Dartmouth sends a familiar message

The Dartmouth College power elite has decided that six of the seven current trustees who need to be approved this year in order to serve another term will be permitted to serve another term. The one trustee not approved is our friend Todd Zywicki, who was elected to his first term by the alumni as a “petition” candidate. In other words, Todd has been thrown off the Board.

Todd, if I recall correctly, is the first member of his family to graduate from college (I hope Todd and his family will forgive me if I have this detail wrong). He loves Dartmouth with a passion that in some ways reminds me of the way a certain kind of immigrant loves America. Todd will harshly criticize Dartmouth all evening and then proclaim that, thanks to its “DNA,” Dartmouth is the best college in America.

It is precisely because of Todd’s passion, and his commitment to what he understands to be Dartmouth’s DNA, that the Board has ejected him. Dartmouth is also sending a message about the limits of the criticism it considers acceptable.

And there’s another, familiar message to alums who love Dartmouth with a passion comparable to Todd’s and for similar reasons. That is message: we want your money but not your meaningful participation. We don’t respect the reasons why you love Dartmouth or the passion that underlies that love. To the contrary, we hold it in contempt.

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