Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Direct Democracy at Dartmouth?

So far I've resisted endorsing a candidate for SA President, partly because I feel like I don't know enough about the issues to speak authoritatively, and partly because I based my decision on a rather arbitrary thing (G&F is just too good). But I thought that this blitz, which I just received, was worth posting. We'll see if it goes anywhere, but its a welcome wrinkle in an otherwise dull SA Election.

--- Forwarded message from Abolish SA ---
>Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 19:08:11 -0400
>From: Abolish SA
>User-Agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.2 (Windows/20050317)
>To: na@na.na
>Subject: Abolish SA?

-=-=-=- ABOLISH STUDENT ASSEMBLY -=-=-=-

DO YOU THINK THAT STUDENT ASSEMBLY SHOULD
BE ABOLISHED AND REPLACED WITH A TOWN
MEETING?

PLEASE READ BELOW AND REPLY "YES" OR "NO"
TO THIS BLITZ.

Did you know that towns as large as 25,000
people run themselves directly democratically?

With the SA elections happening at this very
moment, the question of whether or not SA
is a useful or necessary institution seems
more relevant and important than ever.

Does an intelligent campus of roughly 4,200
students really need representatives, or
can we represent ourselves?

The Committee for the Abolition of Student
Assembly would like to know if you think that
our representative student government, marred
with internal disputes and absorbed with
personal and organizational interests, should
be replaced with a New England town meeting
format.

What is a New England town meeting? If you
would like an answer, follow this URL:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Town_Meeting

Benefits of a New England town meeting
government:

- Direct democracy: you are in control
- Town meetings have nearly 400 years of history
as proof of their effectiveness
- The student body takes responsibility for
its own legislative successes and failures
- Every student can easily submit legislation
- Every student can easily vote
- Every student is considered a political equal
- No more big egos, no more résumé padding

The Committee for the Abolition of Student
Assembly, if there is enough student support,
would like to explore how, within the College's
rules, SA can be replaced with a town meeting.
This requires some planning and a great deal
of student input; that's why we're asking you
for your opinion.

If enough students reply to this blitz with
their support, we'll dedicate our time and
energy to finding out how to make it happen.

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