Unnecessary Reform

More bureaucracy is rarely the solution to a problem. Last week, Paul Murphy, Dean of Students, submitted a Letter to the Editor suggesting that the school think about electing co-presidents to ease some of the work associated with running the school. Dean Murphy said, “It always struck me as a good idea to spread the work out between co-presidents, just based on the enormity of the job.” While this proposal is well-intentioned, there is another aspect of the presidency that would suffer under a changed two-person system. Faiyad Ahmad ’10, current president of Student Council, commented, “I think it would be very difficult to work with the public aspect of the presidency—the speeches and such—with two people representing the face of the student body.” Although Dean Murphy acknowledged these potential difficulties, he was confident in saying, “I think we have the ability to figure out how to institute such a change.” On the public side, a co-presidency might shatter the president’s image as the single voice of the students. In terms of the inner workings of Student Council , however, a switch to co-presidents could reduce the workload for each co-president. But is there an easier way to reduce workload? Can we arrive at a solution that maintains the admirable goal of lessening the stress faced by the incumbent president, while at the same time avoiding the creation of unneeded bureaucracy? Under the current system, the position of Executive Secretary, currently held by Eric Sirakian ’10, is not even an existing office in the constitution of Student Council. The post of Vice President, presently occupied by Billy Fowkes ’10, is not given any specific mission or task to perform alongside the President. “Billy, Eric and I work great together,” said Ahmad. “I can delegate work to them… but I have to do the delegation.” A clear job description for the Vice President and Executive Secretary would simplify and optimize student government. Through further elaboration upon the goals of each position and the tasks each must complete, a single president could bypass the process of delegating jobs and organizing committees. The result is a simplified presidency and a lessening of his or her workload. Futher clarification on existing positions, rather than co-presidency, would also circumvent controversial decisions including speaking rights at All School Meetings and proper assignment of tasks between the two office-holders. Although it is possible these problems could be worked out, as Dean Murphy emphasized, such issues would simply bring up unneccesary squabbles and miscommunications within Student Council. The simplest solution is usually the best. Before the school jumps to radical changes such as instituting co-presidents, Student Council and administrators alike should look for simpler ways to fix the flaws in our current system. This editorial represents the views of Editorial Board CXXXIII