Extracurricular elections season

BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

LIKE THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE Awards marks the start of a long and grueling awards season that culminates with the Oscars, the recent election for law review president indicates the start of the extracurricular election season, where 2Ls and 3Ls who promised to radically transform their respective organizations but, handicapped by the lack of collective energy and the institutional inertia of continuing to do things the way they’ve always been done, effected very little actual change, will step aside to let bright and eager 1Ls and 2Ls promise the moon and deliver an ice rink. Or so the analogy goes. I thought preview some of the speeches I plan to give, as I embark on a quest to be an officer in every student organization on campus. Join me, and give me the power to fill out reimbursement forms and stuff mailboxes with tiny scraps of paper.

President, Prison Legal Assistance Project

Good afternoon, my fellow students. This organization needs radical change. Without this change, we will all graduate with nothing to show for our work with PLAP besides the knowledge that we may have helped some people with truly nowhere else to turn and given them the only hope they’ll ever have. But we won’t have made any useful connections. Butch in cellblock C will never be able to help me get a job. Sandra in the women’s correctional facility will never be a hiring partner at Cravath. Michael in the child sex crimes division will never again release a hit single. We need to shift our focus in order to maximize our rewards. We need to limit our services to white-collar crimes with white-collar prisoners – law firm partners who screwed up, but will one day soon be out of prison and hiring eager young Harvard associates; doctors who may have lost their license once, but when they get it back will have lines of patients looking for lawyers to handle their malpractice cases – at 40% commission; and Martha Stewart, who will live to hire again. I want to usher in a whole new era to the Prison Legal Assistance Project: the Shamelessly Begging For Future Jobs era. And we need a new acronym, since PLAP sounds kind of dirty. To effect these changes, I ask for your support.

Vice President, Mediation Program

I apologize in advance for the tone of my speech tonight. And I apologize for the negative tone of the flyers I’ve been posting all around campus, calling my opponent names and photoshopping him into pictures with Hitler, Stalin, and Martha Stewart. Many of you have suggested that the two of us run together, on a split ticket, and share the Vice Presidency. But, friends, this is not a time for compromise. This is not a time to be working together for greater harmony and peace in the world. This is a time to stand up and fight; to stand up and say that the Mediation Program can be the best student organization at the law school, and that nothing can stand in our way. Under my leadership, we will book classrooms for events, even if we have nothing planned – just to stifle the efforts of our competitors. We will tear down the posters of other groups. We will trip people in the halls. We will steal their funding. We will bribe their members with free food. We will stop at nothing to prevent this place from being just another campus where a multitude of student organizations, each appealing to a constituency with different interests and desires, can co-exist peacefully. Who wants to live in a world like that? I appreciate your support, but I have arranged to fix the election regardless. Thank you.

Treasurer, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund

Good evening, animals, vegetables, and minerals. I ask for your support in helping me improve the financial stability of our organization. My plan is simple. I think we should get corporate sponsorship from the country’s largest meatpacking plants. Mind you, we don’t have to actually eat any meat, but if we just distribute brochures featuring happy animals sleeping between two buns next to our brochures about the evils of the slaughterhouse, I’m sure that Purdue and McDonalds, and the friendly people at Monsanto, will be happy to provide us with money for soy milk. Also, instead of t-shirts, this year we should distribute fur hats. Vote for me!

Secretary, Middle East Law Students Association

I realize we’ve gone many years limiting our membership to people concerned with issues in the Middle East. But I think we’ve ignored two very important potential constituencies. First, there are the people in the Middle West. While it may seem that we have little in common with people from Cleveland, I think embracing the industrial factory culture of the Middle West can infuse new life into our club. Imagine engaging discussions about the migration of jobs from the rust belt to the coasts, or a symposium about corn. I think it could be marvelous. Second, there are people from Middle Earth, like the Hobbits. I think we’re doing the law school a disservice by excluding them from our club. I look forward to your votes.

Jeremy Blachman’s column appears weekly. He also posts commentary at this website.

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