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As soon as the midyear examinations are over, one of the last remaining vestiges of a political controversy in Harvard will once more start to function. This is the Freshman election. Just as the Union Committee has risen in the past few years to a position where it represents the Freshman class, so now the time has come to abolish the February elections which have become both meaningless and disrupting.
A popularly elected President of the Freshman class is a myth. It is impossible for any member of the class to know more than about one hundred and fifty of his classmates; and inversely only a fraction of the voters know the men for whom they are voting. The result is that the men are elected from one of two classes: either an athletic hero, or a Union Committee member with plenty of publicity behind him.
The election is disrupting because it comes at a time when the Union Committee is just starting to function efficiently. The Committee finds itself suddenly ejected, to be replaced by inexperienced officers with no duties to perform save those of appointing committees, which they promptly fill with their own friends.
The argument in favor of the retention of these elections is that the men can serve to represent their class. But this is not fair representation, because the elections themselves are a farce. The members of the Union Committee and its chairman are far better fitted to serve as the standard bearers for the new class. Their selection is carefully and democratically made, in order to represent a cross section of the entire group, from high school and prep school, from East and West.
This movement has long had much support; it is now time for Dean Leighton and the Student Council to take the lead in acting to abolish elections that mean nothing, prove nothing, and disrupt an otherwise fair and efficient method of Freshman self-government.
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