ASDA policy is a powerful method for communicating between current dentists, dental students and future dental students. It helps define what is important to dental students and the organization, and can be used to form advocacy stances and strategies on the local or national level. Policy also serves as a guide to ensure ASDA’s board acts in accordance with what the student body, or the ASDA House of Delegates, agreed upon. In addition, the ease of access to ASDA’s policy will allow us to look back at the policies when we become dentists and inspire us to continue to aid ASDA, even when we are no longer students.
Broadly speaking, ASDA policy reflects the topics and issues that are important to us as dental students, and we can carry these with us as we move forward in our careers. This year, we have continued to build on the foundation that the ASDA founders laid down in the 1970s.
For example, one of our oldest policies, E-1 Due Process, was created in 1977 to protect dental students in disciplinary proceedings. It encourages dental schools to have due process procedures that allow dental students to have a meaningful defense when charged with misconduct. In spring 2021, we voted on a resolution to expand the policy because when dental students face disciplinary charges, students risk losing their position in dental school, their potential future income, their time spent pursuing dentistry and the student debt they have accumulated in the process. Where the stakes are high, so, too, should be the burden of proof. Therefore, the due process policy was changed to encourage schools seeking to discipline a student to use “clear and convincing” evidence, as opposed to the “preponderance of the evidence” standard that only requires 51% certainty that a student committed a wrongful act. It is policies such as this that help protect our interests and show where we stand on certain issues.
What is a resolution?
A resolution is the primary method to change current ASDA policy or adopt new policy. Resolutions are presented at Annual Session to be discussed and voted on by the ASDA House of Delegates, which is the “supreme legislative body of the association and is responsible for electing officers and determining policies, initiatives and directives.” The house is comprised of dental students appointed by their chapters.
Submitting a resolution is also a way to raise awareness on an issue that could lead to change, even if it is not adopted into ASDA policy. While there are no technical restrictions on what you submit, your resolution should relate to dental student issues within ASDA’s mission statement.
To increase the probability of your resolution making its way to the voting floor, make sure you thoroughly research your issue so it is well-drafted and supported. You can find a template on ASDA’s website as well as resolutions that have succeeded in the past.
After submission of your resolution, be willing to adjust as recommended by the board. Lastly, be available to defend your resolution at Annual Session, so you can address any questions or concerns the delegates may have.
If you want ASDA to consider taking a position on a certain issue or simply see a change that needs to happen, submit a resolution. All of ASDA’s voting members will be required to read your resolution, and your message will be heard. Ultimately, ASDA policy is powerful because it is the unified voice of dental students. By simply submitting a resolution, you help create the change you wish to see.
Our world is one of increments. Submit a resolution and move our world one inch closer to what you would like it to be.
~Michael Rosales, Roseman ‘22