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The Mail


To the Editors of the Crimson:

Monday the Crimson published the results of its poll on College affairs. But the subject of Constitutional reform is far too important to the student body to be distorted by such a poll as the Crimson has used, and far too complex to be dismissed with the glibness of your editorial.

According to the Crimson poll, a percentage of the student body ostensibly wants "Student Government" without one of the prerequisites of such government; power, in this case, the power to enforce the parietal rules. Concerning the question on House versus "Social Class" representation, with its arbitrary alternatives, how many men answering knew exactly what the term "Social Class" meant?

The editorial notes "the absolute weight of the majority" vote, condemning the past inadequacy of the Council's contact with the student body. Unfortunately the Crimson has not yet published the contents of the draft provisions already drawn up by the Constitutional Committee. Those provisions deal with publicity, audits, office hours, availability of Council members, open hearings or meetings, reports and financial statements. Although this material has been presented and outlined to the Crimson on two occasions, it has been neglected.

These are only surface defects. Beneath them are other faults far more important. The poll, as written, and interpreted by the Crimson, was guilty of gross misrepresentation. No one who has seriously studied the problem of Council membership has proposed a continuation of complete class representation, yet the Crimson included it as a major alternative on their poll. The Constitutional Committee from the very first agreed that the old proportion of appointed and elected representatives is unbalanced, yet the Crimson also threw this in. The Committee decided that the principle of complete student government, with its accompanying corollaries including legislative power, administration of the parietal rules, and even student courts to enforce disciplinary measures--no matter how well these have worked out at Vassar or Holyoke--would be impractical to institute at Harvard; yet the Crimson included even this in its poll.

All of this is particularly unfortunate, for the poll could well have performed a constructive service for the benefit of what students actually think about the constitutional issues involved rather than of what the editorial policy of the Crimson wishes them to think. Edric A. Weld, Jr.   For the Constitutional Committee.

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