Artzer captures SA presidency in special election
Nicole Artzer '94 narrowly won yesterday's special Student Assembly presidential election.
Artzer, a 20-year-old English major from Westport, Conn., took 30 percent of the vote. She will replace Andrew Beebe '93 as the head of Dartmouth student government.
Stewart Shirasu '94 won the original presidential election on April 13 with 34 percent of the vote. He resigned eight days later under a barrage of allegations of campaign improprieties.
Artzer, the only woman to run for president this year, finished second in the first election. In both races she pledged to make the Assembly less political.
She also promised to appoint the presidents of the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, the governing bodies of the College's fraternities and sororities, to the Assembly executive committee. The executive committee determines the Assembly's agenda.
Artzer said she was "absolutely thrilled" by her victory.
During the campaigns, she said the Assembly should never address divisive political issues, but should try to bring students together.
Artzer said she will propose amending the Assembly constitution to either destroy or limit the power of the policy committee, which proposes motions expressing the Assembly's official position and opinions on national and local issues.
In the past the policy committee has been criticized for spending time on issues which did not directly effect student life at Dartmouth.
"I will try to move the focus of the policy committee from global to campus issues," she said. "I hope to still see what we can do about removing it. With one simple single amendment we can change that focus to my three focuses: academic, extracurricular and administrative affairs."
Mark Harrison '94, the only black candidate, finished second yesterday, 72 votes behind Artzer. Harrison based his campaign platform on education and diversity.
Harrison said he hopes some of his ideas will be represented in the new Assembly. "I hope Nicole realizes being SA President does not mean being popular all the time," he said. "I hope she stands up for some smaller issues."
Mark Daly '94, the president of the Coed Fraternity Sorority Council, finished third with 282 votes. Daly was elected to the general Assembly in the April election.
Artzer said she does not anticipate problems with the Assembly's at-large membership. Fifteen of 21 general Assembly members belong to a staunchly conservative group called Reform SA!
"It's not my job to feel one way or another about it," she said. "I take their election as legitimate student representation. I'll take the students' word for it."
Matthew Berry '94, a Reform SA! member who finished fifth in the presidential election with 87 votes, said Artzer told him her platform was similar to that of Reform SA!.
"If not, then we will oppose her," Berry said. "I hope we can work together. We will be watching her to make sure she keeps her promises."
Assembly Vice President-elect Stephen Costalas '94, who endorsed Artzer for president, called Artzer's victory a "mandate for a refocusing on the Student Assembly."
"I think we're going to have a great year next year," he said. "We're going to do a superior job."
Assembly Vice President Andrew Smith '94, who finished fourth with 202 votes, said he hopes "in their efforts to reform SA they don't disregard some of the accomplishments of the past three years."
"They're in a position to build on three years of good government," he said. "I think they need to make a clean break and work on their own agenda. I am pleased to turn over the SA after three years to Nicole."
Andrew Beebe '93, the current SA President will work with Artzer for the rest of the school year to aid in the transition of leadership.
"I look forward to helping her work for a successful next year," he said.
Voter turnout was only slightly lower in the special election with 1,420 ballots cast.