Dead hedgehog joins Theisen in challenging Marton

by Valerie Silverman | 4/29/03 5:00am

Among the campaign signs tacked to walls around campus are some for a candidate who advocates "Mandatory Enlistment for all '07s in Armed Forces."

This candidate for Student Assembly President, a hedgehog named Snead Hearn, is a write-in candidate running for office in this year's elections. For many years, candidates like Hearn have posted slogans intended as jokes or mockeries of the legitimate candidates' posters.

The Jack O'Lantern humor magazine typically fields a joke candidate, although no Jack-O candidate will run in this year's elections.

However, this year's elections have also seen the rise of vice-presidential candidate Elson Caufner, who is advertising under the slogan, "Elson Caufner for an SA Vice President. Did you say a bagel? No? Sorry, my bad."

Hearn nonetheless defends his viability as a candidate. "Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated," he said. "They may be true, but they're greatly exaggerated."

He answered further questions about his platform and dedication to the election via email, explaining that he could not reveal his "true" identity to The Dartmouth.

For example, Hearn hopes to "work with the Board of Trustess to effectively distribute the College endowment to benefit all students," that if distributed properly would "work out to over $476,000 per student."

Hearn also mocks the Social Norms Campaign in his platform, a program which tries to lower alcohol consumption on campus by out the popularity of moderate drinking on campus.

Hearn recognizes that "the abuse of alcohol on this campus is at an all-time high.

"In fact, statistics posted in our dormitories suggest that 70% of students have less than four drinks when they party.

"This is an unacceptable statistic. I see no reason to let so much of the perfectly good alcohol on campus go to waste, and it is my goal to decrease the above statistic to one in five. After all, there are sober children in India."

Hearn told The Dartmouth that, due to "election technicalities," his name will not be allowed to appear on the ballot.

"And it is hardly surprising to me," he said, "that some in positions of power would like to see me silenced."

"I am a champion of the masses, not of those tea-sipping, leg-crossing hoity-toities currently strangling the very life out of our Assembly," Hearn concluded.

Another poster also notes that Hearn is the only candidate who supports all students' rights to "have their own pot." Beneath this slogan appears a photograph of a hedgehog peering out of a pot with the caption, "In fact, Mr. Hearn lives in a pot."

In past years, some of Hearn's posters have generated considerable controversy.

In 1994, Hearn ran under the slogan, "Write In Snead Hearn for President. He has TWO HEALTHY testicles," seemingly referring to the fact that Dartmouth's then president, James Freedman, was being treated for testicular cancer.

An April 1994 editorial in The Dartmouth criticized Hearn for this "mean-spirited, juvenile behavior."

The writer concluded, "Snead Hearn may have two healthy testicles, but whoever printed this poster has no balls."

This year, students and candidates' reactions to joke candidates vary.

Many have failed to notice Hearn's signs among the others, perhaps as a result of the humorous campaign posters for the candidates who are running more serious platforms.

"Elections here are inherently silly anyway, which is seen in the nature of the campaigns," said Allison Toombs '04. "I thought Janos was running as a joke!"

The front runner in this year's Presidential election, Janos Marton, does not think such candidates detract from or make a mockery of the elections and the Assembly in general.

"I back them, I think they're fun," he said. "They generally don't do very well, which is cool because it shows that most students are pretty serious about who they vote for."

Although "it would be disconcerting if the joke candidate did really well," according to Marton, perhaps if more students were attuned to Snead Hearn's pot-loving, money-sharing attitude, he would receive more than a handful of votes.