BY RECORD STAFF
Squeaking out a win by a slim margin, 2L Bill Dance was elected Wednesday to succeed 3L Mike French as president of the Law School Council [LSC].
“As I understand it, the top three [candidates] were separated by just ten votes,” Dance said. “I only won by four or five votes.”
Outgoing LSC president Mike French said he was “very excited to see four candidates for president …, especially since all four of those are students who have been very involved in the LSC.”
In the same election, the Class of 2003 selected Rick Coe as its Class Speaker and Head Class Marshal. Katie Lachter, Joi Chaney and Rachel Masory were elected as Coe’s fellow Class Marshals.
“There were some great candidates, and I definitely did not expect to get elected,” Coe said. “As you could see from the [campaign] posters, most of them have a great sense of humor. Better than mine, at any rate. Most of them were also much more attractive.”
One candidate expressed concern about low voter turnout for the election, noting that only 140 students from the Class of 2003 voted.
Dance said that one of his goals will be building the sense of community at HLS.
“I think people crave it,” he said. “I’d like to focus my energy on that.”
Dance said he plans three major strategies to meet that goal.
“One thing would be to be more aware of the non-J.D. students at this school,” he said. “There’s a concern that everybody [on LSC] had that LL.M.s are here for just a year — they’re an incredibly interesting and diverse group of people from all over the world who are kind of isolated from the Law School.”
Dance said the sense of community at HLS could also be improved by helping students “talk about the very difficult things that don’t get talked about in class, such as racial and gender issues.”
“Everybody knows they’re there, and the teachers acknowledge that they’re there, but they don’t really feel able to lead a dialogue about them because they would overpower the subject matter they’re teaching,” he said.
Dance said he would be like to set up ways for students to have that dialogue among themselves.
“There’s a 1L group doing this kind of thing,” he said. “They have a discussion group about race and gender. It seems like a reall good model for something that we could do on a wider scale.”
Finally, Dance said, HLS’ sense of community could be increased by facilitating social mixing between the 1L sections and the different classes.
“What I’d really like to do is have a wine and cheese thing every couple of weeks, and invite the entire school to it so that people get a chance to meet each other outside of their classes and their particular activities,” he said.
Dance said he would like to work to build the 1L law colleges.
“The 1L students on the Law Student Council right now say that they really have a lot of interest in building the section concept, that they want to be able to assist the new 1Ls in the fall in getting their feet on the group in sort of a structured way, not the way BSA does it, as friends,” he said.
Expressing skepticism at his chances for success, Dance said he would also like to continue outgoing president Mike French’s advocacy for physical improvements on campus.
“I don’t know how willing anyone is going to be to do anything that can’t be moved to Allston if that ends up being the decision,” he said. “That seems short-sighted to me, since we can’t move for 10 or 15 years anyway, but that seems to be the attitude right now.”
Reviewing his year in office, French said his biggest goals had been implementing the law colleges concept for 1Ls, changing the way registration is conducted and working for structural improvements to the Harkness Comm-ons and HLS classrooms.
“Maybe 2.2 of the three [goals] were accomplished,” French said, noting that the law colleges have been well-received.
One of the biggest changes that has been implemented with regards to registration is that this spring the lottery for legal professions classes will be held separately from the regular lottery. That way, French said, students can use their top lottery picks on other classes. In addition, French said, registration and priority wait-listing will be finished by May, so students won’t need to return to school early to activate their wait-list numbers.
As for renovations to the Hark, French said, “I don’t think substantial change will happen this year.” Still, he said, “it’s on the table much more so than before.”
Newly elected Class Speaker Rick Coe said that he was “very excited” about working with fellow Class Marshals Lachter, Chaney and Masory.
“They are all great people, and I expect that we will work well as a team,” he said. “I wanted to be a class marshal because I want next year to be fun.”
Coe said he has “two goals in mind” for his term: improving class unity and planning events “that are different and interesting.”
“There are a number of people in the class that I don’t know, and I hope to meet many of them next year,” he said.
Stating that he hoped to get “a lot of good input from members of the class,” Coe said, “I would like to think that one of my talents is turning good ideas into reality, but I need help coming up with the good ideas.”
Masory said she hopes her “class will really come together over the course of next year.”
“What I enjoyed most this year was planning social events as president of SAC [Student Activities Council] and an executive board member of JLSA [Jewish Law Students Association],” she said. “I ran for class marshal so that I could do the same for my class next year.”
Lachter said she shared Masory’s goals, and added: “I’m really happy to have the support of my classmates. It’s nice to know that they’re behind me.”
Chaney could not be reached for comment.
Mike Wiser and Meredith McKee contributed to this article.