A word to Dartmouth alumni

The Dartmouth Review has published an interview with Stephen Smith who is running for a position on the Dartmouth Board of Trustees. I urge our Dartmouth alum readers to check out the interview and to give serious consideration to voting for Smith.
For me, the election boils down to a choice between an independent-minded alum (Smith) and an alum closely associated with the college administration (Sandy Alderson, who according to Smith, has said he entered the race out of friendship and respect for James Wright, the college president). I respect President Wright too. There’s a lot that’s great about Dartmouth, and the president deserves some of the credit for this. And, as Smith acknowledges in the interview, the college has made strides in areas where it’s not so great — it has improved the student-faculty ratio, and is no longer on the “red light” list of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Indeed, Smith made a point during the interview of expressing his respect for Wright, making it clear that he will not be an automatic “no” against the president.
But it’s quite clear that Smith won’t be a rubber stamp either. As Smith puts it, “we need trustees who are willing to ask the hard questions, and who are willing to give the administration the respectful consideration it deserves, but ultimately to make an independent judgment about what is right for the College.” For all of its virtues, Dartmouth clearly has room for improvement. The student-faculty ratio needs to be lower still, and last fall’s “Indian wars” prove that the administration’s commitment to free speech isn’t all it could be. In addition, the intellectual seriousness of certain academic departments seems to be undermined by left-wing fads.
The need, then, is for independent trustees who will press for improvement in these and other areas, not for cronies of the adminisration. That’s why I support Stephen Smith.
UPDATE: Dartmouth alumni can vote by going here.

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