News analysis: Marton's year in office

by Jessica Spradling | 4/29/03 5:00am

Yes, it is hard -- but not impossible -- to stop a moving train. In his presidency Janos Marton '04 -- who is in the rare position of being able to run for reelection as Student Assembly president -- has indeed proved unstoppable on several fronts, most notably achieving a dtente in the student-administration relationship. Several other speed bumps, such as student wages, budget shortfalls and tuition increases, have been more difficult issues than Marton may have anticipated.

Marton has built a healthy resume of accomplishments during his tenure as Student Body President. The achievement of dialogue between student leaders, alumni and the administration that resulted in the reinstatement of the swimming and diving teams cannot be praised enough.

Though Marton cannot take credit for this event in and of itself, he has shown exceptional ability to work within the confines of the administration. The Student Budget Advisory Committee is a distinct change from Marton's revolutionary rhetoric of last spring's elections, but it is an accomplishment that shows Marton's increasing maturity as a student leader and his ability to balance realities with dreams and campaign rhetoric.

Marton held to his promise of passing fewer, more thoughtful and more powerful resolutions instead of what he called frivolous "band-aid" solutions to decisions the administration had already finalized.

Marton has also stood by the Greek system, insisting on its inclusion in alcohol policy discussions, and has fought against new party-registration regulations.

Though Marton is young for a student body president, he has had a keen eye for finding efficient fellow leaders. In Amit Anand '03 Marton found an experienced, hard-working and insightful leadership partner who gave the Assembly experience Marton lacked and was key in guiding the Assembly to almost all of its major victories this year.

However, despite these achievements, Marton's use in his statement to The Dartmouth last spring of Theodore Roosevelt's famous quote, "Far better to dare mighty things, to win great triumphs, even though checkered by failure," may have been a telling description of this first term in office.

Several of the things Marton set out to accomplish have not happened. Many have only been added to the Assembly docket as Marton's re-elections approaches.

Student wages have not changed as significantly as Marton pledged in his campaign platform last year. While some Dartmouth wages have increased slightly, many others remain unchanged.

Marton had also pledged to take on Dartmouth's financial aid policies and try to move the College more towards a system that uses more grants and fewer loans as well as slow tuition increases. Not only has Dartmouth not expanded its grants, Dartmouth tuition is being hiked even higher for the 2003-2004 academic year than it was in 2002-2003.

There has been little structural change or streamlining of Assembly committees. Though this topic has recently come up for review, nothing significant has been accomplished yet.

While the alcohol policy has been changed and changed again, the issue of kegs is still unresolved. Marton has been building a coalition of support in favor of bringing back kegs, but has yet to make any material gains.

Now Marton is up for re-election, with the same humorous posters but a new hairstyle and a new attitude towards "reform." Instead of taking on the administration about tuition, Marton has scaled down his ambitions to a lofty but realistic level, including a 24-hour doctor at Dick's House and a dentist in Han-over.

Marton also promises to continue some of the projects the Assembly has in progress such as the search for a new mascot and a young alumnus on the Board of Trustees. Though Marton and Student Body Vice President Julia Hildreth '05 may not have "rebuilt SA from the ashes," as Marton said in the presidential debate last week, he has made the Assembly a more potent and respected organization that is a much more efficient machine than its former bureaucracy-laden self.