SA Reform, Who Cares?

Adi Sivaraman, TDR staffer and member of the Student Governance Review Task Force, has published a cliff notes version of the Task Force’s proposals over at DartWire. The reform plans seem good on the whole, but there are a few troubling areas I’d like to point out. Two things in particular caught my attention:

First, the plan to elect the chairmen of the four most important committees directly by the student body is a bit odd to say the least. Not the actual election, but rather that coupled with the retention of the current system of appointing chairs. That’s right, each of these committees will have two chairmen, which seems to me like a recipe for disaster—no one is suggesting we have two presidents to make the work load lighter.

Second, and by far the silliest suggestion to common out of the Task Force, is the plan to do away with ‘outsider’ candidates for Presidency. This would require that each and every presidential candidate have experience of SA.

This is a huge step in curbing the largely unsubstantiated platforms and campaigns of so-called “outsider” candidates. It would be disastrous if a candidate with absolutely no knowledge of SA rose to its highest office, and such a possibility is eliminated by this recommendation.

What exactly they would define as experience is vague at the moment. It seems to never have occurred to the the Task Force that perhaps many people vote for outsider candidates precisely because nothing would get done. The exact same principle is used when people vote in federal elections for different parties for the presidency and congress respectively. Many people prefer standstill to moving in the wrong direction. Finally, most people vote for outsider candidates as a joke because that’s precisely what they see the SA as. It may not be a joke, but neither is it important.

Those, however, that think SA is important—or at least procrastination worthy—might check out yet another new Dartmouth blog. Super Dartmouth is put out by former SA Secretary Dave Nachman ’09; here is his take on the proposals.