So-called student rights champion still silent on campus issues

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March 15, 2010

11:53 PM

The announcement that Scott Foster ’10 is running for Williamsburg City Council is now a month and a half old. Foster has since been running a campaign entirely devoid of what he hopes to accomplish on the council.

I have to question why Foster is running if he has no agenda. We are told by Foster’s many campaign staffers not to worry; he will represent us on the city council. We are told not to question him. We are called foolish for not fully supporting the so-called student candidate.

I ask the Foster campaign: Can he really be the student candidate if he can’t tell us what he will do to support us and protect our interests on the city council? We have a right to know how Foster will act on student rights issues for the City of Williamsburg, and if he does not properly represent our interests, a right to inform him that this student body will not just hand him an addition to his resume.

Ever since Foster entered the race, we have been hearing from his campaign that a platform would be available shortly. Rather than devoting time to actually developing an agenda, the campaign has attempted to build a following for Foster the person instead of Foster’s platform.

Regardless of how personable he may be, we are not electing him to chat with the other city council members; we are electing him to zealously represent the issues of students first, then residents. If this is not the case, why is he any better for us than a non-student?

I would argue that it is worse for the cause of student rights to have a student candidate on the council who doesn’t act in our best interest. If Foster acts in a way that does not support our causes, it will be even more damning if the city council points to him as our voice regardless of whether any of us agree with his policy stances.

Why is Foster running for city council? He and his campaign claim that he wants to bridge the divide between students and residents. I must ask what experience or qualifications he has that make him more suited to this task than another candidate. Has Foster done anything to work with city officials before he decided to run for office? Does he have any experience with city residents other than spending one summer living in an off-campus house? The answer to both these questions is no.

Perhaps he has been spending his time helping students become more involved in the larger community of Williamsburg. Has he been agitating for students to be involved in the city before he was a candidate? The answer is again no.

What, then, has he been doing with his time before deciding to run for city council?
He has been serving as the co-president of the Student Conduct Council and has been appointed by the dean to hand down punishments to students for violations of school policy — hardly the position we would expect a leader on student rights issues to take.

Given this, what are we getting by voting for Foster for city council? Residents are not getting a voice that understands their needs and issues. It would take more than one summer to grasp the complexities of their problems with the College of William and Mary. He is not a voice to defend students’ interests, as his stint on the dean-appointed Student Conduct Council shows.

I can only conclude that there is exactly one person who stands to benefit from Foster being elected: himself. I urge all students to withhold support from his campaign. Maybe a strong show of disapproval will force him to champion student issues through the remainder of his campaign. Perhaps then we will have a real student candidate. I still have hope, but I’m not holding my breath.

E-mail Zach Marcus at [email protected]

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