Millman: This is Our Chance

On July 13, vote for a student voice.

by David Millman | 7/13/21 4:05am

Throughout this pandemic, there’s been a theme. 

Targeted town ordinances, anti-student op-eds from town officials, study abroad cuts, libraries closed, faculty protests, unclear social restrictions, rejected proposals from grieving students, a housing lottery that has left over a hundred students abandoned, and COVID-19 information that’s been murky at best and deceptive at worst.

As a student here, the message is clear: You don’t matter. You are just another name on a list. Get your degree and get out. 

Our community is broken, but it doesn’t have to be this way. That’s why I’m running for a seat on the Hanover Selectboard, our town’s governing body that oversees all departments and ordinances. 

My name is David Millman, and I’m a Student Assembly senator. I’m the New Hampshire co-chair of the Every Voice Coalition to End Campus Sexual Violence, I’ve testified and helped pass violence prevention legislation in the New Hampshire state legislature, and I’m on the student board of Dartmouth’s Student Violence Prevention Program. I’ve questioned administration officials, state legislators, and everyone in between. I’ve stood up for students. I have spent my time at Dartmouth trying to make this town a better place for everyone, and I believe that electing a student to the Hanover Selectboard on July 13 — today — will be the first step towards rebuilding our community.

This election could give students real power to make tangible change and send a message to both the town and the College that we are not going to be ignored and that students are crucial to the health of our college and community — and that we deserve to have a say in the policies that govern us.

Having a student on the Hanover Selectboard would allow for student voices to be heard at all levels of decision making in the town, especially on issues that directly impact students such as housing, accessibility and transportation. Right now, there is not nearly enough interaction between the town and the student body. Students want to make our community better, but there is no system in place to ensure that our voices are heard. In fact, students are actively being told by some in positions of power that we do not deserve to be here at all. 

But the fact of the matter is that town issues are student issues. We contribute to property taxes through off-campus rentals and our room and board. We shop at local businesses. We vote. We have the same water system, same fire department and same police department, and we’re subject to the same town ordinances. We’re included in the U.S. Census data that determines state and federal funding for the town. The town influences the College’s decisions, as we’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything the Selectboard does and oversees affects us; yet, we currently have no voice or insight into how it is run.

I will work to open the town government and meetings for student participation and aggressively fight to create more housing in the town and the College. I will advocate for revamping the town website, preventing student-targeted ordinances, expanding Advance Transit, exploring municipal grant funds for local mental health initiatives, and pursuing a DASH card system at local businesses.

The message given to us this past year — that our perspectives don't matter — is just not true. I know it isn’t. The other candidates in this race may talk about fostering community, but actions speak louder than words. The past terms of both incumbents show they just don’t have any interest in the student perspective. We, students, are not included in the conversation. During the pandemic, I’ve worked hard trying to make information as clear as possible on social media, and I’ve talked with hundreds of amazing students as they’ve navigated through the pandemic. Our community is strong despite all of this, with faculty, staff, and town members that enjoy seeing students live their lives and contribute to our town. Winning this election would help everyone and bring us together by allowing for an official body to hear all of our voices. 

I try to help out anyone who asks. But right now, I’m asking for you to help me. I believe this is our chance to show we’re not going to be ignored. If I am elected, listening to students’ perspectives will no longer be optional. This is an unprecedented opportunity to be represented in the community we call home. We haven’t had a chance like this before.

This is our chance to ensure our voices are actually heard. Let’s make Hanover a better place by ensuring that everyone has a say in the policies that affect them. The election is today, July 13, at the Dewey Field Parking Lot behind the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. This election will be close, so if you want students to win, cast only one vote on Election Day: Millman for Selectboard. 

David Millman is a member of the Class of 2023 and a candidate for the Hanover Selectboard. 

The Dartmouth offered all three Selectboard candidates the chance to write guest columns ahead of the July 13 Hanover Town Meeting, and all three were published July 13. Joanna Whitcomb’s can be found here and Nancy Carter’s can be found here.

The Dartmouth welcomes guest columns. We request that guest columns be the original work of the submitter. Submissions and questions may be sent to both opinion@thedartmouth.com and editor@thedartmouth.com. Submissions will receive a response within three business days.

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