Ivy Council addresses file-sharing

by Dax Tejera | 11/17/03 6:00am

Eight delegates traveled to Yale University this past weekend to represent Dartmouth College at the Ivy Council, a gathering of Ivy League university student governments intended to facilitate exchange between the schools and to pursue a unified voice for issues that concern the entire Ivy League.

The three-day conference is one of two annual conferences, the other taking place in the spring. During these conferences, delegations representing the Ivy League universities divide into small sub-groups to discuss issues that pertain to all universities and share the strategies by which each university tackles those issues. The fall conference focused on issues of residential life, athletics, student employment, campus expansion, finance, school spirit, information technology and transportation.

Santiago Vallinas '07, a member of the Dartmouth delegation, explained, "The Ivy Council delegates provided us with a wealth of information that could be adapted to our own campus. It was a worthwhile experience."

Stella Treas '05 added, "Everyone walked away from the conference with new ideas for how to deal with issues ranging from alumni relations to school spirit."

In addition to the group discussions, delegates held plenary discussions to review governing matters of the Ivy Council and to discuss two resolutions proposed by Ivy Council delegates. Both resolutions passed this weekend, but not without considerable questioning, lively debate and the acceptance of amendments.

The first resolution addressed computer file sharing, particularly as it affects university students. As passed, the file sharing resolution calls upon the Recording Industry Association of America to cooperate with Ivy League universities in pursuing fair contracts and agreements to protect both the rights of students and the industry.

Russell Lane '06 voted with the Dartmouth delegation on the resolution. According to Lane, "Addressing the issue of file sharing is important because it is extremely prevalent on all campuses. The Ivy Council wants to place pressure on colleges to find ways to protect copyrights while providing a service that is highly important to students."

The Council's second resolution addressed issues of environmental reform of concern to Ivy institutions, calling on the entire Ivy League to agree to several energy conservation and environmental standards. The resolution acknowledges the successes of each Ivy League university in constructing "green-friendly" policies and facilities.

"The environmental resolution urges all member colleges to meet standards that had great ramifications for our environment, including using renewable energy sources and constructing energy-efficient buildings. I am happy to say that Dartmouth, compared to its Ivy counterparts, already complies with many of the standards," said another Dartmouth delegate, Anthony Keating '06.

Conference delegates also dedicated a considerable amount of time to two standing projects of the Council. The Ivy Leadership Summit, a leadership conference for Ivy League students that will host notable national leaders and commentators to discuss current events and concerns, is scheduled for February. The Ivy Corps explored continuing efforts by the Ivy Council to address community concerns, involvement, and outreach not necessarily limited to the Ivy League.

Harvard University was the only school not represented at the conference. The university has separated itself from the Ivy Council over the past few years after a complicated past dispute with the organization's Executive Board and Board of Governors. According to the President of Ivy Council, Alex Cosmas of Columbia University, efforts are underway to reunite Harvard with the Ivy Council.

Dartmouth's delegation is given its official authority by the Student Assembly. The delegates at the conference gathered notes and recommendations to be consolidated at an upcoming meeting and then shared and discussed with the Student Assembly.

Both groups will work together to support and encourage the development of successful initiatives developed by Dartmouth's peers. The delegation will also work with the Ivy Council on its outreach projects and in efforts to represent the common interests of the Ivies until meeting again at Brown University in spring 2004.