Vote Yes on Article 9

This Tuesday on May 9, the town of Hanover will host its annual town meeting balloting at Hanover High School. While Dartmouth students typically do not take much of an interest in town affairs, one line item on this year’s ballot—Article Nine—will be of particular interest to many students at the College.  The article, the result of a petition brought about by `Hanover residents, proposes to redefine the term “student residence” in order to prevent the College from forcing students out of housing belonging to derecognized student organizations.

While the outcome of the vote most directly affects members of Alpha Delta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, both recently derecognized by the College, the amendment has implications for any Dartmouth student organization that owns property in Hanover. The College currently has unchecked power over student organizations as they are able to derecognize any organization without cause. If the amendment is passed, student organizations will be allowed to retain control of their land in the event of de-recognition, thus gaining significant leverage in any dispute with the College.

Vote Yes on Article 9 on May 9

Vote Yes on Article 9 on May 9

Will the vote pass? There are both causes for optimism and concern. One can be sure that the College is mustering a strong campaign to Hanover residents to make sure the amendment fails. The ballot itself will also note that the town zoning board recommends that residents vote “no” on the amendment, which may sway some voters who are unfamiliar with the issue.

However, there will be a few factors working in the students’ favor. One is that some town residents will likely vote “yes” on the amendment due to worries that as more student houses shut down, more noisy college students will take up residence in the quiet, rural sections of Hanover. Other campaigners have argued that the current definition of student residence, which is excessively vague and administered by the College, has contributed to decreased investment in Hanover real estate and an increase in tax abatement requests. Supporters have also argued that the amendment would preserve the balance of power between the town and the administration. Whatever the motivations of Hanover residents, the residential areas of the town are currently peppered with yard signs sporting the slogan “vote yes on article nine”, with few indications of any households being in opposition to the amendment. It may also help that there is a fairly large cohort of Dartmouth alumni in favor of the initiative that reside within the town.

For Article Nine to pass, however, Dartmouth students will likely need to show up to the polls in significant numbers. A two-thirds majority is needed to adopt the amendment. Given that the record turnout for a Hanover town vote, roughly 1,200 people, may well be surpassed on Tuesday, it could take well over 1,500 students for the vote to pass.

The Review hopes that Dartmouth students and Hanover town residents alike will take advantage of this rare opportunity to combat the unchecked power of the College’s administration and vote YES on article 9.