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Squatters Rights?


There has been a lot of mind teased around for the past few days between Law Professor Robert Amory, Jr. and the Law School Democratic Club. But the post election squabhle rests on an important base does an out-of state student have a moral right to "meddle" in a close and important local political campaign?

The legal right is unquestioned, but Professor Amer. challenges the moral point. Expressed in his objection is a fear that the intruder may unthinkingly play a strong role in toppling an unstably-balanced political system that may, in fact, be a good one, by taking Republican and Democrat as Black and White. Amory questions whether a student politic cuts deeply enough beneath the elephant and donkey symbols to judge a localized situation on its own merit.

But it is difficult to see on what grounds the carefully-considered choice of a politically-minded undergraduate or graduate can be challenged--since he lives for several years in Massachusetts, makes use of state facilities, obeys local laws, and pays many state taxes. It does not take a lifetime to obtain a reasonably-defined view of the issues and needs of a small city--the city manager plan itself is dependent upon this premise. And a lifetime of residence is no guarantee of intelligent voting. There is every arson to believe that a college man or woman will exercise far more care in judging a candidate's worthiness than will a very large number of residents. If, on the other trouble point, any questionable electioneering methods are then used by members of a group, only those members are to be blamed.

Local elections are a valuable ready-made course in practical polities for socially-conscious students. Even if none of the college campaigners ever become junior ward bosses in Cambridge, they need not spend three, four, or seven years in a political vacuum.

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