Monday, March 31, 2008

SA Statement: Lee Cooper

Lee Cooper
SA Presidential Candidate

I am running for the position of Dartmouth’s Student Assembly President because I believe that a fresh, strong, and practical leader can make Dartmouth a more vibrant place by alleviating many of the chronic problems that plague our campus.

Campus controversies arise not merely ideological clashes, but more often are communication failures. As President, I will lead an Assembly that realizes and repairs the gaping holes in communication that exist not only among different social and academic spheres on campus, but especially between the student body, administration and alumni.

The average Dartmouth student has little interest in or respect for the Assembly, and I hope to transform that apathy into excitement by improving campus communications. Simple changes in the ways we collaborate and communicate will breed the transparency and efficacy that the Assembly has long strived for.

First, the Assembly must continue to develop and improve the programs that affect our daily lives. We can improve Greenprint by adding new stations, providing staplers at each printer, and allowing for color printing costs to be covered by flex accounts rather than Dash. We can offer laundry detergent in all ORL laundry rooms. We can place vending machines with over-the-counter meds in accessible campus locations such as Novak.

Similarly, we can work more arduously than ever before to rewrite college policies that would make any policy-maker’s head spin. Our current SEMP policy is too complex and impractical, with unrealistic regulations and a complete disregard for Greek houses’ desire to move towards sustainability. Additionally, the current system of outrageously priced parking tickets provides no incentive for students to register their cars, depriving the College of any revenues from the fines.

These sorts of student life improvements will continue under my leadership, but in no way are they my end goals.

I look forward to initiating institutional changes that will strengthen Student Assembly as an advocate for all Dartmouth students by bridging the gaps the divide us. To confront Assembly’s well-documented history of poor and unrepresentative membership, I propose a merger of Student Assembly and COSO. COSO serves as a representative cross-section of our campus and a merger would offer the Assembly the benefits of a diverse membership while offering COSO organizations a centralized forum in which to collaborate on projects and initiatives.

Finally, this campus is lacking a voice in the most important governing body of the College—the Board of Trustees. Countless universities across the country empower the elected student body leader with a seat on their Board of Trustees. This serves as both a gesture of transparency, as well as a practical step forward by infusing student input into the highest levels of governance. As SA President I will work tirelessly to gain a student voice on the Board of Trustees.

Dartmouth is at a historic turning point as the search for a new President commences just as alienated alumni challenge the College’s decisions over the governance structure. The student body needs a bold leader who can rise to the occasion in the face of these challenges. Dartmouth students deserve a student body president who will both push forward improvements in student life and provide a powerful advocacy voice for the entire campus. I hope to be that leader.

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