The Path to Public Service at SEAS
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In the past year or so, the machinery of student government has worked on such relatively small tasks as library hours, football tickets and a sixty-minute change in parietals. But while the independent make-up of the undergraduate community lessens the usual importance of college government, there should besome sort of clear and effective system of student representation.
The present organization of the student council, which embodies both class and house representation, doesn't solve the problem very successfully. Names on the candidates-at-large ballot are met with great indifference. For few are familiar enough with all the candidates in their class to vote intelligently. Election of class candidates to the Student Council is often foolishly arbitrary and depends on the appeal of the infantile blurbs published under their pictures.
House voting is not quite so farcical. One can usually recognize who the house candidates are and what they stand for by personal contact with them in the dining hall and in house activities. House elections are easier and fairer on candidates, too. A Lowell politican for example, can more conveniently, and much more justifiably, canvass all the entries in Lowell to advance his cause, than stuff everybody's mailbox with tire-some and inane letters.
Representation by class should therefore be dropped and the entire student council should be elected from the houses. This system, comprising two representatives from each house and two from the freshmen class would obviously make for a more directly representative and responsible group, as compared to the present amorphous body.
As well as strengthening the Houses' part in student government, this plan would remove the last traces of ineffective, class-wide voting left over from pre-House days. It would also prove to be a satisfying shot in the arm to the Harvard House system by drawing student politicians and student political activities into the Houses.
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