Council Renaissance?

The Masters deserve commendation for their recent appointments to the Student Council. In formally consulting their Senior Common Rooms to aid them in their choices, the Masters have used a procedure recommended by the CRIMSON several months ago. The results justify the policy. The Masters have selected men of exceptional ability, devoid of the political involvements that have hampered the effectiveness of several Council members in recent years.

The seven men appointed fulfill the prophecy of the Re-Evaluation Report of April 1958, which stated that if the idea of a Master's appointment to the Council from each House were adopted, "The likelihood that students of exceptional, though popularly unrecognized talent will be chosen is high." The high caliber of the appointees in this first year of the policy, coupled with the fact that only one man will be chosen from each House, make the appointment an item of considerable prestige, and thus should insure a quorum of able and disinterested men on the Council each year.

The new appointments, though a big step in the right direction, cannot be expected to solve all of the Council's problems. The Council is in the precarious position of having to prove its value to the community, if it is to continue as a recognized undergraduate body with a justification for existence. If there is to be a renaissance of the Council it must come this year on the wave of interest generated by the new appointments.

Undergraduate interest in the Council has gradually dwindled to the point where several of this year's representatives were elected unopposed. Nor was this situation due to the presence of several overwhelmingly popular candidates, but rather, in some cases, to an absence of any candidates at all, until the very night of the election. One House Committee actually had to recruit candidates to stand for election.

The basic reason for this falling-off of interest in the Council has been the political machinations of some of its members, and a general obfuscation of the purpose of a Council. The Council's value does not lie in social services, which are handled by PBH, nor in legisaltion, which is handled by the House Committees, nor in mass information, which is handled by the CRIMSON and WHRB. Its potential value to the undergraduate community lies in offering expert advice to the Deans on current problems of students, solely as a group of twenty-eight well-informed individuals.


The Council cannot hope to pose as a body representative of student opinion as a whole. Its responsibility is to inform itself on issues that require time and facilities not at the disposal of the average student. The idea of the Master's appointment bears out this conception of the Student Council as basically a group of "expert advisers." These men were not chosen for their political acumen, but rather for their good judgment. The new Council would do well to keep this focus in mind.