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The Dartmouth
June 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: DSG: Dartmouth Student Government or Dartmouth’s Sian Groupies?

In her letter to the editor, Jackelinne Claros Benitez ’24 argues that Dartmouth Student Government is more concerned with its relationship with College President Sian Leah Beilock than with representing student voices.

It is an understatement to say I am disgusted at Dartmouth Student Government and its failure to consistently follow through with actions that address all student concerns. I am repulsed by DSG members prioritizing their relationships with the College administration over what some attendees of the May 5 meeting requested: a no-confidence vote against College President Sian Leah Beilock after her administration authorized police to break up the May 1 protest on the Green. 

Many of us attended the May 5 meeting for nearly three hours, waiting to speak with DSG because they directly affect College policy. We assumed that requesting a no-confidence vote from DSG would help ensure everyone’s safety. We made this assumption since — unlike most other campus organizations — DSG remains in close contact with the administration.

We were peaceful and non-violent at this meeting.

Contrary to what some have said, we did not attempt to intimidate anyone at the meeting. Depicting us as such is racialized and criminalizes our presence at the meeting. We were students upholding democracy and our First Amendment rights by expressing our concerns to elected members and requesting a vote on the matter. 

In an apparent attempt to mitigate our discontent, DSG allowed the student body to vote no confidence in Beilock’s leadership after failing to pass a similar measure themselves in a closed-door session. A striking 51.86% of respondents — or 30.44% of the entire undergraduate population — did not have confidence in Beilock’s leadership. 

Although the no-confidence vote was close, a President less than a year into their tenure should not typically attract such widespread disapproval. What does this mean for the rest of Beilock’s presidency, especially when the Class of 2024 graduates next month and the cohort who experienced May 1 gradually leave over the next few years? 

We must not allow historical amnesia to prevail.

I presume the majority of those who voted no confidence identify with or advocate for those of minoritized backgrounds — the exact identities disproportionately affected by any form of policing. 

The viewpoints we must protect the most are those from students who are often overlooked: students of color, first-generation students, low-income students and those with disabilities.

Similar to how representatives in Congress record their votes and make them public, I propose DSG senators display their votes via email after every deliberation. We deserve full transparency.

I also urge DSG to assess and publicize the racial demographics of each no-confidence ballot to convey the significance of addressing the concerns of marginalized communities.

I am disgusted by how long it took DSG, an organization meant to represent the Dartmouth student body, to send a statement condemning the administration’s actions on May 1. The group’s email was sent on May 6. Do DSG members care more about their constituents or their reputation as ‘friends’ of the administration? Where is the empathy and advocacy? What is DSG doing to ensure that students from all social demographics, especially those oppressed, feel safe? What is being done other than proposing surface level solutions under the guise of ‘mental health?’ We need and deserve justice.

DSG is exhibiting the same behavior as the Biden administration, caring more about self-interest than accurately representing and advocating for its constituents.

I will end with the following quote by former Rep. John Lewis, the late civil rights leader: “Every generation leaves behind a legacy. What that legacy will be is determined by the people of that generation. What legacy do you want to leave behind?”

I vote no confidence toward Beilock … and DSG leadership.

Jackelinne Claros Benitez is a member of the Class of 2024. Letters to the editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.