows that a student has at least a small bit of intelligence left if he won't vote unless he knows what he is voting for.
After all, what is the function of the class president? If perchance a student was blest with 250 pounds of beef, and because of this merit won a position on the line of the football team, he might become a class president. And the class would get on as well, I daresay, as if it had elected one of its young Disraelis instead.
Only if it really makes a difference to the students whom they elect may we hope for more interest in the election. We may be sure that that intangible thing called "class spirit," which seems as obsolete as the dinosaurs, will not bring voters to the polls.
This unbecoming state of indifference will continue unless the functions of the officers are altered in some way so that those elected will have a chance to leave an impression of their character on the college. Then most of the students would vote because they would be conscious of a sound reason for voting. DAVID HALL '22.
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