Playground rules at Dartmouth

Dartmouth alumni have just elected the fourth straight petition candidate over the candidates nominated for the position by Dartmouth’s alumni council. Now comes Dartlog (the blog of the Dartmouth Review) to report that the chairman of the board of trustees and others are less than pleased with the situation. He hinted to the alumni council on May 19 that the board may vote to do away with trustee elections altogether. But for the seriousness of the issues involved, it strikes me as the reaction of the kid on the playground who takes his bat and ball home when he finds that he is losing the game. The officers of the Dartmouth Association of Alumni have now released a letter to Dartmouth alumni warning of the threatened changes. The executive committee of the Association of Alumni has separately written a letter to the board of trustees (published in Joe Malchow’s report here) calling on the board not to kill the tradition of alumni elections. Here is the letter to the board:

Dear members of the Dartmouth Board of Trustees:
We, the newly elected officers and Executive Committee of the Association of Alumni, wish to convey the concern of a majority of our members regarding an issue raised in a statement made by current Board Chairman, Mr. William Neukom, to the Alumni Council on May 19, 2007. In those remarks, Mr. Neukom indicated that the Governance Committee of the Board would be presenting its report to the Board at its June 9, 2007 meeting and that the Board would consider changes to the alumni trustee election process and over-all Board composition at that time.
We sense that the agreement alumni have with the Board, established in 1891 and historically evolved since then, whereby alumni effectively elect half of the non-ex officio members of the Board, is threatened. We believe that any action which violates, restricts, abridges or dilutes that agreement, as currently enjoyed, would be injurious to Dartmouth College, its students and alumni. Not only do we strongly urge the Board to take no such steps, but we also believe strongly that the newly constituted [Association of Alumni] Executive Committee, elected for the first time in all-media, alumni-wide voting, should be included in any discussions related to that agreement. We feel that such cooperation and coordination with the Board is the best means for alumni to be engaged in solutions to problems facing the Board and the college

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