Student Assembly discusses daily newspaper, dean search

by Allie Lowe | 11/8/06 6:00am

Student Assembly approved a "Statement of Concern Regarding Journalistic Integrity in The Dartmouth" at Tuesday night's meeting after discussing a controversial comic that ran in Monday's edition of The Dartmouth. The Assembly also spent the first half of the meeting questioning the Dean of the College Search Committee.

The successful legislation, which was sponsored by Student Body President Tim Andreadis '07, Yuki Kondo-Shah '07 and the Assembly's Diversity Affairs Committee, addressed what the resolution called student complaints about The Dartmouth. The two student sponsors focused on accountability, accuracy and editorializing in news articles as well as questions about the selection process of op-ed columns.

To support their claims of inaccurate reporting, proponents cited a few articles, including one in winter 2005 about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day speaker that year. The article, Kondo-Shah said, misrepresented the black community's opinion at the time.

"The reasoning behind [the legislation] is that I, as Student Assembly president, and I think we, as a Student Assembly exec[utive] board and other people on Student Assembly have heard a lot of concerns regarding journalistic integrity in The Dartmouth," Andreadis said at the meeting. "We feel like we have an obligation to the students to address that concern to [The Dartmouth]."

The legislation is derived from an earlier version that failed to leave the Assembly Executive Board in winter 2005. Andreadis and Kondo-Shah introduced a revised version of this resolution after controversy arose about Monday's comic.

"The way that The D handled concerns about the comic is really kind of creating this [legislation], however it's been on the drawing board for awhile," Andreadis said.

Tuesday's Assembly meeting also included a visit by members of the Dean of the College Search Committee. After the Committee quickly outlined the timeline of its search process, members enumerated some of the qualities they are looking for in candidates. The Committee noted that a candidate with teaching experience would be attractive, as the dean of the College has to work with faculty members. Committee members also highlighted management and communication skills and an ability to work with many different constituencies as important characteristics.

Assembly members and other present students were then given the opportunity to ask questions of the Committee and suggest criteria that it ought to consider in its search.

Assembly member Adam Shpeen '07 asked the Committee to what extent the candidates would be asked about their positions on specific campus issues during the selection process.

"Frankly, as a student, I don't care what experience a dean would have. I care about the judgment of that dean, who that person is and what they care about and what they believe in. It matters that they are a good communicator, but I think it also matters more what they are actually communicating and what they intend to do within the position," Shpeen said.

Committee member John Engleman '68 responded that relevant campus issues are always changing, so the Committee cannot expect candidates to be able to address all topics specifically.

However, the Committee invited the attending students to enumerate what some of these relevant issues for discussion and consideration might be.

Students listed specific topics of interest including sexual abuse, the retention of minority faculty, athletics, the sustainability initiative and Greek life.

Director of the Rockefeller Center and Committee member Andrew Samwick encouraged students to continue to voice their ideas about these specific areas of concern.

"That [input] helps us be a better committee, so if there are other topics, by all means, share them with us," he said.