Judgment day approaches at Dartmouth

Oral argument is set for Dec. 4, 2009, at 9:00 a.m., on the DartmouthTrustees’ motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by several Dartmouth alumni against the College for violating its 1891 Agreement with Dartmouth’s Assocation of Alumni. The Agreement mandated parity on the Board between Charter Trustees (handpicked by the President and the Board’s five-person Governance Committee) and Alumni Trustees (voted on by the alumni).
Readers may recall that the Association of Alumni itself brought a suit to enforce the Agreement. That suit survived a motion to dismiss. However, when the composition of the AoA changed as the result of an election, the new members immediately dismissed the suit, as they had promised to do. Unfortunately, the new AoA did not keep its promise to promote unity by finding a means, short of litigation, to address the concerns of the many alums who were appalled at the Trustees’ arbitrary power-play.
The new lawsuit is by individual alums who argue that their rights, as beneficiaries of the Agreement, have been violated.
If Dartmouth is lucky, its motion will be denied; the Trustees will feel compelled to negotiate a deal that grants alumni their right to elect half of the Board but through a process more acceptable to the Board and its AoA acolytes; and the rift in the alumni ranks will quickly heal.

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