October 26, 2007

Time to scrap IHC and HARC

To tackle its embarrassing attendance record, the Inter-House Council (IHC) is urging the Housing Activities Resources Council (HARC) to penalize houses whose elected members skip IHC meetings. We recommend going one step further: It’s time to abolish IHC and HARC, thereby consolidating student representation and streamlining house funding.

IHC ostensibly serves as a governing body for the housing system. Those members who do show up for meetings have, in the last year, weighed in on such important issues as gender-neutral housing and the campaign to ban Coke from dining halls. However, attendance at IHC meetings and votes has been abysmal: Only 23 of the 41 members voted on gender-neutral housing last spring. The few members who do actively participate may have their housemates’ best interests in mind, but it is irresponsible and redundant to grant a little-known body like IHC the power to arbitrate campus issues when we already have Student Government (S.G.) to do just that.

While S.G. is not without its flaws, members are elected democratically and publicly. Many IHC representatives, however, assume their posts on little more than a whim during non-mandatory house meetings. Students should have a clear option when it comes to voicing complaints, and the administration should likewise only have to deal with one student governing body, not two, as was the case during the Coke debate. By eliminating IHC, the University would have a more efficient means of communicating with the student body—a need that high-level administrators have already highlighted.

Designed to encourage houses to organize trips together, HARC is similarly questionable in theory and inefficient in practice. HARC was created with the goal of inter-house bonding, but when multiple houses go on a trip together, students tend to stick with their house friends. The funding allocated to HARC should instead be given directly to houses so that they can decide independently how to spend this money.

If IHC can’t even get its act together to address its own shortcomings, how can it be entrusted with serious campus issues? HARC and IHC are worse than useless, and it’s time for them to go.

The Maroon Editorial Board consists of the Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor, Viewpoints Editors, and an additional Editorial Board member.