To the Editors of the Crimson:
For those to whom it seems that every time they turn around there's another Coop election, let me explain. In fact, this latest election will be the fourth student election in two and a half years. Because of the By-laws' revision of late 1969 the 1969 election was delayed till early 1970. Then there were elections in the fall of 1970 and 1971. Now the stockholders have changed the time of election from the fall to the preceding spring and this latest election is the consequence. Parenthetically, there has never been an election of Officer-Alumni directors. However, there have been two officer-alumni petitions: In the first case the petitioner was allowed to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of one of the stockholders' nominees: in the second, my own, the petition was, with great effort, invalidated on technicalities by the Coop's legal staff although I have asked. I have not been told whose signatures were invalidated).
Now, there are certain observations I would like to make with regard to the student elections. First, let me quote the By-laws:
Article IX Amendment
The stockholders may make any change in these By-laws by a majority vote at any meeting at which a majority of the stockholders are present, except that any change that substantially reduces the voting rights of members under Article VI, 1-4...shall require, in addition, the return of valid ballots by at least twenty-five percent of the total number of all the members as of the tenth day of the month before the month in which the ballots are distributed and a favorable majority of all the valid ballots returned.
It is my opinion that the stockholders have acted illegally in taking it on themselves to change the time of student elections because this is a case involving the substantial reduction of the voting rights of members and therefore requires a referendum. This becomes obvious in such cases as the stockholders' nomination of Mr. Joseph Angland, from "Harvard Law School." He is, in fact, an M.I.T. senior who has been accepted by the Harvard Law School for Fall '72. In essence, then, his constituency does not yet exist, and, if elected, he will be representing people who had no part in his election. Hypothetically, the problem would become most acute for a senior who wants to petition but doesn't know yet it he will be accepted by an affiliated graduate school, or, if so, whose signatures should he get on his petition?
My suggestion, then, is that the members reject this election, that they refuse to return their ballots. They should remember that Art. VI, sec 3b, specifies that if not at least 5 per cent of the members vote the election is invalidated.
In my opinion, as an ex Board member, the quality of the student directors is not so important as their tenure on the Board. It takes months to learn the ropes, and by the time he learns where the power is, the student director must go through another election. Almost all the power of the Board rests with its officers and the other non-student members of the Board because they control the agenda and the standing committees. This exclusive little men's club can control things so well because of their continuity. They do not allow challenges to their own august selves, but they are very happy to see the students continually fighting among themselves; the more changes that occur among the student directors, the less is their power. Donald E. Steels Former student director Former manager, Law School Coop
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