Short Answer: Ugly Elections

by The Dartmouth Opinion Staff | 4/4/10 10:00pm

Friday's Verbum Ultimum described the negative campaigning that has marked this year's Association of Alumni and Board of Trustees elections. What, if any, changes should be implemented to limit such behavior in future elections?

There should be a trustee debate on campus before the election season each year. Then we can listen to the trustee candidates first hand, instead of allowing third-party web sites to get all of the media attention.Zachary Gottlieb '10

It is unfortunate that Dartmouth elections have become so politicized, but enforcing any sort of campaign regulations would only require administrators to devote further energy and resources to an already distracting problem. Investigating and policing infractions of campaign time limits and spending caps could easily turn into a full time job for yet another bureaucrat in the very administration we are attempting to streamline.Emily Johnson '12

There is no need to create regulations that would further complicate our current system; negative campaigning will eventually destroy the candidates it seeks to promote. Our voting alumni population is more than capable of seeing through slander and dirty tactics after all, they went to Dartmouth.Julian Sarkar '13

Alumni elections require financial restrictions. The current process inhibits not only constructive dialogue, but also the participation of many potential candidates who simply cannot rival the fundraising capacities of the more wealthy and well-connected alumni.Jacob Batchelor '12

While campaign rules to limit spending or smear ads might be helpful to reduce negative behavior, frankly, I would prefer a plan to increase the influence and election of more female and recent alums. The current "politicking" smacks of the "Old Boys Club" that I no longer feel is relevant to or representative of the College.Emily Baxter '11Negative campaigning is a sad but inevitable part of politics. As long as Dartmouth faces contentious issues such as budget deficits and parity, negative campaigning will continue.Spenser Mestel '11

Negative campaigning is a blemish on the College's national reputation and an embarrassment to current students and alumni everywhere. To limit the incidence of this petty internecine bickering, the College must limit campaigning.Josh Kornberg '13

If Dartmouth wants to continue holding alumni elections for some Board seats, it will have to put up with a certain amount of campaigning; otherwise, the elections will be nothing more than popularity contests. Regarding the Association elections, the quasi-parties that have formed around the slates bring to Dartmouth all of the drawbacks and none of the benefits of our national political parties.Brendan Woods '13

I think the best route would be for the current Board to evaluate the tactics used in past campaigns and clearly outline standards for appropriate campaigning. In addition, the Board as well as the administration should explicitly express disapproval of aggressive campaigning.Natalie Colaneri '12

Negative campaigning has its place in all elections and shouldn't be curtailed. Candidates who submit themselves for election should be prepared to experience a full and diverse range of criticisms. This is merely the democratic process at work.Raza Rasheed '12

Dartmouth alumni must have access to candidate information before they can cast a vote. The costs of a mailing or web site development are acceptable if these allow alumni to make more informed decisions at the polls. That being said, the College must devise a system of disincentives to curtail mudslinging and negative campaigning as these tactics do little to further voter understanding.Kevin Niparko '12