EPAC Sets Back Parkhursted Presidential Hopeful

Last night, the Dartmouth Student Assembly defeated an amendment that would strike down the Election Planning and Advisory Committee’s ability to rule on eligibility requirements for SA presidential candidates. This amendment was proposed by presidential hopeful, Will Hix ’12, in response to EPAC’s decision to bar previously suspended students from running for student body president or student body vice president. Instead, all rising sophomore, juniors, and seniors planning to be in residence next year would be eligible – including formerly Parkhursted Hix.

Hix argued at the SA meeting that EPAC was exercising an unfair amount of power; this 5-member committee has the ability to decide who can and cannot be considered as a presidential candidate. What makes the ruling even more controversial is that EPAC only passed it in a 3-2 vote. As a committed member of the Student Assembly since his freshman year, Hix shows experience and dedication to the school. However, does a student with a record of suspension best represent Dartmouth College? Regardless, shouldn’t it be up to the student body to decide whether or not they want a Parkhursted president, and not just a group of five?

EPAC chairman Harry Enten ’11 thinks not. According to him, EPAC has the authority to make rulings on eligibility, and has done so before, as an independent body removed from the process. Enten stated that the SA ammendment would set a “very dangerous precedent”, and eventually rule EPAC obsolete. Furthermore, it seems likely that this ammendent was introduced primarily because it barred a specific person rather than simply because it was a bad rule or was passed unfairly; in other words, it is more about Hix’s selfish desire to run for president rather than a moral dilema with EPAC’s power. However, perhaps Hix’s actions are justified because he is the best man for the job, and as Plato explains in The Republic, he is driven by the fear of being led by someone less competent than himself. What is clear is that Hix is not giving up anytime soon. He plans to petition to the College administration, look into legal options, and continue to challenge EPAC.    

–Elizabeth Reynolds