A Radical Change

by The Dartmouth Editorial Board | 4/16/99 5:00am

Much like the College itself, the Student Assembly is currently at a critical juncture. It faces a crisis in student support as well as dissension and indecision within. These problems are partially consequences of the recent announcement of the Trustees' initiative.

At such a time, the Assembly needs a president who will both radically refocus the representation of the body and bring the SA view back into alignment with student opinion. It is important that the candidate be a true outsider to the Assembly if he is to truly redirect the priorities and efforts of the Assembly.

Both Tom Leatherbee and Dean Krishna are members of the current Assembly, and neither offers to radically reform the Assembly image. Casey Sixkiller, while not an actual member of the Assembly, has served on the Assembly Committee on Student Life. This makes him something of an outsider, if it were not for the fact that listening to him elicits nothing but images of a politician in the making. None of these are what the Assembly needs to reconnect itself with the student body.

Drew Pluhar is the only candidate who can realistically provide the radical change that the Assembly currently needs. He is a true outsider, and a staunch advocate of the single-sex Greek system that has garnered so much student support over the past term. It took the Assembly this long to issue a statement backing a system which students demonstrated clear support for when the initiative was announced.

Something is wrong when students give a clear mandate in two separate polls, and their representative body doesn't issue any statement on it until two months after the announcement. Krishna has claimed to be the "Pro-Greek" candidate. He is a member of the SA. Where was his Assembly resolution when the students made their position clear months ago?

It is important that Pluhar remember the interests of unaffiliated students as he tackles the social initiative in the coming year, but it is also crucial that the Assembly act on behalf of the majority of students, something it has failed to do in this past year.

It is time to make a fresh start and to take a step toward realigning the Assembly with student opinion. As president, Pluhar has the potential to do both of these things.

At the same time, it is important that there is some element of continuity and familiarity with the workings of the SA among the officers who are elected for next year. As such, Margaret Kuecker would provide the needed experience in the capacity of vice president.

She has been heavily involved in the SA for the past year and would be a valuable aide to Pluhar, not only with the running of the Assembly, but also in the workings of the administrative structure and the smaller tasks that the Assembly normally takes care of.

It is possible that a Pluhar victory would revitalize the Assembly, giving it the student mandate that it desperately needs, but this will only happen if there is student participation in the vote. Now is not the time for apathy. This vote will decide the course of the next year, and we as students need to weigh its consequences as heavily as we weighed the Trustees' announcement this past winter.

So take a moment this Monday and Tuesday, log onto www.dartmouth.edu/projects/election, and make your voice heard.