Harvard News 4/29/82–Editorial – CHANGE NEEDED IN PREFECT ELECTIONS — By E. Randol Schoenberg, Managing Editor
I had a chance to read over Gary Tamkin’s article before it was printed, and I thought I might comment on one problem that I see in the present system. I might add that Gary’s article was written before the prefect nominee speeches, whereas this article was written after them. After hearing the speeches by the candidates, and then hearing about the reaction of the administration, I am increasingly aware of a split between the student body and the faculty-administration. It does not surprise me that the administration may consider returning to the old way of prefect nominations, where each member of the faculty submits the names of fourteen eleventh grade students, and the winning students are then reviewed and selected by the Headmaster. The ramifications of any action like this would most likely be disastrous. It would decrease student faith in the administration and substantially reduce the power of the student body as a whole. However, if we continue with our present system, the results would be even worse. The ridicule of faculty members and school politics will only increase in future speeches, eventually forcing the administration to take some action.
I can see a clear solution to this problem, however. A compromise must be made by both sides. I suggest that we eliminate the direct voting for First Prefect by circling a name on the ballot, a procedure much like the amendment proposed by the Election Procedures Committee. But after the seven students have been chosen, the faculty and administration will decide who will be the First Prefect. This would solve the problem of the prefect speeches by making faculty appeal almost as important as student appeal. Respect for the faculty and administration will be the result, yet the student body will retain most of their power over student leadership. But perhaps most importantly of all, it will prevent future prefect nominees from going one step too far and forcing the administration to remove all of our privileges regarding student government.