2019 Student Assembly election platform guide

by Kyle Mullins | 4/15/19 1:53am

Between chalking their names on popular student thoroughfares, pinning posters around campus and talking with students, the candidates for Student Assembly president and vice-president have worked to communicate their ideas for student government to the Dartmouth community. Luke Cuomo ’20, Tim Holman ’20 and Sydney Johnson ’20 are running for SA president, and Ariela Kovary ’20 is the only candidate for vice-president. Cuomo and Kovary are the only candidates running jointly as president and vice president, respectively. At the moment, Kovary will most likely become SA vice president barring a successful write-in. 

Below is a platform guide of the candidates’ main proposals. Candidates for SA president and vice president will elaborate on their platforms and discuss their ideas tonight in a debate moderated by The Dartmouth at 7:30 p.m. at Dartmouth Hall 105. Voting begins at 8:00 p.m.

Cuomo/Kovary

Luke Cuomo ’20 is a government major and public policy minor from Long Island, NY. He has participated in Model United Nations and Dartmouth Democrats, but he said his most “applicable” experience is as the chair of the SA Finance Committee, an SA senator from North Park House, and as a member of the Elections Planning and Advising Committee. 

His running mate, Ariela Kovary ’20, is also from Long Island, NY and is a double major in history and psychology. She has been an undergraduate advisor, a graphic designer for the Aegis yearbook and a member of the Allen House executive board.

On a database of syllabi for all classes: Cuomo and Kovary are calling for the creation of a website where syllabi from all classes will be accessible to students. Cuomo characterized the current system, in which students can request syllabi from professors or access them on some department websites, as “outdated and incomplete.” Kovary added that the policy would help students who work with the Student Accessibility Office find classes that are right for them. 

On sexual misconduct: Cuomo and Kovary state on their campaign website that they are calling for a “unified policy on sexual misconduct that would be applied to faculty, staff and students alike.” Cuomo said that every policy “should apply equally to all people who inhabit this campus” and that they would work with other groups on campus to “spearhead” this change. Dartmouth’s proposed C3I plan has already proposed a unified sexual misconduct policy, which is currently under review. They are also calling for all Greek organizations to follow one set of rules regarding repercussions for members that are found to have committed sexual misconduct. “There’s no singular protocol that states ‘this is the policy all houses should follow,’” Kovary said. 

On the Board of Trustees: Cuomo/Kovary posters call for “students’ voices and representation on the Board of Trustees.” Cuomo clarified that they are not calling for a student member of the Board — he sees that as a “non-starter” and “not a possibility” — but rather that the SA leadership should be allowed to “provide input on any major undertakings,” citing the proposed expansion of the undergraduate student body and the proposed dorm construction in College Park as examples of such undertakings.

On subsidized bus tickets: Cuomo and Kovary propose a continuation of a current SA pilot program that would subsidize Dartmouth Coach tickets for low-income students using SA funds. If the program is successful, Cuomo said the program would ideally ultimately be backed by the College. 

On Dartmouth Dining: Cuomo and Kovary are calling on Dartmouth Dining Services to raise the value of swipes for each meal period, citing the rising costs of food. “Food prices go up. Meal plan prices go up. Swipe prices haven’t moved in five, six years,” Cuomo said. Kovary also called for better allergen labeling, saying that the current indicators are not “distinct.”

Holman

Tim Holman ’20 is a government major from Cleveland, OH. He has been a member of the Hill Winds society, a tour guide and a SA senator from West House. He said that he has been interested in government since childhood and joined SA upon arrival at Dartmouth. 

On the Board of Trustees: Holman is calling for an elected, voting student member of the Board of Trustees. He pointed out that schools such as Cornell University, the Ohio State University and Wake Forest University already have student members on their Boards and argued that this is a “tangible way in which we can connect students and the administration.”

On Internship funding: Holman is calling for a centralization of all internship funding. He said this proposal could initially take the form of a list of funding sources on the SA website, but Holman also called increased funding “a tenable goal.” He said that current funding sources are “simply not enough” for internships in major cities, especially for students from low-income backgrounds. 

On mental health: Holman’s posters call for an end to “2-week” waits for appointments at Dick’s House. He acknowledged that the College has promised to hire several new counselors as part of its latest capital campaign, but said there’s a disconnect. “I think the administration recognizes [mental health] is a problem at Dartmouth,” Holman said, “but I’m not sure they understand that it’s an immediate problem.” Holman said he wants to get new counselors in “six months, four months.” 

On the Center for Professional Development: Holman said that students who aren’t interested in finance and consulting “find it very hard to find internships at the CPD.” Citing a frustration with the feeling of a “pipeline” to Wall Street, he proposes encouraging the CPD to “pay more attention to other areas besides finance and consulting to bring those opportunities to the forefront for students.” Holman also suggests cooperation between the Dartmouth Career Network and the CPD.

On food insecurity: Holman said he wants to work with the Office of Pluralism and Leadership and the First-Year Student Enrichment Program to “give support to members of the community, those who come from low-income backgrounds.” He suggested that these organizations need more support, recognition and funding. 

Johnson

Sydney Johnson ’20 is a biology major and a psychological and brain sciences minor from Buffalo, NY. She has been a member of the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students, a learning fellow in the biology department and was recently hired as an undergraduate advisor. Though she does not have any experience in student government, Johnson said that her “leadership skills will still be applicable.” 

On accessibility: Johnson said that she believes there are a variety of issues for students on campus from underrepresented communities that do not get enough attention. She cited concerns about the cost of the Dartmouth Coach, the cost of textbooks and food insecurity as major problems. She praised the current SA leadership for their work in this area, but said she would be “more transparent with the student body about the types of programs that are going on.”

On sexual misconduct: Johnson said she wants to see more “actionable items” from the administration on the issue of sexual misconduct. She says “there is only so much we can do on the education side,” but she does not yet have “concrete changes” that she wants to make. 

On faculty tenure: Johnson said the College has an issue with retaining and granting tenure to professors of color. She wants to “look into” why this issue exists, so that “students of color can have more faculty and staff that they can relate to.”

Correction appended (April 15, 2019): The first paragraph of this article originally stated that Holman and Kovary are running on the same ticket. That has been updated to reflect that Cuomo and Kovary are running together, which had been correctly stated in the remainder of the article.