Moving forward toward a more abundant life, the Student Council's report that a committee is studying ways and means of making their membership more representative of the Houses points to a genuine advance in the technique of Harvard student government. The proposal for new offices to house the Council also deserves joyful alleluias, for a comfortable and adequate place to carry on business is the first requisite of any efficiently working body, and, with an office worthy of the name, the member may be stimulated to further activitiy and endeavor.
The need for bringing a closer relationship between the Council and the Houses is shown by the almost Olympian inaccessibility from which the Council now suffers, an inaccessibility making the Council's influence over House affairs ephemeral, at best of little value. The board of House committee heads, on the other hand, sets the pace for House business, but like the continental Congress it lacks the basic authority, inclusive jurisdiction, and continuity of membership that only the main Council can possess. Thus, with the friction of divided responsibility promising more and more sparks in the future, some sort of device to bridge the gap in the guidance of House activities and the control of larger college affairs must be sought.
Of the half dozen schemes that have flown unfledged from the Council nest, all offer difficulties in the way of operation. The best possible solution would be to elect eight seniors to the big board, one from each House, all of whom would be members of their respective House committees. These men could be House chairmen or not, as the plebiscite and their individual wishes determined, but care should be taken not to overburden them with excessive routine duties in House organization, lest their efficiency and enthusiasm on the Council be impaired. Three more seniors would then be appointed at large to fill out the complement of eleven. Juniors would continue to be elected and appointed from the whole college. Thus, without expanding in number, the Council would have a membership interlocking with the ruling bodies of all the Houses, and appropriate jurisdiction to deal with House as well as college problems.
Yet before any plan can be put to work, a basic reform is needed in the election to House committees. Today, like independent states, the Houses choose their representatives by whatever system happens to appeal to them. But if the House committees are to be a springboard for jumping into the main Council, home rule will have to give in, and a uniform and standardized system for handling the franchise substituted instead.
But, whatever minor difficulties lie in the steep and thorny way, a concentrated effort on the part of the present Council can overcome them. And if the attempt to perpetuate a body more capable of dealing with all the problems that arise in the course of undergraduate administration is successful, the present members will have made a real contribution to the future of the college.