Ninety-four nails were hammered into the coffin of the Harvard Student Union Thursday evening when it was announced that that many had voted to affiliate the organization with its national counterpart, the American Student Union. Since its founding in February the Student Union has had the distinction of containing all Harvard political groups of any consequence, but now it has committed the utter folly of entrusting the determination of its policies to a country-wide organization over which it can have no control whatsoever.
Any political organization which hopes for support from the majority of Harvard students must fight to maintain a spirit of non-partisanship against all comers. The inevitable attempt at a radical coup d'etat should be ground under foot at its first budding, and the obvious failure of political bodies here in past years has been their inability to show this resistance.
Too much was expected by those who saw in the amalgamation of all Harvard political societies a solution to the problem. While the new organization was stronger than its ancestors as far as numbers went, it was constantly being torn limb from limb by factions too mutually antagonistic to form one workable body. The only real solution would have been a fairly rigid parliamentary organization, in which the warring factions might show their true colors while restrained from revolt by rules of procedure.
The warnings of those who at first wished the Student Union well have gone unheeded. Not only has the radical shock-brigade been as uncompromising as ever in the Harvard organization, but has dealt it the death blow by surrendering its independence to a national cabal.
Policies cooked up by the malcontents of New York University or the wild women of Sarah Lawrence can come to Harvard only in the baggage of a small minority whose viewpoint is definitely unrepresentative as far as this university is concerned. The stupidity of the national organization, which is trying to be all things to all men, is shown in the card sent to members of the Harvard group. It presented four issues, ranging from the moderate to the hysterical, and then declared that belief in "one or all the issues" would be the qualification for membership. Such a lack of conviction and honest program shows what can be expected of the Harvard Student Union under national management.
Before the inevitable submergence of the Student Union takes place, steps should be taken to prevent all political activities at Harvard from being pulled down at the same time. The Liberal Club trust fund should be removed from a group which has strayed so far from what the Club originally stood for, and an independent, non-partisan Parliament under responsible leadership should be established in its place. Only in such a body can the real political beliefs of Harvard students find adequate means of expression.