Call Me a Values Voter…

I’m casting my vote for Noah Riner ’06. There are several compelling candidates in this year’s race, as the differing opinions of our staff may attest, and I trust that any of the three mentioned positively in this space will at least attempt to combat the worst excesses of administrative policy, &c.

Why, then, throw my hat in the ring for Riner? While his platform is similar in many respects to that of Brian Martin ’06 and Paul Heintz ’06, I think Riner has distinguished himself by his character, a trait made all the more important by the Assembly’s historic inefficacy. In the other words, if the actions of the SA are assumed to be irrelevant until proven otherwise, as has certainly been our historic position, the nature of the person serving as the most public student face of the College matters as much as, or more than, his policies.

Through both personal and professional association, Riner has distinguished himself to me as not only the best candidate in this regard but also as the most steadfast person on the Dartmouth campus. Compare to Martin, who was at the center of the Blitz terminal controversy (certainly a ridiculous incident, but one must still, I think, question his triggering and acceleration of it) and has proved somewhat belligerent during the campaign.

Compare in particular to Heintz, who has made relating to the average Dartmouth student the centerpiece of his campaign. The claim of his posters notwithstanding, Heintz’s checkered history with the authorities-one that required a special ruling in order to even be on the ballot-is simply not representative of ‘me’ or, I would hope, most Dartmouth students. Arguing that familiarity with the student judicial process on account of these missteps will make him a better candidate, as he has done, is nothing more than claiming that inmates should run the asylum.

Riner served as SA Vice President two years ago and as a committee chair this year, which has led to some question his ability to be impactful as an ‘insider.’ To my mind, however, and particularly given SA’s do-nothing reputation, it will be much easier for Riner to be effective given the strong relationships he’s developed with alumni (particularly the Trustees), than it will be for Heintz, who has trumpeted his outsider status (i.e. inexperience).