Assembly President Moore '95 resigns

by Siobhan Gorman | 11/14/94 6:00am

Student Assembly President Danielle Moore '95 announced her resignation last night citing as reasons her desire to set an example as a female leader and to incite a behavioral change in an Assembly fraught with political bickering.

Although she said her resignation was not a direct response to last week's confrontation with Assembly Secretary John Honovich '97, she admitted his actions were a catalyst for the thought behind her resignation.

Moore's resignation will take effect Nov. 21 -- after both the Ivy Council conference and the last official Assembly meeting of the term. Vice President Rukmini Sichitiu '95 will then assume the presidency and an election for vice president will take place from within the Assembly at the start of Winter term.

Moore, Dartmouth's first Native American Assembly president, was elected last spring on a liberal platform promoting minority and women's issues. She promised to be an apolitical leader and in her Convocation address stressed the need to build community and overcome divisiveness at the College.

But Moore, in an emotional interview last night, said many Assembly members have not accepted her as a female leader or shown her the respect she thinks she deserves. She distinguished between male and female forms of leadership.

"I've tried to be a woman leader," Moore said. "It bothers me when people in my Assembly are uncomfortable. I expect a certain code of behavior ... I don't want to shove things down people's throats. I don't want to dictate."

Moore said Assembly members would not listen to her, constantly questioned her decisions and yelled during meetings. She said this behavior was unique when compared to her experiences seeing men in leadership positions.

Moore also said she was disillusioned with the Assembly's politics and tired of having to mediate Assembly members' conflicts. She added that she did not feel comfortable in such a political role.

"I'm not a politician, I'm an activist," she said. "I'm not in it to strategize," she continued. "I thought this would be a good forum to act on my beliefs. I'm not comfortable in that role and I won't be forced to do it."

Moore said by resigning, she hopes to send a message to the Assembly and to the campus that students need to rethink their behavior.

"For Student Assembly to exist, its behavior has to change," she said. "The current members are tainting SA. My resigning shows that the behavior is unacceptable and Assembly should re-evaluate and change to a certain code of conduct appropriate for Dartmouth students and certainly campus leaders."

Moore also said she did not want to remain in a position in which she was seen as weak and was unable to accomplish her goals. She said she hoped to set an example for other leaders in this position.

"Without people to follow you , you cannot lead," Moore said. "I've never believed in working within the system because I believe you have to deconstruct the system to change it," she said.

"I know I'm capable of leading the Student Assembly for the rest of the year," she said. "If I did question my ambition, I would stay, but my question is about at what cost."

Moore acknowledged that her decision to resign was made easier knowing that Sichitiu shared the same vision for change.

Last year Moore depledged Delta Delta Delta sorority to protest "the Greek system's treatment of women of color." Although she acknowledged that both decisions were matters of principle, she distinguished her Assembly resignation as "a matter of self-sacrifice and self respect."

Moore acknowledged that her resignation might not have her intended effects but said it was a matter of principle.

"It would have been easy to stay," Moore said. "It's a great commitment of time and energy, but I understand there will be a backlash."

"I'm sacrificing influence and people will think I'm sacrificing my integrity," she added. "There will be questions of my loyalty to the issues I care about, but I believe that out of this there will be a higher good."

"I've never not done anything out of fear," she added.

Dean of the College Lee Pelton said he feels Moore's resignation will be a great loss to the College.

"Danielle and I spoke over the weekend.," he said. "The decision is obviously hers. I think it is a great loss for the students."

"I hope it does [lead to change]. I don't know if it will," he said. "There's got to be some change. There's a deep division between the Student Assembly president and other individuals. Rather than representing students with intelligence, they're representing specific constituencies and that's not a healthy situation."

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