Against the student member voting

August 30, 2011


I'm writing to offer an argument against the editorial collective wisdom reflected in the "Let 'em vote" appeal found in the Wednesday, Aug. 17, edition of The Aegis. The Aegis seems to agree with the assertion of the current occupant of the student seat on the Board of Education that "What's the point of his membership if he can't vote?"

It seems that no one has attempted to answer that question except to assume that there is no purpose. I propose that the current occupant is unqualified if he sees no purpose; he could be conducting surveys of students to determine issues of importance for him to bring to the attention of the Board; at the meetings he can listen carefully and report to students on all issues before the board; he can ask questions and make his findings from surveys known to the board. (A blog would be an ideal mechanism for many of these communications.)

He can also gain personally from his exposure to this prime example of executive management (or mismanagement), and of that ever-present, often subtle, influence of politics. I think it's fair to compare his position to that of a page or an intern to an elected official – he can, without a vote, have more influence than they can.

There is some merit (not much) to the argument that the student member may be more mature than some other member or members, but it's doubtful that he will have had the experience. And while he may be nearly old enough to vote in elections for government, he isn't, yet.

He may also be physically and emotionally better able to consume alcoholic beverages than many older than 21, but I still don't want to make him an exception to the rule. While I may not be comfortable with some of the elected and appointed board members, I'm less comfortable with a student member given the same power to vote.

Lynn Davis

Bel Air

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