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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

DEMOCRACY IN THE YARD

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Following a custom instituted six years ago when the Freshmen were moved from the River to the Yard, the Union Committee has once more chosen to represent the first year men in the managing of their class affairs. Often called an arbiarily chosen and undemocratic body, the Committee in the last two years has so expanded its scope of action, functioned so efficiently, that discontent with it this year amounts to less than usual.

It has been taken as self-evident in the conduct of Freshman affairs that a student body, no matter how undemocratically chosen or how unrepresentative of the class as a whole, is better than no student body at all. The Union Committee, however, is not unrepresentative. Selected with great care, it covers geographical differences, has both high school and prep school members, tries to represent as many dormitories as possible.

The only alternative to appointment would be an election, but where such a large, disorganized Freshman class exists as here, there could be only one result of this proceedure. The schools sending the largest delgations to Harvard would completely dominate the election. The small school boy, no matter how capable, wouldn't have a chance.

In the last two years the function of the committee has rapidly expanded. By February, its chairman is better fitted to deal with class affairs than anyone else living in the Yard. At that time he is thrown into the discard because of an election of a class president, a position that today is both meaningless and unsound. It seems absurd to cast out an executive trained for the position in favor of a person "democratically" chosen in an election in which more than half the voters do not know for whom they are voting.

The Union Committee this year will select a chairman; it is to be hoped that he will lead his fellow-members in endeavors such as free Reviews, which have typified the actions in the development of the last two groups. The work of the Committee this year should climax the abolition of Freshman elections and leave the chairman, the best man for the job to take the lead in the Freshman student government.

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