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The recent election to fill next year's executive posts of Phillips Brooks House leaves the gate open for a critical appraisal of the usefulness of the president, vice-president, and secretary-treasurer. There is reasonable justification for believing that the positions may be mere rewards for past services to the House; but no undergraduate position of such weight and value as the P.B.H. posts can be sinecures even for fagged veteran volunteers. The three men elected to the management of P.B.H. should be charged with duties equal to the size and volume of their post; they ought to control the policies of the only organization in Harvard which deals with outside interests more than nominally.
Two reasons block the way to a P.B.H. triumvirate that would rule actively and well. It is not unfair to say that the president has tended to be a figurehead, while his prime minister, the graduate secretary, has held the reins. From such a revelation it must not be inferred that the president is the graduate secretary's tool; the emptiness of his offices is often because another activity has occupied most of his attention. There is danger, however, that the president will be a china doll unless he drop outside attachments and concentrate his time in P.B.H. by accepting such labors as the Graduate Secretary would delight in handing over.
Exactly the same applies to the vice-president. His office has hardly more meaning than a diploma on the wall. In the case of the third officer an exception is possible; his task of transcribing the proceedings of the cabinet meetings and in general assisting his two colleagues accords with the significance of the position. In the last analysis the president must make his own job. And in consideration of the many associations he forms with settlement houses and men outside the University, in view of his supervisory capacity over the functions of the various committees--which involves more contacts, the president of P.B.H. has a better chance for useful initiative than many undergraduate officers.
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