Is this fight really necessary?

We’ve noted the reports that Dartmouth College is considering a change to its procedure for selecting trustees, established in 1891, under which alumni have the right to elect half of the college’s trustees. Such a change would be prompted by the successes of independent candidates such as Peter Robinson, Todd Zywicki, and (just recently) Stephen Smith.
Joe Malchow’s blog reports that, in response to these reports, an organization called the 1891 Society has published in the college newspaper an open letter to the Dartmouth trustees and administration. The letter states:

Should the Board take any steps towards reducing the time-honored role of the alumni in selecting the College’s Trustees, it would be with a heavy heart that we in turn would withhold our financial contributions to our alma mater until our traditional rights are restored.

This is a fight Dartmouth can do without. The system put in a place in 1891 (a time when, in the words of historian Jere Daniel, Dartmouth was a “failing regional institution”) has stood the test of time. Since 1891, Dartmouth has become a top-notch college known for the devotion and generosity of its alums. It’s hard to imagine that Dartmouth would disturb the system now.
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