September 1969

Talks of SC's purpose

   One of the touchiest issues of the last several elections and the focal point of most arguments and debates over Student Council is the question,"What is S.C.'s purpose?"
   Because of the political and economic structure of the district, I believe that the question has a straight forward answer that is not changed by the different personalities of Student Council's leaders.
   For the sake of mentioning them, Student Council numbers among its purposes "a system of participation in student government, a system of centralizing and developing co-curricular activities and increasing, fostering, and protecting good school relations."
   Each of these points can be expanded to encompass the various Council activities, philosophies of student representation, and students accept and appreciate Council's work in these fields. However, the real heart of disagreements about purpose center on the extent of representation or, perhaps, more bluntly, on the limits of power.
    Student Council's most vital purpose is the twofold duty to provide for the expression of student opinion and provide a link between students and faculty and students and administration. The expansion of CoFac (Council-Faculty) to include all students, provides one of the methods, in the form of small informal discussions, by which this link is strengthened.
    The willingness with which Dr. Watson and other administrators receive student suggestions serves as a reciprocal action in maintaining this bond.
    However, as mentioned before, the limitation of power is the key issue to be answered. Yes, Student Council should, must, and does do everything possible to insure the expression of student opinion, whether this be referendum, representation, or single opinion poll.
    The policy must be maintained whereby all students are free to express themselves in any terms (within the law) on any subject (within the law) with the knowledge that action will not be taken against them for their words.
    Furthermore, in all fairness to students and indeed to itself, Council has not only the right, but the duty to pass resolutions as official statements of belief or dissatisfaction on all controversial issues.
    However, Student Council under no circumstances can demand, force, or in any other way impose its will upon the administration either at the school or district level.
    While it is indeed a respected and influential body, Student Council is not the political equal of the Board of Education, or the school administrations, and its realm of persuasion is confined to formulating logical arguments rather than inciting protests.
    Secondly, while minority opinion is to be safeguarded, if in the course of dissension or protest the rights or privileges of the majority become jeopardized, it is Council's duty to either modify or curtail such dissenting activities.
    These are the limits within which Student Council operates. In carrying out its purpose of representing student opinion, you can expect this year's Council to welcome and consider all opinions, mediate with the administration on important issues, represent students at the political level, and if the majority of Council
agrees pass a resolution of opinion when necessary; however, when logic and mutual respect end, so does Council's support.
    I am sure there are those who insist that idealistically, Council should be a political equal of the board or a voting element of the administration, but what I have attempted to do is explain Council's purpose as it stands in District 207. These are the political limits in which Council may function.
    Granted, they are not utopian, but by wrking within the framework, Council can hope to accomplish much more than it could by arrogantly exceeding its limits.
John W, President