HLS Elects New Student Government

Harvard Law School students Brian T. Aune and Jennifer D. Dein captured the top two spots in yesterday’s HLS student government elections, the first election in recent memory to feature a contested race for both the presidency and vice-presidency.

Aune, a second-year student, will assume the presidency and Dein, a first-year, will serve as vice-president of a body of student representatives that has gained increased prominence at the Law School over the past year.

Aune and Dein said in an interview with The Crimson yesterday that they hope to focus on student concerns as the Law School enters a period of transition. Law School Dean Elena Kagan is leaving after six years to become President Barak Obama’s Solicitor General, several top faculty have departed to serve in the Obama administration, and the institution faces a slate of budget cuts as the University copes with a shrinking endowment.

“We have to focus on continuing the legacy of Dean Kagan,” Aune said. “But beyond that, there’s a lot of little things that student government can do—what students want improved at the cafeteria for example, and trying to be better about communicating that to the administration.”

The Law School’s student government has in the past maintained a lower profile than its counterpart at the College, the Undergraduate Council. But over the past year the student government has worked closely with the administration to help begin the implementation of various reforms ushered in by Dean Kagan, said Dein.

Staying in touch with student concerns and communicating them to the administration will be the main focus of the student government, said Aune.

Student government leaders have served as liasons between administrators and students on major reforms like the Law School’s recent shift in grading policy and the decision to advance its recruitment schedule, said David K. Kessler ’04, the outgoing student government president.

Dean Kagan has received widespread praise for making the environment at the Law School more student friendly, and both the newly elected president and vice-president said they hoped to continue and expand on the cultural change initiated by Kagan.

The Law School’s student government has emphasized the importance of communicating with students about their concerns, launching a blog to publicize their efforts and reaching out to students via e-mail to solicit suggestions for improvement.

—Staff writer Elias J. Groll can be reached at egroll@fas.harvard.edu.