Assembly discusses alumni proposal, student rights

by Kevin Garland | 11/19/03 6:00am

The Student Assembly discussed a recent proposal to change the College's Alumni Association constitution, with several members advocating a postponement of the vote on the measure.

Student Body President Noah Riner '06 was concerned about the disparity in opinion about the amendments to the constitution -- which would combine the Association of Alumni and the much smaller Alumni Council -- and the small amount of time before alumni will vote.

"If [the alumni vote] is as controversial as some people say it is, it needs more time to figure it out," Riner said.

The Assembly decided to find more information about the proposal while attempting to get local young alumni involved in the issue. Riner suggested a possible resolution recommending that the vote be tabled.

Assembly members also discussed the Board itself.

"Last spring we started the process of getting a younger alum, or initially a student on the board of trustees ... Someone who is young and in touch with how the College is operating now," Marton said.

The Assembly met with resistance, however, due to the Board's concern about an elected student being qualified for the position as a Trustee.

The Assembly reached a compromise by proposing a new process which would give the final say on a student Trustee to the Board instead of the Student Body.

"The compromise we came up with was the closest we could get at the time," Marton said.

Despite last spring's failed attempt to get a student on the Board, Marton said he would like to try once more this year.

"I think it's time to go ahead and push for a student again, [the Board of Trustees'] primary argument is no longer valid," Marton said, addressing earlier Trustee concerns about limited space on the Board by citing recently announced plans to add four new members.

The final topic of conversation involved undergraduate students' rights at Dartmouth.

"A lot of the issues that have come up this year are about student rights," Jim Baehr '05 said, noting that he would like to see the Assembly "create a student bill of rights."

Baehr's plan was to compose a list of rights which a group of students believed were important and put them into one report.

"Right now we are trying to write something up to say what are our principles," Baehr said.

Some Assembly members voiced confusion on whether this document would solely state the current rights of students or change certain administrative policies.

"We're talking about change [in policy] and what rights people have," Baehr said in response.

"I thought this idea was great, it is very proactive, instead of [the administration] giving some obscure reason why they can do something to a student, we can say this is a concrete reason why you can't," Marton said, citing a possible use of the proposed student bill of rights.

Despite positive feedback on the proposal, some Assembly members were concerned about the plausibility of the Administration recognizing a students' bill of rights.

"I am a optimistic about this happening because these are crucial human rights ... how can our administration deny us of these rights," Baehr said.

The Assembly took no formal action on the topic, but plans to continue discussion on the issue.

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