SA Elections

For the past several years, as both a student and alum I have been the designated “Review guy who cares enough about Student Assembly to write about the elections. Well, I seem to have blown it this year, since I gather the election is today (it’s a little difficult to be sure since the Daily Dartmouth appears to have scrupulously avoided mentioning the day of the election in any of this week’s election stories).

That said, for those of you who still haven’t voted, which is probably most of you unless A LOT has changed at Dartmouth, here’s my last minute take on the presidential election: Janos is the way to go. A lot of what the Assembly does continues to be stupid, and Janos certainly hasn’t come through with the scorched earth reforms I’ve long thought are essential if students want to have any control over the path the College takes. But given what he’s working with he’s done a good job (and if he’s tough enough to still want the job after doing it for a year that in itself is a reason to vote for him).

He’s been a staunch and highly credible supporter of the Greek system, and a far more vigorous advocate of student rights than any SA president has dreamed of being going back to my Freshman year in 1997 (the Swim Team, Alcohol Policy and Dorm Delivery issues come to mind). His push for a young alumni trustee may be futile, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor that looks closer to getting done now than it ever did before. And despite having strong political views, he seems to have shown a laudable amount restraint in bringing them into SA, and kept the organization focused on Dartmouth, as it should be.

As for his opponent, Brett Thiesen has a number of nice ideas, but there’s no indication he has any plan for how to accomplish any of them. I noticed he called in his Daily Dartmouth op-ed for a student referendum on major College policy changes, which would be great. But given that to achieve it would probably require an upheaval on the scale of the 60’s anti-Vietnam protests, I’ve got to wonder about a guy who doesn’t even devote a sentence to how he might get that kind of power for his constituents. Since he doesn’t I think you have to conclude he either a) doesn’t understand the issue well enough to be in charge of SA; or b) doesn’t have any idea how to go about achieving his major campaign proposals, in which cased he probably shouldn’t be in charge of SA. So, given a choice between a guy who’s been better for Dartmouth and the SA than all his immediate predecessors, or a guy with good intentions and no sign of the ability to follow through, who are you going to choose?

Full Discloser: Janos is a member and former president of my fraternity and an alum of my high school, so I’m well disposed to him on those grounds. On the other hand, I disagree with his politics profoundly, and i think his recent support of the anti-Indian t-shirt movement is just silly (Janos, it’s a t-shirt for goodness sake! Can’t we all just get along!). Plus you’ve got to figure that I’m subconsciously bitter that after I blazed the Chi Gam brother for SA President trail, Janos sneaks in and actually gets elected a few years later (and for two terms probably). So I think my biases even out, but judge for yourself.