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The Mail


To the Editors of the CRIMSON:

I have followed with great interest the current debate on the abolition of the student council at Harvard. Since I first gave my $5.00 to this venerable institution some four years ago, I have questioned the council's utility. Mr. Brachman, in his recent letter defending it, has claimed that were the council disbanded there would remain no outlet for student opinion save the CRIMSON and WHRB. I agree that if such a situation should occur, it would be lamentable. I further agree with Mr. Brachman that there is a need for a more "creative spirit" than has been shown up until this point by the CRIMSON in dealing with the problem. However, I believe that your editorial calling for the council's abolition does in fact represent the wishes of most undergraduates.

It is difficult to have much respect for a group of self-styled student leaders who spend much time throwing pamphlets under our doors prior to an election, but who become quite inactive after the results have been tabulated. I have had the most unsatisfactory experience of arriving for a council meeting at seven o'clock--the time for which they are called--and having to wait anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half for the meeting to commence. Sometimes the wait will be a full week, since often a quorum cannot be mustered...

We wish to eliminate an institution, then, which has in our experience been composed of a group of enervated politicians. We yet wish to retain a forum for student opinion. Such a forum might easily be made up of one representative from each House Committee, thus replacing the student council with an Inter-House Council. The advantages of such a scheme over the present system are: s(1)College-wide campaigns for election would be eliminated since the student body would only indirectly choose the representatives to this all-college body. (2) The quality of representatives would automatically be increased by the fact that they would be chosen by a more informed electorate, their own House Committee. (3) This new inter-house council could also serve as a real clearing house for dance dates, etc., something which the present student council cannot do. (4) And finally, the very bad reputation of the present council would not be transferred to a new group chosen on different criteria in a less political fashion. William R. Cotter '58

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