Dissent: Harvard College Needs a King


A spectre is haunting Harvard College — the spectre of “student body presidents.”

It doesn’t matter what you call it — UC, HUA, HCUA, ICUP — it’s all the same. Rotten to the core. Chewed up and spit out by generations of toothless aspiring bureaucrats.

If Harvard’s storied history has unveiled one truth, it is that every rendition of democratically elected student government on this sick campus is bound to fail.

Year after year, the College toils in misery as the race to lead the student government is resigned to some “insiders,” some “outsiders,” a joke candidate, someone vowing to blow it all up, an overzealous freshman, and the most miserable person you’ve ever met.


The winners, in a week’s time, will fulfill their obligatory CNN appearance, update their LinkedIn, and proclaim themselves true (small “d”) democrats — glorious representatives of the people!

Few will love them, some will loathe them, and the great majority of students who didn’t vote at all will continue to not bat an eye.

Yet the naive Editorial Board, high on their introductory Social Studies classes, proclaims that democracy, even if messy, is necessary for Harvard, and demands the student body suck it up for another year and vote their conscience, as if our conscience begets club funding.

Their words are almost as delusional as our candidates’ far-fetched policies. We are not moderate voters in Pennsylvania.

It’s a shame — the Editorial Board must have skipped the Social Studies lecture on Hobbes. If they had been there, they’d see that on this campus, we are witnesses to the true state of nature: A “warre of every man against every man.”

We exist in a failed state. Nasty, brutish, locked in conflict, and constantly throwing feces at each other on our favorite anonymous posting app; this student body and any prospective leaders are in no position to engage in a democratically elected, mutually beneficial social contract. We need a sovereign to rule over us without ridiculous elections, fantasy campaigns, and spineless advocacy.

I’m sorry, professor Levitsky, the great project is over. This is How Democracies Die.

Harvard College needs a King.

Call our new leader Supreme, Leviathan, King, Queen, or Grand Ayatollah, I don’t care. Just don’t vote them in, and don’t call them “President.”

Naturally, our new sovereign must be appointed by God, and as direct contact with the divine can be difficult, the school must turn to the next closest option.

Upon announcing the declaration of a new autocratic power, we will, by means of a wax-sealed envelope under their doors, gather all students with last names on buildings, whose family members have led a sovereign government, or who have legacy bloodlines dating back to the 1600s. One student will be selected at random.

The next morning, the College will assemble en masse in Harvard Stadium, fulfilling its ancient Greco-Roman architecture’s true purpose of entertaining the masses with bread and circus as the elite battle to the death for ultimate power.

The Lord’s choice will prevail.

Their closest friends — their Court — will immediately be moved to the Kennedy Suite in Claverly Hall, while the royal family will occupy the penthouse at 1075 Massachusetts Avenue.

To ensure the continuity of the throne, their lineage will receive automatic admission to Harvard. We will call their pathway “the Dean’s List.”

The Supreme Leader will be featured across national media outlets, and, in shocking continuity with the former regime, will claim the glamorous public title of “Harvard Student Body President.” Some things never change.

On campus, our new leader will have full swipe access to every dining hall and will be listed at every party. They will get to see inside every single final club.

Our Leviathan can plagiarize all they want and will still be rewarded a summa cum laude diploma with honors and a Rhodes Scholarship. Political dissidents will be swiftly sent to the Administrative Board.

Still, the monarch will continue to fill the one impactful role of student government: Funding. Club leaders, by oath of fealty, must appear and kneel before the throne to request meager funds, offered haphazardly at the whim of our authoritarian leader. Alas, the process will finally be straightforward.

Imperfect nonetheless, our new absolute monarchy will lift us from our wretched state — a more sustainable and less excruciatingly annoying system than the last. There is no place better for an absolute regime to thrive than within Harvard’s prestigious walls.

That is, God forbid, until the people start talking about contracts again.

Matthew E. Nekritz ’25, an Associate Editorial editor, is a Social Studies concentrator in Cabot House. He took a GenEd called “Satire” freshman year.