Memebers of the Harvard Cooperative Society began voting this week on a proposal to change the way its Board of Directors is chosen amidst charges that the proposed plan is an attempt to make the board into a closed club.
The only change for the student board in the proposed plan is that it requires 3 of the 11 student directors to come from each of three categories : Harvard and Radcliffe undergraduate; Harvard graduate students; and, graduate and undergraduate students from MIT.
The non-student directors however will all be chosen by the stockholders and automatically become board members under the proposed changes. Presently non-student Coop members can file petitions for nomination and force an election as in the student board.
Brad Marvin '50, a non-student Coop member who tried to become a board member last year, charged yesterday that the new plan was designed to keep members who do not agree with present policies off the board.
"Milt Brown is out to protect himself," Marvin said, referring to Milton P. Brown. Lincoln Filene professor of Retailing and president of the Coop. "It's like in the Godfather, he's just out to protect his own," Marvin said.
Marvin presented a petition to run for the board last year after board member Donald E. Steele was not renominated. Steele had been active in making public Coop policies he felt were unethical or detrimental to the membership.
Steele charged at the time that the failure to renominate him was part of an attempt to keep dissenting voices off the board.
Last year the Coop invalidated Marvin's petition and no election was held. Both Steele and Marvin said at the time they thought the petition was invalidated because Marvin's views differed from the dominant position on the board. Coop officials said Marvin did not have enough qualified signatures.
"I don't believe they have been following policies that are in the best interests of the members," Marvin said yesterday. "Someone ought to examine the pensions some of the officers have voted themselves," he said.
"These guys are feathering their own nests, and it's clear their proposed new policy is an attempt to keep people off the board who might object," Marvin said.
William D. Andrews professor of Law and chairman of the committee that proposed the changes, denied yesterday that the new policy would make the board a closed club. "It is the same system the Coop used before 1969," he said, "and it worked well then."
The Coop sent ballots and explanations of the proposed changes to Coop members on February J. Ballots must be returned by February 24 and 25 per cent of the Coop membership must vote for the election to be valid.
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